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INTERVIEWEE* Name: Dilip Bobb (DB)

  • Occupation: Journalist

INTERVIEWER* Kai Friese (Kai)

Medium: Video + Audio recordings* Format: Audio .wav

  • Language: English
  • Location of Interview: Outlook office in Safdarjung Enclave
  • Date of the interview: 08 January 2016 13:33

Clip name/DURATION: * kf_dbob_raw_080116.WAV

  • Length 00: 47: 29
  • Bit rate: 1411kbps
  • Size: 479 MB
  • Date modified: 18/02/2016

Interview Start

0:00 I was basically at the University, which was Calcutta University, in those days was quite happening place. So I already got into the writing 

0:18 [Kai] Sorry...what was it...the college magazine in Xavier's? 

0:21 [DB] I can't remember the name...uhmmmm many years ago. Any way I then got in....once I started writing for the magazine I realised that I had a flair for it...talent for it and I ...there was then this magazine called Junior Statesman, which was part of the Statesman group, which was a youth magazine but very well done very well produced and very talented writers who were ....So I met the ...I happen to meet the editor socially one day and...

1:09 [Kai] This is Desmond Doig.

1:10 [DB] Desmond Doig. And he said, 'why don't you write for us?'

1:14 [Kai] This is still around '73? 

1:16 [DB] Yeah. So I did that. I did one piece for them which was published without any editing, so I thought well maybe that's where my future lies.

1:33 [Kai] Any recollection what that was? Your first published piece?

1:35 [DB] Not at all. Well I did two or three for them so...I think one was to do with careers and, you know, career choices, which was very limited in those days, you know. And then once I decided that I wanted to be a journalist or a writer, Calcutta was obviously not the place. It had, in those days, only one English newspaper and I think Junior Statesman was about, Anandbazar Patrika was the only. So but Delhi was the place where all the national press was based. So I finished college and then moved to Delhi, and looked around. I really wasn't all that keen on newspapers because newspapers were...

2:55 [Kai] And Junior Statesman you hadn't joined? You were sort of a freelancer?

2:58 [DB] no, I was a freelancer. And I did write for them while I was in Delhi as well. But then I you know realised that my kind of writing was more suited for magazines than was for newspapers. Though Delhi was where all the newspapers operated from there 3:23 The Times, The Sun Times, and the Indian Express, Statesman. Statesman was of course Cal (Read as Calcutta) but they had a big operation in Delhi as well. And so I just in fact Emergency had already been declared. 

3:45 [Kai] So you came in '75 to Delhi?3:46 [DB] Yes, so I moved here in '75...end of '74, yeah. late 74 and then 75 it was yeah... Sorry I came here in '75, you're right. And by June the Emergency had been declared and I really had no experience of working in a publication under Emergency it was censorship at that time...a kind of situation and then I saw this ad for a magazine that was going to be launched called India Today. I was like, you know, it just said walk-in-interview, so I walked in and I liked the people behind it, I liked their attitude and their approach...what their plans were.


Background of DB in Calcutta Junior Statesman (JS) Desmond Doig Anandbazar Patrika Freelancing at JS move to Delhi Joined India Today DB likes their concept.

5:02 [Kai] Who did you speak to? 

5:05 [DB] Initially Madhu Trehan was the editor, and so through her, then of course I met Aroon Purie after that. And they hired me on the spot. I mean I didn't have to come back. So that was...(long pause) let me get the dates right because

5:28 [Kai] Yeah, when the first issue came out is also a bit of a mystery to me. 

5:32 [DB] Yes, we launched in December '75 sorry. So it was six months after the Emergency and now the initial plan, I mean it was a stupid idea to launch a magazine, a news magazine in a situation like that in an Emergency but their initial idea of India Today was really a magazine for ...a magazine for Indians abroad.

6:15[Kai] Right, that's what I've heard.

6:15 [DB] It wasn't meant to be sold in India at all

6:21 [Kai] So it was being produced here and printed here and then shipped or printed over there or 

6:25 [DB] Printed here and then shipped. And basically it was the America and the UK.6:31 [Kai] As a fortnightly already or as a monthly.

