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'Murdochization' of the Indian press: From by-line to bottom-line

Sonwalkar, Prasun


Prasun Sonwalkar


The Rupert Murdoch factor in the Western media has been widely debated. However, less attention has been focused on his influence in non-Western locales where he does not have an overt presence. His vision has transformed the press in India - a country with a diverse and rich press - that was at the forefront of its freedom struggle. Fifty-five years after independence, India opened its press for foreign participation in 2002; however, Murdoch has been omnipresent in its press since the late 1980s. Leading Indian newspapers adopted his market-oriented approach, which raised profits but also narrowed the editorial space for social issues. Indian commentators lament the Murdoch-inspired changes - often referred to as 'dumbing down' - but it is also true that the press has since increased its circulation and democratised local cultural and political networks. This article briefly tracks the shifts and suggests that a balance between the marketing and editorial needs to be struck for the press to continue to play a key role in the world's largest democracy.


Sonwalkar, P. (2002). 'Murdochization' of the Indian press: From by-line to bottom-line. Media, Culture and Society, 24(6), 821-834.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2002
Journal Media, Culture and Society
Print ISSN 0163-4437
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 6
Pages 821-834
Keywords Murdochization, Indian press
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : The article has been quoted in News Culture, by Stuart Allan, 2004, Open University Press, ISBN: 0335210732. It is also cited in 'Ethics and News Making in the Changing Indian Mediascape', Shakuntala Rao & Navjit Singh Johal, Journal of Mass media Ethics, 21 (4), 286-303. The authors state in their conclusion: "These findings reflect Sonwalkar's (2002) comment that 'The adoption of corporate culture, what might be called the shift from the by-line to the bottom-line, re-worked the rules of the game within the Indian press'" (p.829).

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