Declining readership of Urdu newspapers

Readers of Hamara Samaj, the well known Urdu daily of the capital would have been amused to find the same news repeated on two subsequent days. The newspaper on its issues dated 9th May and 10th May had the same “Delhi Shahar” page. It meant that all the news content of the third page of the newspaper on 9th May was repeated the next day.

Hamara Samaj was considerate enough to come out with a clarification on May 11th for the mistake. However, the point is that this is not the first instance of such a fault in the Urdu dailies. Often, news reports and pages get duplicated. Facts get twisted and reports are highly opinionated. These are perhaps some of the reasons for the depleting readership of Urdu newspapers. The Indian Readership Survey points out that the readership of Urdu Times and Inquilaab, two leading Urdu dailies of Mumbai was 6.2 lakh and 8.3 lakh respectively in 2007. In 2008, their readership has come down to 4.6 lakh and 8.1 lakh respectively.

Inqulaab, claims to be India’s leading Urdu daily established in 1938. (Mid Day Multimedia Ltd.)

Even though most of the newspapers consist of only about eight pages, the major part of the first and the last page is devoted to provocative advertisements. Hamara Samaj on 11th May carried an advertisement on its first page covering almost half the page. It had the picture of Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav and aratiya Janta Party president Rajnath Singh treating each other with sweets.

The headline was: Congratulations!

The words were thus: “Are SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav and BJP president Rajnath Singh exchanging sweets to celebrate the demolition of Babri Masjid?

To be continued..