6:33 [DB] As a fortnightly... as a fortnightly. So we...thinking, from what I remember, thinking was that you know domestically that appears as heavily censored wouldn't be the case if sold outside India. So we merrily sort of put together the first issue and and it was, you know, meant to be entire...the consignment was meant to be exported and then we realised that even if we want to send it outside, it still had to go through the censors. So it went to the censors and they ... suddenly we realised that Mrs. Gandhi was the Prime Minister then who'd imposed the Emergency was as concerned about her image abroad as she was, well she wasn't really concerned about her domestic as she was about her image abroad. 7:53 You know in the west especially so we were told we couldn't do it. We couldn't send that consignment abroad --- [Kai interjects] ...at all!--- at all. So we were stuck with all these copies. This was December 15 1975.

8:09 [Kai] My goodness! Have you got some of those original copies?

8:12 [DB] I don't but but they're somewhere, I mean, in the archives I guess. So and the first issue, I remember very clearly, the headline on the cover was, ‘Whose Afraid of the Emergency?’ And so it was provocative kind of a headline. And the story (sic) inside were fairly, I mean, knowing (can be read as towing) that, you know the Government was being extra over-sensitive about, whatever was written there. So there were a lot of features, there were a lot of stuff about business and and ... so we kept politics to minimum but it was a, you know, since it was the cover story, it was obviously gonna catch somebody's attention. And it did. So we decided that 9:12 [Kai interjects] Had it got much in the way of advertising. Actually how [9:15 DB: No, we hadn't....{DB continues in the background} ] was it handled since it was for foreign market? No advertising! 

9:18 [DB] No, we hadn't really, you know, though of because if you...the rules in those days was if you were selling it abroad, the advertising had to come the market you were selling it (read- the product) in, and not from domestic unless it was a company that had offices there (read- place of circulation) or was doing business there. So we got the odd ad from, you know, Air India and people like that who were allowed to advertise for a magazine that was sold abroad, except we were told that we couldn't send it abroad, so we said, 'okay, we'll put it in the domestic market'. So overnight the cover price was changed from pounds or dollars into rupees. And...

Keywords and Phrases

India Today (IT) launched in December 1975 Madhur Terhan Aroon Purie nature of the IT meant for Indian readers abroad well written fortnightly range of topics covered Headline- Whose Afraid of the Emergency? but had to go through the censors in India. Switch to domestic market advertising

10:16 [Kai] But that initial issue was scrapped or you now tried to sell that issue.?

10:19 [DB] That same issue...we just changed the cover...price.

10:23 [Kai] But now it went through censorship and was cleared for domestic audience.

10:26 [DB] Yeah yeah...it was.

10:27 [Kai] Okay.

10:28 [DB] Aa... we'd been very careful about how we wrote it. I mean, we had a, you know, a sense that they would...and you know it was the first issue, we didn't want to be shut down out of one issue. So we had been very careful about we had written it and what we'd written. But you know, I mean, it was written in a way that people got a sense of what was happening. In those days it was, you know, nobody knew what was happening, the public because of censorship. You know the newspapers were not allowed to print anything negative even if you saw it happening in front of your eyes, you couldn't publish it. So... but it was, you know, the quality of writing, the quality of photographs, and the style was far superior to what was available at that time in terms of news magazines and whatever 5,000-6,000 copies that we reprinted, every single one of them sold out. So we switched the entire focus to domestic overnight. 11:57 And it continued to be a fortnightly, which was, you know, odd...but then you know, it was 12:06 initially brand as a magazine to be sent abroad so we needed that [12:10 Kai adds- gap] 12:11[DB continues] gap. And...but once we switched to domestic, we realised that, you know, since there is censorship we may as well just keep it as a fortnightly, which we did. But.for the next few months we carried on every single page...had to be sent to the censors and some stuff they let it go, some stuff they underlined with blue pencil and you couldn't print that. So...

12:48 [Kai] But they didn't get agitated...it didn't become a conflict?

