PARANJOY GUHA THAKURTA’s professional career started in June 1977 as a print journalist after he completed a Master’s degree in economics from the University of Delhi. His work experience, spanning more than four and a half decades, cuts across different mass media: the written word, the spoken word and the audio-visual medium—printed publications and websites, radio and podcasts, television, music videos and documentary cinema. He is a writer, speaker, anchor, interviewer, teacher, analyst/commentator, publisher, producer, director and consultant. Much of his work is in three languages: English, Bengali (his mother tongue) and Hindi.
He has published and been published in other languages as well. His main areas of interest are the working of the political economy in India and the world, and the mass media. He has authored/co-authored eight books, published more than 30 books, directed/produced more than 25 long documentary films/film series and several hundreds of short films/videos, including music videos. In particular, he examines the allocation and pricing of natural resources, the working of crony capitalism and oligarchies, and communications in India. He teaches and speaks on these subjects to students, general audiences and also trains aspiring—and working—media professionals.
As a member of the visiting faculty, he has been teaching a course on media and society at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad every year continuously for the last 19 years. He has taught in several other reputed educational institutions in India and other countries in the world. He participates frequently in, and organises, seminars/conferences. He is a regular contributor to publications and websites. He is featured on television channels and radio programmes as an anchor as well as an analyst/commentator. He is a consultant with the NewsClick portal. Details follow.
Born on October 5, 1955 he was educated at La Martiniere for Boys school in Kolkata (earlier Calcutta) (1964-1971); St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi (1972-75) and at the Delhi School of Economics (1975-77) in the same university from where he obtained his Master’s degree in economics.
He has been employed as a print journalist in various media organisations, including companies bringing out publications such as Business India, BusinessWorld, The Telegraph, India Today and The Pioneer. He worked with Television Eighteen (now Network 18) for around six years between 1995 and 2001 when he anchored a daily discussion programme called “India Talks” on the CNBC-India television channel. Between 2007 and 2013, he anchored two one-hour-long weekly programmes for Lok Sabha Television (the channel that was then owned and operated by the lower house of the Parliament of India). He has anchored programmes for other television channels as well.
He is (or has been) a visiting faculty member at reputed educational institutions including the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad (for 19 consecutive years), IIM Shillong (for five years) and IIM Calcutta (for four years). The title of the course he has designed and teaches at the IIM Ahmedabad is “Media and Society: Economics, Politics, Ethics and Technologies of Mass Communications.” He served as a visiting professor in the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Delhi, teaching a course on “Media and Society” to M.Phil. students, for three years (2010-13). He has spoken at, and participated in, seminars and conferences in educational and research institutions/organisations in different parts of India and the world. He was the founder director of the School of Convergence, a private educational institution, and served in it between April 2001 and March 2007.
He has written or co-authored eight books and has published over 30 books from April 2014 onwards, almost all of them in association with Authors UpFront. He has published or co-published seven websites. He has produced and directed over 25 long documentary films, some in a series (see lists below). He served as a member of the Press Council of India nominated by the University Grants Commission between January 2008 and January 2011. In April 2010, as a member of a two-member sub-committee of the Council, he co-authored a 36,000-word, 71-page report entitled “Paid News: How corruption in the Indian media undermines democracy.”
He has travelled widely in India and across the world. He has been an office-bearer and served on the boards of a number of Indian and international civil society organisations. He has worked as a consultant with various government, private and non-government organisations, as well as various United Nations organisations. He is a partner of Media Network of India, a firm engaged in the designing and creation of content for all media, contract publishing, training of media personnel, establishment of radio stations and other consulting assignments in the media. He served as the editor of the Economic and Political Weekly from April 2016 to July 2017.
He has been a consultant with the web portal Newsclick from May 2018 onwards. He is currently engaged in authoring/co-authoring/editing several books and producing/directing documentary films and music videos, over and above interviewing, speaking and writing on topics of current interest.