Introduction to Malayalam News Media
Malayalam is a language spoken in Kerala, the southern state that hugs the Arabian Sea. Keralites have a culture of high engagement with news media thanks high literacy and HDI figures.
Newspapers in Kerala in general have an anti-establishment stance no matter which government is in charge. This is not to say that the newspapers here don’t have its biases or partialities. All the papers in Kerala have their biases and leanings but this doesn’t come in the way of reporting serious stories that questions the government. Political Party owned newspapers are an exemption to this (yes they are another unique feature of Kerala’s print media).
All in all Kerala is blessed with a vibrant and commercially successful newspaper media industry. Kerala has the highest per capita newspaper readership in India. This has helped helped the newspaper dailies here gain high number subscription rates.
Two of the most popular Malayalam newspapers in Kerala, Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi, are both featured in the top 10 list of most subscribed Indian Newspapers. Other than Malayalam only Hindi and English has more than 1 newspaper in this list. This is more remarkable when you consider the fact that only around 3% of Indians can read and write Malayalam.
History of Print and Media.
Prior to reorganization of the states in India in 1956, Kerala was divided into three geopolitical segments. They are the Malabar district under British administration, and the princely states of Travancore in the south and Cochin in the central region. Kasaragod in Dakshin Kannada District also joined Kerala in 1956.
The first Malayalam book was printed in Rome by the Catholic Church in 1772. Missionaries in Kerala published evangelical newspapers. Some of these publications also featured general interest topic such are geology, zoology, climate and language studies. Basel Mission missionaries in particular were the forerunners in Malayalam print journalism with some of their members being credited with the modernization of Malayalam language itself. Rajya Samacharam a monthly written by Dr. Herman Gundert, a Basel Mission member,is an early example of journalism in Malayalam. Other organizations like the Carmelite Mission of Mary Immaculate (CMI) would also join the print sector in Kerala. CMI, an order within the Kerala’s Syro Malabar Catholic Church, and CMS (a protestant Missionary Organisation) have played a crucial role in the development of print media in Kerala. CMI started the Deepika Newspaper which exists to this day and is the oldest surviving newspaper in Kerala. C.M.S. Press established in 1821 in Kottayam is the first Malayalam printing press in Kerala.
Keralamitram was launched in 1881 from Kochi by Guajarati business man Devji Bhimji and was one of the first commercial newspapers in Malayalam. Devi Bhimji faced a lot administrative hassles including forced closure of his press and had to appeal to a British resident to help him convince the Cochin State authorities to give him permission. Kandathil Varghese Mappila was Keralamitram’s first editor. He later started the Malayalam Manorama newspaper a few years later. Kerala Patrika founded by Chengalath Kunhirama Menon is seen as the beginning of Malayalam journalism. Kerala Patrika featured articles oncurrent affairs, politics and literature.
From 1920 onwards Malayalam press saw rapid growth. The factors for this are as follows:
- World War 1
The events in Word War 1 created the necessity for news. Globalization process had reached a stage that great wars and events in Europe would affect the living conditions in Kerala’s villages. The Great War created a news hungry public.
- Social Reforms and Kerala’s Renaissance Movement.
From the late 19th century onwards the state of Kerala (at them time divided in to Malabar, Cochin and Travancore states) was experience rapid social developments and religious and community level reforms. Education access improved as a result beginning in 20th century and literacy started to rise. Social reforms also created a political active and conscious population even among the traditionally oppressed classes of people.
- Indian Independence Movement
During India’s independence struggle the importance of newspaper increased and this was realized by the leaders of the struggle. Mathrubhumi newspaper was started by a group of Independence leaders led by K.P Keshava Menon and became a focal point in freedom struggle. It became a voice of Indian Nationalism in Kerala’s Malabar district.
So what explains the huge popularity of news media in Kerala?
One of the above mentioned factors is Social Reforms. Social Reforms triggered political consciousness in people. This was a factor that enabled an atmosphere of accountability and dissent in which the Media could thrive and do its job the best.
Even the high literacy rate in Kerala that many people attribute as a reason for success of Kerala News industry is due to the social advancement brought in by society level reforms. Active and honest media reporting is one of the basic necessities in a society that is political empowered and objective. This has led to the high patronage of news media among the common people and high newspaper readership numbers across the small state in Southern India.