12:52 [DB] No, it didn't. There was no, you know, these were all bureaucrats sitting in Shastri Bhawan, I&B Ministry (Read as Information and Broadcasting Ministry), you know, they were told that anything to do with Mrs Gandhi...negative...cut it out. And, you know, the writing was subtle and was, you know, so it was easy to, you know, write something that would the bureaucrats would not find offensive but the reader would understand what we're trying to say. So that's how we carried on for a long time until the Emergency... she suddenly decided to lift it. 

13:39 [Kai] Hmmm...the Elections.

13:40 [DB] Yeah and announced elections. So for a long time we were in that situation where we were just trying to basically outwit the censors by the way you wrote a story.

14:04 [Kai] Writing in a winking manner

14:06 [DB] So, you know, you could read between the lines if you were smart enough. And that's what, I think, was a huge advantage for us. We had good writers.

14:25 [Kai] What kind of stuff were you doing at that stage?

14:28 [DB] Mostly everything. And it was, you know, it obviously had caught the imagination of the public because we were selling out. We increased the print run, and still sold then we printed a little more.

14:50 [Kai]And advertising started coming in slowly.

14:52 [DB] Advertising was trickling in and in those days, you know, advertising in print was not...there was no television. But, you know, the economy was pretty much, you know, socialist...Mrs Gandhi, you know, was strictly very very socialist kind of economy. So there were not any big business...the guys who were in it...in a particular area of sector were mostly guys who had a monopoly. Whether there was cars or bikes or motorbikes or scooters or whatever. So, you know, there was really no need for advertising. 

15:46 [Kai] Not a lot of competition. 

15:47 [DB] Yea, not a lot of competition at all! So advertising was not that great. A few, you know, more progressive types like the Tatas and Bajaj did advertise but generally it was ...we weren't...

16:08 [Kai] But are you saying that the business plan was based on circulation rather than advertising....on cover press?

16:15 [DB] It was all on cover press, absolutely. News-stands were, you know, what was really what we focused on as opposed to sheer advertising. And then of course the Emergency ended.

Keywords and Phrases

Complete switch to domestic market quality of writing 5,000-6,000 copies all sold reprint screening by censors profile of the screeners affecting the writing declaration of elections nature of economy under Mrs. Gandhi (Socialist) trickling of advertising IT business plan based on circulation

16:37 [Kai] Yea, so talk about the transition. 

16:39 And till then I think the only two newspapers that had some...shown some resistance was Indian Express for sure, Statesman to some extent and but all the rest just caved in. They just went with what the Government wanted them to do. So in that situation everybody was, sort off, virtually most journalists were jobless. I mean they didn't have to do anything. They just printed press releases from Press Information Bureau that was it. And nobody could do independent story, nobody could write about the Government or about what they were seeing right in front of our eyes, which was whether it was sterilisation or Sanjay Gandhi's extra-constitutional authority.

17:46 [Kai] So was that exciting that phase when Mrs Gandhi was still in power, the Emergency technically there but Elections had been declared so everyone knew it was going to end. 

17:54 [DB] Yea, well yea yea...She lifted the Emergency same time she declared the elections. And that's when the dam broke, you know, all those stories that people had seen, knew about, couldn't write about, you know...suddenly they all came ... the huge dam broke. And that was when I think Media's big... 18:25 [Kai adds] moment came.

18:26 [DB] Big moment...yea. I think it was huge media revolution really because within the moment that happened suddenly, you know, newspapers were sort of became much more aggressive than they had been earlier in terms of investigative journalism, in terms of being a lot more, let's say, less respectful of authority, much more critical in their approach to Government and then you had new tools that came along, news magazine...there was Sunday...there was couple of others were launched. So obviously there was a huge boom that happened immediately after the Emergency was lifted and, you know, in a couple of years’ media was...pretty much what it should have been, which was, you know, sort of conscious keeper 19:52 and exposing wrong doings, exposing and of course, you know, all the stuff all the people who'd been extra-constitutional authorities during the Emergency and done things we knew about. So all those guys were exposed and suddenly, you know, ministers were being, you know, reduced to ...shown as, you know, sort of criminals really. And that whole equation between the Press and the Government changed overnight. And which has now got a bit aggressive, I think in ...at that time it just, you know, was just a right balance. And of course, there was so much to write about apart from the Emergency, and Sanjay Gandhi's own role, and Maneka and all the things that had happened in Old Delhi, for instance the sterilisations, and people coming forward with all sorts of stories about torture, and you know...all the opposition leaders who'd been put in jail. Apart from that it was ...there was a huge pond of stories to do with the guys who had taken over because the Janta Party 21:36 who were, you know, just so badly, it was a khichdi you know...what we call a khichdi is a coalition of guys who had nothing in common, no ideology, you know, and they'd made a mess of everything and so you had so much to write about so there was no dearth of material for media.

