Telugu newspaper branded as the heartbeat of Telangana will roll off the presses on Monday, seeking to galvanize the region’s campaign for separation from Andhra Pradesh and to provide a platform for activists who complain the mainstream media is biased against the cause of Telangana statehood.
Namaste Telangana will start with a print run of 750,000 copies across seven editions, said Katta Shekar Reddy, chief executive officer of Telangana Publications Pvt. Ltd. The daily—a 12-page broadsheet with a 16-page tabloid supplement containing local news—will have 800 employees including 210 journalists, he said. It will be priced at Rs.3 on weekdays and Rs.3.50 on Sundays—the same as the cover price of the most read paper in the state, Eenadu.
A brainchild of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K. Chandrasekhara Rao, Namaste Telangana is seeking to piggyback on the political movement being spearheaded by the TRS for the creation of a state out of the region, home to 35 million people.
In Hyderabad, public buses have been emblazoned with the slogan Telangana gunde chappudu (Telangana’s heartbeat) as the publishers and staff prepare for the newspaper’s first edition inside a four-storey building on Road No. 10, Banjara Hills.
It will be the latest entrant in a crowded industry that already has seven Telugu mainstream newspapers competing for readership and advertising. Eenadu, Sakshi, Andhra Jyothi, Vaartha, Andhra Bhoomi, Andhra Prabha and Prajasakti have a combined average issue readership in excess of 14 million, according to the Indian Readership Survey for the fourth quarter of 2010.
“There is no newspaper that supports the Telangana cause,” Shekar Reddy said on Thursday in his third-floor office. “We need a paper to support the cause and to rejuvenate our culture, history and social traditions.” The mainstream media, dominated by publishers from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, is biased against the Telangana movement, said Shekar Reddy, a 23-year journalism veteran who moved to the newspaper from Mahaa TV, although he didn’t cite specific instances of this bias. The media tends to “belittle” the movement and Telangana leaders, he said.
News developments in the state have been seen through “the eyes of the Seemandhra (coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema) media” because Telangana has lacked a newspaper to promote the region and its interests, he said, adding: “Now we want to show our own picture of issues.” Read More