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Why CNN-IBN's Sagarika Ghose may no longer criticise Modi

Ghose, as well as her colleague in Network 18, Nikhil Wagle, are the most recent examples of journalists who appear to be under pressure from the management because of their independent views about Narendra Modi.

Sagarika Ghose, deputy editor of CNN-IBN who anchors the prime time Face the Nation programme, received instructions from the management of Network 18, which owns the news channel, not to post disparaging tweets about Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate, highly placed sources at the media and entertainment company told Scroll.in.

Ghose has been posting a series of tweets this month not only about Gujarat's BJP chief minister but, ironically, also about the increasing threat to independent journalism.

"There's a disturbing new trend in the Indian media of measuring objectivity and bias," she told Scroll.in, even though she declined to comment about whether she had received any instructions from the management. "Journalists who believe the politician is their natural adversary and systematically question all politicians are seen as biased, but those who attack only certain politicians and sing hosannas to another politician are seen as objective."

She said she was angry that Modi's supporters were making it increasingly difficult for journalists to criticise the Bhartiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate on the internet, particularly on Twitter. Moreover, the climate of intolerance towards Modi's critics is spreading beyond the internet, she said.

On February 1, in response to an interview with Narendra Modi's wife, Jashodaben, 62, a retired school teacher, that the Indian Express had published that morning, Ghose tweeted, "Poignant interview in IE of Jashodhaben, married to @narendramodi at 17. So many women married off at young age, time to restore their dignity."

Then on February 6, Ghose posted a series of tweets about the threat to independent journalists.

Original tweet here.

Original tweet here.

Original tweet here.

Original tweet here.

Sagarika Ghose is not the only senior journalist who might be in a spot of trouble for expressing her views. Nikhil Wagle, editor of IBN Lokmat, Network 18's Marathi channel, known on Twitter to be a critic of Modi , is also under pressure from the management, sources said.

He also posted a series of tweets on February 6:

Original tweet here.

Original tweet here.

Original tweet here.

The Caravan, a highly reputable monthly magazine, published a detailed cover story in December on Network 18, in which it alleged that the organisation had taken a turn to the right.

Network 18 is not the only media company that is perceived to be placating Modi and his supporters, even before the general election has taken place. Siddharth Varadarajan, a highly respected, award-winning journalist, was negotiating with India Today magazine after resigning as editor of The Hindu in October. But the talks fell through because sources said that he had made it clear he wanted full editorial freedom, including the freedom to be critical of Modi when warranted. Varadarajan confirmed to Scroll.in that he had been in talks with India Today but declined to say what had transpired.

But on February 6, in response to Ghose's tweets, Varadarajan tweeted:

Further, Hartosh Singh Bal was fired as political editor of Open magazine in November without being offered a reason. But in an interview to The Hoot, a media criticism website, the weekly magazine's editor, Manu Joseph, indicated what the reason was.

Joseph revealed that the magazine's proprietor, Sanjiv Goenka, had told Joseph that he was "making a lot of...political enemies" because of Bal's writings and utterances on TV news channels. When the magazine's management decided to appoint PR Ramesh as the new political editor, Joseph also resigned, to be replaced by S Prasannarajan.

In an article, Bal wrote that Ramesh was considered close to BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley, who is regarded by some as the BJP's "bureau chief" because of his influence over the media. Ironically, one of the last stories commissioned by Bal before his exit was about the Modi campaign's increasing hold on the media.

Intolerance towards independent-minded journalists is not limited to the Delhi-centric national media. Thiru Veerapandian reportedly lost his prime time show on Sun TV for merely saying that people should think before voting for Narendra Modi.

In Gujarat, chief Minister Narendra Modi's regime has also gone after journalists, filing cases under a sedition law that the Supreme Court has ruled should be used only in cases of violent rebellion against the state. In 2006, Manoj Shinde, editor of a Gujarat paper, was charged with sedition for merely criticising the Modi government's tardy flood relief efforts. In 2008, The Times of India's Ahmedabad editor, Bharat Desai, and a photographer for the Gujarat Samachar newspaper were charged with sedition for exposing corruption in the police.

After Vidya Subrahmaniam, a senior journalist at The Hindu, wrote an op-ed about Sardar Patel in October 2013 that appeared to have irked Modi's supporters, she received so many threat calls and intimidating messages that she filed a police complaint.

After The Caravan magazine published its February cover story on Swami Aseemanand in which he accused the RSS of sanctioning terrorism, the magazine received threatening calls, its executive editor, Vinod Jose, tweeted.  "I cannot imagine any other media house in today's environment, where I could have published this story," Jose said.

Modi's supporters on the internet defend their attacks on journalists by saying that the liberal media has been biased against Modi and the BJP and charitable to the Congress. Even if this untenable accusation were true, blanking out criticism of the BJP and Modi is hardly the solution.

"I have been trenchantly critical of the Congress and the Gandhis, but no one has threatened me with death, gang-rape or sacking," said Sagarika Ghose, referring to the online abuse she receives daily.
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As corporate India changes from strait-jacketed to stylish, here’s how you can stay on-trend

For men and women, tips to make your office style game strong.

