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Eight years ago, Hardnews was conceived as a reaction to the dumbing down that was taking place in the mainstream media. Newspapers, magazines and television were celebrating trivia and giving precedence to lifestyle and fluff. It was (and continues to be) a phase of terrible political and social decline, with stunning mediocrity and celebrity success replacing aesthetic refinements, deeper intellectual pursuits and cultural high points. The big picture had become shallow and metro-centric. Hence the urge and need for hard news. Hardnews had no pretensions to compete with what was called the “jute press” of the yore or the new money that is showing up in scores of TV channels or media outlets, since it does not have the funds to match their reach. Unmindful of its obvious limitations, it has, however, tried to give expression to old-fashioned public-spirited journalism that is angry, adversarial and irreverent. Search of truth is the lodestar for us, even if at times it is seen as unpopular and controversial. Hardnews believes that tough, unsparing oversight of the government and other political and economic power centres is critical for the deepening of democracy. It believes fervently in giving ‘mainstream’ space and voice to those people who are shouted down, who constitute the silent scaffolding of the pluralist, secular Indian ethos at the vast margins. Hardnews is entirely owned and run by media professionals and has no support of a corporate house or a political party. Central to its existence is the search to find ways and means to sustain an independent media in these difficult times. Hardnews magazine and its new website are put together by media professionals who are conscious of smart design elements, responsible, original and quality writing. Many reckon it is one of the best-designed magazines in the country. We have had a galaxy of eminent writers, including Indian, South Asian and western academics, policy-experts and seasoned journalists. In the coming days, we hope to network with a global network of veteran and new, old and young writers, journalists, thinkers, academics,artists and activists and others who are fighting injustice at different levels. It will explore new, in-depth intellectual limits, and push the threshold beyond the comfort zones of political, social and cultural conformity — stuff that no one wants to touch. Hardnews is the South Asian partner of Le Monde Diplomatique, Paris and Newsline Magazine, Pakistan
The February issue of Hardnews dwells on the ongoing political turmoil in the Maldives, looks at the crackdown initiated by President Abdulla Yameen against dissenters and scrutinises the funds coming in from China in the form of big-ticket projects.