Splainer

Tuesday, September 22 2020


Dive In

[Walmart and Oracle] are going to have total control of it. They are going to own the controlling interest. And then I guess they are going public and they are buying out the rest of it, they are buying out a lot. If we find that they don't have total control, then we are not going to approve the deal.

That’s President Donald Trump doing his best to add to the reigning confusion over TikTok. The problem: No one knows who will own the soon-to-be-formed TikTok Global. First, Oracle executives claimed “Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global.” Then ByteDance issued a statement insisting that it will keep an 80% stake in the company. Now, Trump is threatening to ban the app all over again. Sigh! Illustration: Parth Savla

Big Story

A rising threat to Indian journalism

The TLDR: India has never been a hospitable space for journalism. But over the course of this year—while we’ve been distracted by the pandemic—it has become increasingly risky to write or say anything critical of the government (state or union). No one is safe, be it a Vinod Dua or Rajdeep Sardesai—unless you are a right-leaning website or channel.

 

First, a few quick stats

India is ranked 142 out of 180 on the global press freedom index. We slipped two places this year. The Committee to Protect Journalists placed us at the bottom of its list of countries with the worst record of bringing killers of journalists to justice—for the 12th time this year. The Coalition of Women in Journalism documented 145 threats and intimidation against women journalists from January 2020 to April 2020 around the world. India was #3 on that list. The good news: No journalist was killed last year. 


When the global press freedom index was released this year, Information Minister Prakash Javadekar promised: “[W]e will expose, sooner than later, those surveys that tend to portray bad picture about ‘Freedom of Press’ in India.”

 

This is sedition!

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In today’s edition

Headlines that Matter

  • Indian military breaks a few glass ceilings
  • Twitter has a ‘race’ recognition problem
  • The farm bill uproar: A quick update
  • The new hot pandemic pastime: ‘flights to nowhere’
  • A special Emmy treat

 

Smart and Curious

  • The “wildest looking” smartphone of 2020 
  • The narrowest house in London is selling for just $1.4 mn
  • Say hello to AIR—it isn’t a face mask or shield, but a fully sealed helmet
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