Office wear in India tends to be conservative. For men, the staple blue or white shirt and dark trouser arranged in a monotonous assembly line has been a permanent feature of the wardrobe (a tactic shrewdly administered to ensure minimum time is spent shopping). For women, androgynous work wear has been ever reliable and just as dull.

But camouflage is of no use in the corporate jungle anymore. The Indian office is no longer a place for dull, unthinking conformity, it is a place that expects vibrancy in thought and action. With a younger workforce and a greater mix of multinationals and jobs, there is a greater acceptance of edgier trends. Men are stepping away from their blues and greys and women are reshaping their workwear to be more interesting and distinctly feminine. As corporate India is proving its mettle on the global stage and to itself, it’s also growing confident in expressing individuality and style in the formal work environment. From clothing to office décor and fashion accessories to work tools, the workplace is becoming a place to display merit as well as taste.

Work clothes have shed their monochrome and moved into the light of technicolor. Bright colours have steadily become popular as Pantone’s annual colours of the year show us. For the corporate warrior who wants to be stylish here is our pick of trends worth considering.


Statement jacket. A statement jacket is one that doesn’t merely stand out in a crowd, but blows it open for you. How do you recognize one? You’ll know it when you see it. Most statement jackets have a non-traditional color. They could also have subtle prints on them if you want to go funky.

Technicolor socks. Multicolored socks (or hipster socks as they are known in some quarters) peek out every once in a while and brighten things up in the workplace. From polka dots and caricatures to geometric patterns, you can choose a pair to suit your mood or your workplace. A great way of telling people you don’t take fashion rules seriously (except these ones).

Plaid: Well played is well, plaid. Great for your 9-to-5 and even performs well after. Plaids, in shirts and jackets, are perhaps the most versatile tool in the corporate warrior’s armory, and straddle the fine line between formal and casual effectively. They’re also age-resistant meaning a young buck in his twenties can rock them as much as your seasoned forty-plus campaigner. Plaid, though Scottish in origin, has an Indian connection too, in the Madras checks that became popular all over the world after the World War.

Inside collars and cuffs. If you like to keep it classy but still a little edgy, nothing does it like contrast or printed insides of your collar and cuffs. After the work day, when it’s proper to roll up your sleeves, it even adds a touch of evening character.

Coloured Shoes. Alternate your staid blacks and browns with variants like burgundy, light buttery browns and ashen blues. Play with moccasins, tassel loafers and lace-ups. Go beyond leather and try suede and maybe even canvas. But do remember to take a quick course in matching.


Floral prints. Flowers are back (though one could argue that they never went out) and now they’re storming the bastion of your office. Even the traditional Indian paisley is making its way into formal wear. With the prevalence of digital printing, with a little hunting, you’ll even find beautiful florals in watercolour style.

Scarves. The first rule of wearing scarves is to rid yourself of the notion that they are to be worn only in winter. A colourful scarf paired with a monochrome top works wonders. A dozen online videos will teach you to wear it in a dozen ways. Plus, it always comes in handy when the thermostat isn’t to your liking. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw wears scarves frequently, and is a great example of how you can use it strikingly.

Pants. Yes. Pants. Experiment with different styles and you’ll be surprised how they can really spruce up a boring look. Silhouette is everything when it comes to pants. Choose from high-waisted, wide legged, pleated to ankle length pants and what not! The best part is offices rarely prescribe silhouettes, so you can always get by with some style even if your workplace demands a uniform.

Houndstooth. The houndstooth pattern is at the sweet intersection between casual and formal and can be worn to make a splash in either occasion. Whether its jackets or a dress or a simple top, a houndstooth pattern is incredibly versatile.

Chic suits. A sharp suit is a must for a modern professional’s wardrobe. And please don’t even look in the direction of black. Pastel colours or even greys with patterns are great options for suits. Uncoordinated suits are also a great option depending on how edgy you want your office attire to be.


It isn’t enough to be well-dressed in the modern workplace. A good professional is known by his or her tools and how they carry it.

Designer laptop sleeves. Your high-precision instrument deserves a cover chosen with as much care. Black Neoprene is out. Pastel monochromes, geometric patterns and bold designs are very much in. Different materials like cotton, leather and even paper are a great option.

Natural fiber or leather bags (yes kill your black synthetic one now). Briefcases are ancient and black messenger bags are done. Go for a color variant or a subtle pattern. Pay attention to the different leather finishes. Adding a few nicely done metal trims can make all the difference. But convenience and ease are top priority. If you travel a lot, get a stylish strolley and thank yourself later.

Commute pack. The urban corporate needs to be productive at all times, or at the very least, needs to be accessible. A modern commute pack should include wireless headphones, a USB battery pack (power bank) and a wire/gadget organisation pack just so that you’re always prepared.

Machine. We’ve all showed off our latest smartphones. Your work machine is way more important. And like in smartphones, a good laptop is no longer only about performance. The specifications must be top-notch but it has also become an expression of your personality. It can up your style quotient and significantly impact your experience.

Source: Dell
Source: Dell

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Dell and not by the Scroll editorial team.

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