A. Print Media and Newspapers
A. Print Media and Newspapers.
Malayalam Newspapers enjoy huge sales and subscription rates in Kerala. All these newspapers have online news websites as well. A unique feature in Kerala’s newspaper sector is the presence of Political Party newspapers published by electoral Parties. Almost all the major Political Parties and even some of the minor ones have their own official mouthpiece daily newspapers. Another curious feature is the newspapers run by different religious organizations like RSS, Syro Catholic Church and various Muslim organisations. These papers aren’t religious in nature but for general people’s consumption regardless of faith. RSS’s newspaper doubles up as a BJP party newspaper.
The mid-day newspapers and evening dailies round out the rest of the newspaper sector and these are declining newspaper mediums due to increasing popularity of online and social media.
Malayala Manorama is the most widely read Malayalam newspaper in the world and biggest in Kerala in terms of circulation. It is based in Kottayam district in Central Kerala and is the second oldest active daily newspaper in Kerala.
Manorama is published from 11 districts in Kerala. It is printed from Kottayam, Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Thrissur, Kannur, Kollam, Palakkad, Malappuram, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha. It is also published in 5 cities outside Kerala in India namely, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi. In the Gulf region Manorama is printed and circulated in Dubai, Manama and Doha.
Malayala Manorama was founded by Mr. Kandathil Varghese Mappillai. The first edition came out on 22 March 1890 from M.D Seminary Press, Kottayam. At that time it was a four-page weekly newspaper, published only on Saturdays. Manorama increased its publishing frequency gradually and finally became a daily on 2 July 1928. For a long time in the 20th century Manorama remained the second biggest newspaper, behind the Calicut based Mathrubhumi. It was in the 1970s that Manorama emerged as the number 1 newspaper in Kerala in terms of circulation. They have held on to that position consistently ever since. Manorama is known for using cutting edge technology for newspaper printing an adopting the modern standards fast. This gave its papers a better feel and reader experience even if the actual written content wasn’t always the best.
After the death of Varghese Mappillai, his nephew, K. C. Mammen Mappillai took over as the editor. In 1938 Malayala Manorama was banned by the Travancore Government for writing against the Diwan of the Kingdom. The Editor, K. C. Mammen Mappillai himself was arrested. The ban on the newspapers also extended to other publications including Mathrubhumi but since it was published outside the Travancore state – Kozhikode in British ruled Malabar, it didn’t have to shut down their press
In 1973, K.M Mathews took over as the editor of Manorama in 1973 after the death of his father. He oversaw and directed the rapid transformation of the media publication. He undertook several modernisation drives which contributed to growth of the newspaper. Malayala Manorama has become a media giant today. They have TV news and entertainment channels as well as a music publication subsidiary.
Manorama Online is the news website of Malayala Manorama. It has both English and Malayalam versions.
Mathrubhumi is the second largest newspaper in Kerala and the second biggest Malayalam daily in the world.
It is headquartered in Calicut in North Kerala and has its roots in the Indian National movement. It was founded by freedom fighter and social activist K.P Keshava Menon along with a few of his close associates who were all in Indian National Congress. They registered the Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Company on 15th of February 1922. Mathrubhumi was first published on 18th of March 1923 — the day before the first anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s first by the British India police. It played a crucial role in the social reformation movements in Kerala like Vaikom Satyagraha and Guruvayur Satyagraha
Mathrubhumi started with just a single edition from Kozhikode. K. Madhavan Nair was the first managing director of Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Company. Initially Mathrubhumi was published thrice in a week – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and had only one edition which was published in Kozhikode (Calicut). It became a daily newspaper from 6th April, 1930 and the second edition of the newspaper started getting published on 25th May, 1962 from Kochi.
Mathrubhumi is fully owned by Mathrubhumi Printing & Publishing Private Limited. All the shares of Mathrubhumi Printing & Publishing Private Limited is divided among 384 individuals. But nearly 61% of the shares are held by the members of two distinct families consisting of 15 individuals. The remaining shares are held by the rest of the 369 individual shareholders.