Keywords and Phrases

Transition from Emergency to Elections during Emergency, the journalists were helpless mostly exceptions Indian Express and Statesman

dam broke increased reportage change in the nature of writing---investigative journalism ‘media revolution’ writing about Sanjay Gandhi and those who undertook extra-constitutional powers new media tools- Sunday magazine sterilisations stories of torture Transition of Janta Party- making a mess khichdi  plenty to write about

21:57 [Kai] And no sense of pressure though from that...from the Janta Government.22:03 [DB] No, by then, you know, the media had really come into its own, I think and nobody dared, and then you had people like Arun Shourie (read as AS) and, you know, stars like that who were being very aggressive and exposing, you know, the government. So the government was really on the back-foot in terms, as for as media was concerned. Of course the Janta experiment didn't last very long and Mrs Gandhi was back in a couple of years. But she'd learnt her lesson and she came back and then she was...Sanjay was still facing a lot of charges; he had to go to court all the time. She was under pressure, so it was a different Mrs Gandhi who came back to power and she never dared pressure the media 23:08 at all because she knew everybody...I mean now the media was, sort of, energised, you know, itching to get back at her for what she'd done. So she was very very careful about dealing with the media. I mean she was not a very ...she was not very accessible to the media but that was her way of functioning. And of course she then had all the Punjab problem...then Blue Star, and then of course her assassination....so things sort of just snowballed, you know, since she came back, and I think the...then of course television had come much later around 1985, when you started getting television and NDTV was the first to ...private channel otherwise it was all Doordarshan only. 24:32 So then we had television also, you know, and the visual impact is so much more greater than anything that print can do. So the media was spreading into this, you know, new world and then television and print was pretty, you know, expanding ...very very fast, getting and of course advertising was coming in, you know, because things were changing and all. Socialism was dead and so it was a great time for the media to be, you know, taking on a sort of...not adversarial but a, you know, very very aggressive role in terms of anything to do with...where the government was going wrong, where, you know...so it became I think the credibility of the media has...was never as high as it was in that post-... 26:06 [Kai] adds...post- Emergency 26:08 [DB continues] Post-Emergency period. And of course, you know, there were I remember (L. K.) Advani's favourite quote, 'If you're asked to crawl, I mean...you (read: the press in the Emergency when asked to bend, they crawled) were asked to bend and you crawled' . So you know people did that and that of course had a lot to do with people who owned newspapers...they had other businesses...Birlas' just owned Hindustan Times....very very minor part of their empire, so if the newspaper during the Emergency, the newspaper got out of hand, it would affect 26:53 [Kai interjects] The Jains, of course, The Times of India Group, that was their only business but they also famously caved 27:01 [DB] yea....well the Jains, you know, it wasn't so much, I mean Birlas had a lot of other businesses; the Jains had through their family, the Dalmias, you know, they're all connected. So they could have been affected, you know, the family could have been affected. So it wasn't just the Times of India but every, like I said, apart from the Express, everybody else just, you know, didn't have a very proud record in the Emergency.

Keywords and Phrases

Absence of pressure from Janta Gvt @DB media post-Emergency very powerful Arun Shourie a prolific and vituperative return of Mrs Gandhi she was more careful sanjay Gandhi going to court Mrs Gandhi not too accessible to media Punjab problem- Blue Star-Assassination coming of television in 1985s NDTV first private tv channel Advani’s quote on press reasons why the media crawled families and businesses could be affect. Birlas Tatas Jains Dalmias

27:37 [Kai] But seeing this as a kind of a Golden Age of media showing spine immediate post-Emergency ....you're implying which now would be surprising also some kind of decline subsequent to that...I mean, do you see it as an age of return of sarkari influence or...now because you mention advertising comes in, you know, being delicate towards corporates becomes increasingly important, which in my experience is largely true but tell me what you think?

