Shoma Chaudhury

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Shoma Chaudhury is an Indian journalist, editor, and political commentator. She was managing editor and one of the founders of Tehelka, an investigative public interest newsmagazine. She is currently director and co-founder of Algebra, an organisation that conducts public interviews with prominent Indians.[citation needed]

Biography[edit]

Chaudhury was born in Darjeeling and grew up in West Bengal, where both her parents were doctors. She studied in St Helen’s Convent in Kurseong; La Martiniere School in Kolkata; and in Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi. She topped the national ISC Board in English in Class 12, and also topped Delhi University twice, both for her Bachelors and master's degree in English Literature. She is married and lives in Delhi.[citation needed]

Views on Indian media[edit]

Chaudhury has criticised 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.[1] On another occasion she was quoted as saying:[2]

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."[3][4]

Awards[edit]

In 2011, Newsweek (USA) picked Shoma Chaudhury as one of [5]“150 power women who shake the world”. The other Indian women on the list that year were Sonia Gandhi and Arundhati Roy. She has also been awarded the prestigious Sabbiadoro Ernest Hemingway Award for Political Journalism (2013), the Mumbai Press Club award for political journalism (2012),[6] the Ramnath Goenka award and [7] the Chameli Devi Award for Best Woman Journalist (2009) for "going where angels fear to tread”. She was honoured by her alma mater Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi, with the alumni of the year award in 2013.

Algebra conversations[edit]

Algebra was started by Chaudhury in September 2016. Since then, it has hosted myriad conversations presenting mainstream public figures in new light or highlighting counter-narratives. This includes grassroot social transformers, dispossessed voices whoa re often ignored by the mainstream media, including sewage workers, farmers, tribals, environmental activists and Muslims falsely accused of terror.[8]

This includes Naseeruddin Shah, Subramaniam Swamy, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Magasaysay award winner Bezwada Wilson, Sharmila Irom, Tina Brown, Omar Abdullah, P Chidambaram, Shashi Tharoor, Raju Hirani, Javed Akhtar, Sanjay Dutt, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Surjit Bhalla, Anurag Kashyap, William Dalrymple, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Soni Sori, Ram Jethmalani and Mufti Qayuum — a man who spent 12 years on death row as a convicted terrorist before being exonerated.[citation needed]

Controversies[edit]

In 2013, Shoma resigned from Tehelka following a controversy surrounding her handling of a sexual assault complaint by a colleague against Tehelka editor and founder, Tarun Tejpal. Chaudhury, 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.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tehelka's Shoma Chaudhury on the 'pathetic' state of investigative journalism in India – Editors Weblog
  2. ^ "www.theage.com.au – India has its own mini WikiLeaks". The Age. Melbourne. 
  3. ^ Polgreen, Lydia (3 December 2010). "Barkha Dutt Becomes the Story in India – The Saturday Profile". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "After Radiagate, Indian Journos Soul Search – India Real Time – WSJ". The Wall Street Journal. 
  5. ^ "150 Most Powerful List". Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Ramnath Goenka Award Winners". Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "Chameli Devi Jain award conferred on Journalists". Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "About us and our team". http://www.algebratheclub.com. Algebra - official website. Retrieved 4 July 2018.  External link in |website= (help)