Presently Mathrubhumi has sixteen editions in total – ten in Kerala, five in rest of India – New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai, and two editions in Middle East- Dubai and Doha. Mathrubhumi has grown into a formidable media and publication giant in Kerala. Mathrubhumi has become one of the biggest book publication houses in Kerala. They also publish several best-selling Malayalam Magazines, own a TV News channel and entertainment channels.
Mathrubhumi Online is the news website of Mathrbhumi. The website is available in both English and Malayalam versions. Mathrubhumi also has TV News and entertainment channels. You can access Mathrubhumi TV News channel live from their website also.
Madhyamam is a Malayalam daily newspaper that is based in Calicut. It is a publication that belongs to Jamaat-e-Islami Muslim organisation. Madhyamam Daily was started in 1987 from Silver Hills, Calicut where it is head quartered. Since then Madhyamam has seen tremendous growth in readership and is now the 4th biggest newspaper in Kerala. Madhyamam also has a TV channel called Media One. It is part of the big 4 in Malayalam newspaper business alongside older publications Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi, and Deshabimani.
Madhyamam has 10 editions in India including 3 outside Kerala. A huge segment of its readership resides in Middle Eastern countries where it has 9 editions in total. Madhyamam has the highest number of editions in the ME region compared to almost all other Indian newspapers. It has 4 editions in Saudi Arabia, one each from Dubai, Muscat, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar. In the Gulf region Madhyamam has tied up with Okaz Group from Saudi Arabia for publication and distribution and is published under the name Gulf Madhyamam. Madhyamam’s TV News channel is based in Calicut with its studio located in Silver Hills. Madhyamam’s news website that offers content in both Malayalam and English.
Madhyamam has won many awards for journalism. P.K. Prakash, a senior staff reporter of the paper, won the 23rd “Journalism for Human Rights” award given by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in 2003. MJ Babu, a reporter for Madhyamam, won “The Statesman Award” for the Best Rural Reporting” two times, – in1998 and in 2008. A reporter of Madhyamam won the Theruvath Raman Award 2006 instituted by the Calicut Press Club for his work “Super Chikiltsa, Hitech Kolla” (Super Treatment, Hitech Murder).
Kerala Kaumudi is a Malayalam daily newspaper. It was established in 1911 by C.V Kunhiraman who was a social reformer, and journalist. C.V Kunhiraman was a close follower of Sree Narayana Guru, the iconic Social reformer from Kerala. Starting a newspaper was a long-time dream of C.V and when Kerala Kaumudi was started he served as its editor, proof reader, printer and publisher.
Kerala Kaumudi expanded under the care of C. V’s son K Sukumaran. K Sukumaran was an iconic Malayalam writer and journalist. Kerala Kaumudi gained its brand image and stature while being under his leadership.
Today Kerala Kaumudi is one of the most recognised names among the Malayalam newspapers. The daily is published in 9 districts in Kerala. It is printed from Trivandrum, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur districts and also has an edition in the UAE.
Kerala Kaumudi Flash is a mid-day newspaper. It is published in 5 districts in Kerala and remains the most popular mid-day newspaper.
Kerala Kaumudi Online is the news website of Kaumudi daily. It was launched in 1997 and is one of the first news website in Malayalam from a major daily. Kaumudi online also have an English version of news website. Combined, both the English and Malayalam websites of Kaumudi attract a huge number of reading audience online.
Deepika is a Malayalam newspaper that belongs to the Syro Malabar Catholic Church. This is the biggest Christian church in Kerala. Technically speaking the control over the newspaper has been now with a public limited company called Rashtra Deepika Ltd in 1989 but the Church retains defacto control.
In 2004 the newspaper underwent through ownership troubles when the Church partially lost control over the paper due to mounting debts to an NRI businessman. The issue was resolved and control reverted back to Church by 2007.
Deepika has an illustrious history of over 125 years. It is the first newspaper from Kerala that is still in circulation.
Christian Churches have played a pioneering role in the proliferation of print media worldwide. In Kerala also it was no different. Deepika was first published by a Syrian Catholic priest, Nidhirikkal Manikkathanar. At that time the newspaper’s name was Nasrani Deepika, Nasrani being the name of the Syrian Christian community Kerala that formed the base of the Syro Catholic Church. From the very start itself the newspaper was run by the members of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI). CMI is a religious order within the Syrian Catholic Church.
Deepika is one of the first Malayalam newspapers to have a news website.
