Journalism in India: interview with Meena Menon

Enio Moraes Júnior
6 min readJun 2, 2022
“Journalists are jailed for sedition, shot dead for doing their job and harassed in all kinds of ways”, she says. Photo: courtesy

Meena Menon is an independent Indian journalist and at present, a third-year PhD candidate at the University of Leeds, in the United Kingdom. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and a Master’s degree in English and French Literature from the University of Mumbai, in India. As an academic researcher, she focuses on social movements, history and leadership.

For 38 years, Menon has reported on politics, health, human rights and development issues. She has worked for Bombay Magazine, United News of India, Mid-day, The Times of India and The Hindu, which was her last job till 2015. She has taught media studies at the Xavier Institute of Communications (XIC) in Mumbai.

Menon is also the author of books such as A Frayed History: the journey of cotton in India (2017, with Uzramma), Reporting Pakistan (2017), Riots and After in Mumbai: chronicles of truth and reconciliation (2012), and The Unseen Worker: on the trail of the girl child (1998). Read more in the interview below.

Enio Moraes Júnior — India is a country full of contrasts and these contrasts can be both wonderful and cruel at times. Did they influence your decision to become a journalist?

Meena Menon — Thank you for this. Yes, in a way they did, though as a journalist one tends to look at the inequalities in society and write about that. I always liked reading and writing, which is also why I chose to study literature. So journalism was an extension of that, though the writing we did in the early days was very different in style. It is only in the last 20 years or so that writing styles have changed to reflect perhaps a more literary quality than merely providing news.

EMJ — What does the national press say about the country? What are the most relevant problems and which topics come up more frequently?

MM — I would like to clarify that the “national press” as you call it is not a homogenous entity. A lot of the television media tends to favor the government in power at the Center. There are critical and independent voices which are doing their job as the media, which is to question, and be critical of the government. I think the most important topic right now would be the situation of the media itself which is under threat. Journalists are jailed for…

Enio Moraes Júnior

Enio Moraes Júnior is a Brazilian journalist, researcher and professor. PhD in Communication Sciences at USP (Brazil), currently he lives in Berlin.