Suparana Chaudhary, better known by the pen name Shoma Chaudhary, is an Indian reporter-journalist-editor. She is one of the four founding members of the Tehelka magazine and is the former managing editor.
Chaudhury was educated at St. Helen's Convent, Kurseong and La Martiniere School, Kolkata. She then graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) (Honours) from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi. She completed her post-graduate studies from the University of Delhi (South Campus). Shoma Chaudhury lives in Delhi with her two sons.
Before joining print journalism, Chaudhury was employed at Doordarshan, directing more than 40 weekly television shows on books and writers. Her journalistic career began as Books Editor at The Pioneer later moving to the India Today, and then the Outlook news magazine. Since then, Chaudhury has been Director of Special Projects and Features Editor at Tehelka. She was the Managing Editor of the weekly.
She is also a literary critic in India and was one of the judges of the Vodafone Crossword Book Award in 2006. She engages in public debate through platforms like the Jaipur Literature Festival, Tehelka Think Fest and has featured on the Riz Khan Show on Aljazeera. She was recently a panellist at the "Outcry in India" discussion at the Women in the World Summit on 4–5 April 2013.
On 21 November 2013, Chaudhury was in the news because of the way she handled a complaint of sexual assault by the young woman journalist against the Tehelka's founder, Tarun Tejpal. Chaudhary, who is a prominent voice on women issues, was criticised by the media and some colleagues for possibly underplaying the case at her own magazine. On 28 November, she resigned her post as managing editor of Tehelka.
Views on Indian media
Chaudhary criticises the current state of the Indian media. Speaking on a panel on investigative journalism at the 16th World Editors Forum, she remarked on the state of journalism in India as "pathetic" as it had become "a corporate rather than a political act". She was critical of the "focus on advertisement revenue" rather than public interest, adding that "journalism has thus been undervalued, and this needs to change. On another occasion she was quoted as saying:
India's political, corporate and media establishment sounds like a mobile cocktail party, gliding, champagne glasses in hand, in and out of each others' drawing rooms, television studios, boardrooms and award ceremonies like actors in an elaborate charade.
She was critical of the nature of the recent Radia tapes controversy calling it a "mistake", noting that the tapes "end abruptly or seem to be missing bits of the conversations (which means)... Someone has carefully edited the tapes". She was also critical of the nature of the debate of the controversy that followed, observing that it had "distracted from the larger question of journalistic ethics... to.. just become a misogynistic, medieval witch hunt."
Chaudhury won the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism for Film and Television (Print) (2007–2008). She received the Mumbai Press Club Award for Political Writing on Soni Sori titled, "The Inconvenient Truth of Soni Sori". She also was adjudged an Outstanding Woman Media person through the Chameli Devi Jain Award along with veteran journalist Monalisa Changkiya of the Nagaland Page. The award is conferred upon women media persons who display "excellence, analytical skill, social concern, insights, style, innovation, courage and compassion". She was also named as "150 Women who Shake the World" by Newsweek and The Daily Beast in 2011.
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