Deepika is also the first Malayalam newspaper to carry dedicated pages for sports and agriculture news.
Pope of Roman Catholic Church blessed the newspaper during his maiden visit to India in 1986.
Deepika has a sister publication called Rashtra Deepika that is an evening daily newspaper.
Suprabhaatham is daily Malayalam newspaper that is based in Kozhikode. It is owned by Kozhikode based Iqrau Publications Ltd which is controlled by the EK Group. EK Group is a faction within the Samastha Kerala which is the largest Sunni Muslim organisation in Kerala.
Some believe that there was politics behind the formation of Suprabhaatam.
AP Group and EK group are two rival factions within Samastha Kerala. Traditionally the AP Group leaned towards the Left Front (LDF) while EK Group were close allies of IUML in the UDF alliance (Right-Wing). However, it was observed that IUML was appearing to grow closer with the AP group while the IUML owned Chandrika newspaper started to neglect the EK faction. This provided encouragement in the EK Group to set up Suprabhaatham as an independent newspaper. The launch of Suprabhaatham may have been mired in group politics in Samastha Kerala and Kerala’s Party politics but the newspaper maintains good relationship with all political parties esp the IUML.
Suprabhaatam was a success upon the launch and claimed to receive 3.5 lakh subscriptions which placed it 3rd in the list of top newspapers in Kerala.
Suprabhaatham is published in 7 of the 14 districts in Kerala – Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur, Malappuram, Thrissur, Palakkad and Kochi.
Mangalam is a Malayalam daily newspaper. They are based in Kottayam.
Mangalam was founded by M.C. Varghese in 1969, as a monthly magazine. Initially the magazine had only 250 copies in circulation. Mangalam monthly magazine became weekly and circulation increased over the years and it became the top selling magazine in Kerala. Mangalam Newspaper was launched later by the same publication. Kottayam, where the newspaper was born, is the first district in India to report an 100% literacy. The rise of Mangalam was thus a parallel to the growth literacy of literacy in Kerala particularly Kottayam.
Mangalam at present has seven editions in Kerala. They are published in Kottayam, Kochi, Calicut, Trivandrum, Idukki, Kannur and Trissur. In addition to the newspaper and the weekly, Mangalam also publishes Kanyaka which is a women’s fortnightly, Arogya Manglam – a health magazine, children’s magazines – Balamangalam, Chithrakatha and Kalicheppu, Cinema Managlam, Jyothisha Bhooshanamwhich is an astrological fortnightly in Malayalam.
In 1990s Mangalam published reports about two Maldivian spies leaking critical information from the ISRO and this played a significant role in the subsequent ISRO spy case. The report and the case were however proved completely false and the court directed the State Government to pay compensation to the accused for the harassment caused to them.
Siraj Daily is a Calicut based Malayalam newspaper published by Thoufeeque Publication. It is headquartered in Calicut.
Thoufeeque publication comes under the control of AB Group which is under the leadership of influential Muslim cleric Kanthapuram A. P. Aboobacker Musliyar. AP Group is a minority faction within the leadership of Samastha Kerala. Samastha is the largest Sunni Muslim organisation in Kerala. AP Group traditionally leaned with the Left front in Kerala politics though they are also courted by the IUML and the UDF at times.
Siraj Daily is published from five districts in Kerala – Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kannur, Malappuram and Bangalore. They are also published in Dubai, Oman and Qatar. In 2010, Abu Dhabi police signed an MoU with Siraj Daily making the newspaper the police agency’s official media conduit with Indian community members in UAE.
Rashtra Deepika is the Malayalam evening newspaper from the house of Deepika daily. It is the largest selling evening daily in Kerala.
It was launched in Trissur on April 1992. Since then it has expanded to eight editions and claims to have over a million in readership today.
Rashtra Deepika belongs to the same family as Deepika Daily Newspaper. Deepika is one of the oldest newspapers in Kerala.
Just like its morning daily counterpart, Rashtra Deepika is owned and controlled by Catholic Syrian Church. The actual ownership of Rashtra Deepika and Deepika belongs to a company called Rasthra Deepika Ltd which is presently controlled by the Church. Rashtra Deepika also has other sister newspaper and publications like Business Deepika – Financial Magazine and Karshakam which is an agriculture magazine. Rashtra Deepika also has a news website in Malayalam.
