Financial TimesFinancial Times

Broadcaster vs billionaire: the battle for control of India’s media

By John Reed, Chloe Cornish

06 Sep 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Two billionaires, Indian government loyalists, now control majority of mainstream media in India. This feature delves into why the hostile takeover of a large media house is awful for media freedom.

At a private dinner in 2007, a TV anchor was not about to let a politician go unchallenged. Prannoy Roy, a broadcaster and co-founder of media group New Delhi Television, confronted the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi over rioting in the state five years earlier that led to the deaths of nearly 2,000 people.

Roy’s ambush set the tone for a combative future relationship with Modi, who was elected India’s prime minister in 2014. At the gathering with journalists, Modi stuck by his denials of any involvement in the riots, but left before food was served, according to investor and Financial Times contributor Ruchir Sharma’s book Democracy on the Road.

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