28:13 [DB] It really depends on individual publications and individual owners. I don't think, you know, Times of India was the first really introduced stuff like the Page News and all that and then, you know, that's their strategy...that's the way they think that the money is gonna come from, so they went ahead and did it. At the end of the it's still a good paper, you know. It's not a paper that you can dismiss. Similarly, you know, Hindustan Times has this image of being pro-Congress because of Birlas' connection but, you know, everybody has their own, you know, interests .29:05 But I don't think, you know, when I worked in India Today and Indian Express and now here...there's absolutely no pressure from owners at all to say, you know, don't write this or don't write about this or don't write about that. So it's not that, you know, people are...maybe a little careful about...not about the Government for sure. I mean the Government has, you know, as you can see the papers are quite quite critical still about most...the ones that are not, you know, what their....they have some affiliations but by long I think the press has got, thanks to television, become overly aggressive and overly ...call it a competition, somebody does it and then you have to do it too. So they're following, you know, and if that....whoever is being, you know, aggressive and sensational and, you know, not too worried about credibility and if they're still getting advertising support and they're still watched by majority of people, you know, I mean then everybody else has to follow. They figure that if that model is working well, you know, we have to do it too.31:01 Not everybody but some people will go along. So it's a ...I don't think there's, you know, government at one time in the early days in the 1970s and the 1980s...government advertising was important for some sections of media because they advertised a lot...state governments, central government, so I think the regional press more than the national press got....would have been possibly under some pressure from the Government because of advertising...a lot of their advertising depended on state government but today its, you know, it’s a ...challenge is not to do with advertising as much as it is to do with the platform you're on, which is social media, which is now the new kid on the block and it's challenging. 32:14 [Kai agrees] That's the bigger threat rather than the state or corporate... 32:16 [DB] Yes, that is a bigger threat rather than state or corporate...yea... absolutely. I mean corporates, I know here for instance after the Radia Tapes (c. 2010) and Tata...withdrew 32:32 [Kai] Yes, pulled the plug on. 32:33 [DB] Pull the plug on advertising, you know, that was a huge huge amount of advertising every year...but they lost. But that's the risk you take, I mean, you know, if you want to be a credible publication and you have information and you know it's going to affect the bottom-line, you still go ahead, that's, you know, I admire that and I think a lot of 80percent of the media is still pretty much not concerned about pressure from corporates or...

Keywords and Phrases

[Kai]: immediate post-Emergency as the Golden Age and gradual stepping back into sarkari mode? + Role of advertising + threat of ad blockage used to direct tone?

{DB] hard to heel because of increased competition+ gvt. ads not very important (beyond regional press) Radia Tapes Controversy in 2010 seldom pressure from corporates now threat from social media

33:08 [Kai] You don't think even with...you spent a lot of time India Today and as that grew as a business, I'm wondering whether it didn't also make them more...sensitive and disinclined to  step on the government's toes. Did you ever have that sense 33:28 [DB pips in: No!] ... No? 33:29 [DB] Never, not one day. There was, I think, Aroon Purie (AP is the correct name here) for instance was classmate of Rajiv Gandhi, and I don't think anybody was more critical of Rajiv Gandhi than India Today was at that time...but he was messing things up. So no, India Today was never...I can't remember a single instance where anybody came and said, 'hey, you know these are clients or this is, you know, go easy on the government.' It never happened.

34:11 [Kai] More recently, and this is a, I mean, distant parallel, of course, and a crude one...many people have at times compared them...the media mood here with, I mean, in recent years or months with the Emergency. Did you have a sense in the...at the time of the elections that brought the BJP and Narendra Modi to power that there was an element of caution and fear and let's see what happens in the media too, and that people were holding back out of some nervousness. That is my sense though, [DB promptly interjects: No!] I think it (Read as media) has changed again a bit.

34:51 [DB] It has. I think, you know, there was a great amount of hope and expectation from this Government, and Narendra Modi had been, you know, really trashed in the press over Gujarat, so it wasn't that the press had been easy on him. In fact, he was very very anti-press because of the coverage of Gujarat post-Gujarat. So he still avoids the press. He doesn't have...he's never had a proper press conference, he doesn't meet the press. He stays away...he doesn't give interviews, so he's very weary of the press.35:41 I think the press was, you know, went a little overboard in...when he first came to power because he seemed like, you know, one....(???)  , there was a huge disappointment with the earlier Government, so you know, anything new was welcomed. He had this reputation for being a man who is pro-development, and that was and still is in his favour. So initially the press was very very favourable but and then I think, you know, it became a kind of a...36:31 sort of cynicism crept in and you can see that reflected in the coverage that he is getting now. But in the first, I'd say, three-four months it was widely supportive.

36:57 [Kai] So you think that was genuine enthusiasm not a fear or not being nice out of ... [DB promptly repeats: no no]  ... fear at all?

37:04 [DB] Genuine enthusiasm, I think a lot of people, you know, knew him as somebody who could be vindictive and could, you know, he had this very very negative view of the press. So there were people who were maybe a little weary of ...but I think generally, you know, it was just the opportunity that the kind of hope he generated when he came in...that out-weighted anything else. 37:43 So there was fear as such, I think that era of...went with the Emergency. It's never gonna come back. And I think any Prime Minister knows that...anybody in the Government knows that. They can't...you know Press has become very powerful, much more than it was earlier. So ...so nobody has that kind of fear that there was during the Emergency. I mean that was fear...you could feel it, I mean you could see it...in the way that media reacted. But you don't see that now. The media is pretty critical of anything that the government does, personally to do with him or his or anybody close to him. So there's, you know, no question of fear because (one)you know, what can the government do? They can stop ads but that doesn't bother anybody because government advertising is no longer important enough 38:54 [Kai interjects: Significant]. But it's a...it also released a lot of ...because of the boom and...in the media, it has allowed a lot of people to get into the media who really shouldn't be there.  39:17 [Kai laughs: Oh really!] 39:18 [DB] Yeah!

39:20 [Kai] You just mean the quality of ... 39:22 [DB] Yea, quality...quality one and... 39:23 [Kai continues] people coming in to journalism.

39:25 [DB continues] quality one and two people who are...have political connections, people who are, you know, politicians themselves.

Keywords and Phrases

Any pressure from the government on India Today as it grew as a business (DB) none

Ex of Aroon Purie being critical of Rajiv Gandhi

Over comparison between media clam-down during Emergency and Narendra Modi - (DB) doesn’t see the comparison as being completely correct believes that despite NaMo being thrashed badly in post-Gujarat episode, people hoped a lot from him NaMo weary of press—no proper press conference or interview but a cynicism creeping in

[Kai] Was the press not afraid when NaMo came to power but was genuinely enthusiastic? [DB]; Press as enthusiastic though some were weary fear as existed in Emergency not present with NaMo @ DB ….not possible as press is too powerful

Change in the quality and nature of people getting into journalism and threat from social media

39:34 [Kai] But why is that happening except if the maliks are encouraging that.

39:37 [DB] Well, to some extent, you know, that maybe true but I think a lot of people just want to be in the media because to be in crowd gives them some status, so it’s not so much as the government encouraging them as to their own, you know, it seems to add to their... 40:02 [Kai] Oh! You mean the owners were connected up, setting up media operations (DB agrees with Kai comment with - Yea...Yea), not reporters as such (DB says No No No - in the background). 

40:13 [DB] No, there are very few reporters who... but generally, you know, you can tell now it's easier to tell who is, you know, pro-government and who's not. So...or pro-this Government. 

40:37 [Kai] But just to go back to when you came to Delhi and started in this Emergency Era, coming from Calcutta, were you struck at all by the incestuousness of connections in Delhi, including between journalists and people in government? I'm often startled when I hear stories about how everyone knew everyone at the senior level.

40:58 [DB] I don't know...It was a totally different era and was a totally different kind of relationship. I think there are more people now who are connected with the government than there were then. 41:10 In those days it was a pretty informal kind of thing. You could, you know, there was no security, there was no, kind of, you know, aloof kind of attitude that there is today. You could walk into a minister's office without an appointment, and he'd see you, you know as a reporter and there was no question of....so. Whether it was the Emergency or before. 41:44 You had a ...access, you know, if it was a minister who or somebody in power who was kind of or somebody you respected and liked, you got friendly. It wasn't that people actually cultivated anybody because it was such an informal kind of, you know, scene. And in those days, you could walk into the Prime Minister's office or a house, and you know, and ask for an appointment...you can't get anywhere near 10 kms today. So it was a very very informal kind of, you know, situation then. You could, you know, you had...there would...In fact, more than the press cultivating politicians, it was the other way round. 42:45 Politicians were the ones who were cultivating the press, and that happens today as well...so not much has changed. Well in those days, you know, it was very very ...totally different relationship. It was...

43:09 ...So you see this as essentially a positive transformation the benefits of which have continued and are secured, except for the threat of the internet is …

43:26 [DB] The threat of the internet, the internet has created journalists who are not journalists. They're basically, you know, anybody can write what they want on the internet on twitter, on Facebook, blogs and they can trash you. So the internet is creating this alternative army of trolls, you know, and journalists who...anybody can write an opinion. They're not trained journalists, you know. Journalists require training, you know. It's not somebody can walk in and overnight become a journalist, you know, there's a certain specific training that goes into becoming a journalist. There are certain rules you have to follow and now days it's free for all on the web... on the internet and they call themselves journalists, because they write opinion, they write blogs or whatever.

44:31 [Kai] And the media to some extent is involved, at least television channels... we encourage this - citizen journalist. (DB agrees with Kai's point). 

44:36 [DB] And the television, you know, because of the competition ... intense competition...sometimes steps out of line...a lot of times, steps out of line. And it just confuses everything, and because of this shouting matches on the news, so you're not getting.... (corrects himself) ...getting lot of noise and not getting lot of news. 44:57 So I think the print media is still the most solid, dependable, credible, I'd say but, you know, what's happening in the rest of the world in terms of the print media so it'll eventually happen here. And social media is...I mean, everybody today of any ....most magazines, most newspapers are now tying up with Facebook  and Google to be on their platform. So you know instead of reporting on Google and reporting on Facebook, you're now a part of that, so that's a compromise, you know this is social media is awestruck (??) on the press 45:49 [Kai simultaneously add- on the print]

45:53 [Kai] So just a couple of corny template questions at the end. [DB: Yea...] High point and low point in the memory of your own career? 

46:02 [DB] Low point was the Emergency, definitely. Lowest point was when you could not as a journalist write what you meant.

46:11 [Kai] But any particularly memorable story for you?

46:16 [DB] Oh lots...lots...lots. I'd done some great ... I've been to some great places and written a lot of cover stories for India Today, too many to count. So, you know, it’s tough to single out one or the other but, you know, India Today was a very high point. 

46:44 [Kai] Being there from the start?

46:45 [DB] Being there from the start and being part of the team and launched it...that was...

46:49 [Kai] Who else was there in that first team?

46:52 [DB] There was all...Madhu Trehan and Aroon (Purie) and his sister and…their sister and couple of friends of theirs and that's it. I was the only paid employee at that time.

47:06 [Kai] Acha!

47:07 [DB] All the rest were... 47:09 [Kai enquires- Well, was it in F Block already then?] 47:10 [DB] Yea...F Block....F-13. But yeah well that was a high point of being part of part a team that too launch a magazine. 

47:23 [Kai] I can imagine.

47:25 [Kai] Okay...[DB: Okay] ...Thanks so much Dilip.

Interview Ends  

Keywords and phrases

Inept people getting into media for personal image and gain lack of discipline and training

On close connection between media and politicians during Emergency- It was informal, no solid connections, politicians cultivating media, ministers were more accessible (unlike now)

On threat from social mediacreated journalists who are not journalists thrash people etc without much research internet creating an army of trolls lots of noise & not news

Role of facebook and google & collaboration with newspapers print media still somewhat more credible than television

On low and high points of DB’s career low point was the Emergency

High point being in the initial team in the launch of India Today as the only paid employee Madhu Trehand & Aroon Purie & sister & family friends others of the launching group. Housed at F-13