Metro Vaartha is a small independent Malayalam newspaper. They also operate an English and Malayalam news website.
The unique feature of this daily is that it has a bilingual – English and Malayalam print edition that is published in three cities in Central India. It is published in Raipur, Bhopal and in Indore and caters to the Malayalam speaking Keralites who are settled in those cities. As of now Metro Vaartha is the only Malayalam newspaper that is published in Central India.
Metro Vaartha has Malayalam editions in 5 districts in Kerala. It is printed in Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Trissur, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram.
Kalakaumudi is a Malayalam daily newspaper and weekly political news magazine. Their magazine focuses on political news from Kerala and is very popular. The daily is published by Kalakaumudi Publications Private Limited. Kalakaumudi is published in Kollam, Trivandrum and Mumbai. It is the first Malayalam newspaper that was launched in Mumbai
Kalakaumudi’s news website is available in both Malayalam and English versions. Kalakaumudi has a mid-day newspaper called Big News. Big News is published from Trivandrum, Kollam, Allapuzha, Ernakulam and Kozhikode.
Kalakaumudi was started by M. S. Mani. He was the eldest son of K. Sukumaran and grandson of K.V Kunjiraman who founded the Kerala Kaumudi daily. Kalakaumudi thus has direct connections with Kerala Kaumudi but is actually under the administration and distribution of a separate company. Founder of Kalakaumudi, M.S. Mani himself was the chief editor of Kerala Kaumudi also and was well known for his journalism exploits.
Kalakaumudi is based in Kumarapuram, Thiruvananthapuram.
Sudinam is Malayalam local newspaper published from Kannur. It is published daily and caters only to residents of Kannur district in Kerala. Sudinam’s main office is located at Fort Road, near to the heart of Kannur city. They have an online news website called Sudhinam Online. Sudinam also publishes e-paper online.
Sathyadeepam is a newspaper published by Syro Catholic Church’s Ernakulam-Angamali Arch Diocese. It is an official mouth piece of the arch diocese and a religious newspaper. The newspaper however carries out socio-political commentary in the paper esp on matters concerning the members of the diocese and the Catholic Church in Kerala. Sathyadeepam was founded by Mar Augustine Kandathil in 1926.
B. Political Party Newspapers.
These newspapers are basically print publication and media publications that are owned or controlled by Political parties of Kerala. In Kerala they are colloquially known as Party Pathram or Party Newspapers. Kerala is one of the first states in India to have this culture of party newspaper publications. These newspapers continue to have high subscription and readership numbers and are seen expressing the official viewpoints of the party it represents. Opinion and think pieces published in some of these newspapers are highly read and discussed in Kerala’s political and news circles.
Deshabhimani is one of the first party newspapers in Kerala and they heralded this trend of political parties having newspaper publication of their own. Now in Kerala all major political parties have newspapers of their own. Congress, CPM, CPI, BJP, IUML, SDPI all own and operate a news publication medium. This tendency also extends to TV medium to a certain extent.
Deshabhimani is a Malayalam newspaper that is working as the mouthpiece of the Kerala State Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). This newspaper has the third biggest readership in Kerala after Manorama and Mathrubhumi. Deshabhimani headquarters is in Kochi. The most popular supplements of this newspaper includes the Deshabhimani Varanthappathippu, Aksharamuttam, Sthree, Kilivaathil, Thozhil and a few others.
For the Communist Parties, media, newspaper in particular has long been an area of focus. They have recognized the importance the media can play in shaping the community opinion. Newspapers were thus used by the Party to propagate its views and talk about issues that the corporate or privately owned media entities didn’t bring to the public attention.
In Kerala, the first communist newspaper was Prabhatham. Prabhatham was started by members of Congress Socialist Party (the left bloc within Indian National Congress) in January 1935. It was however banned by the British administration soon after its launch. The newspaper was relaunched in 1938 and but was again banned when World War 2 broke out.
In 1942, the Communist party of India launched Deshabimani. Veteran communist leaders like A K Gopalan and E M S Namboodiripad (later became the first CM of Kerala) spend great efforts to start this newspaper. In fact EMS donated his entire ancestral property to the party to help fund Deshabhimani’s launch.
Control of Deshabhimani shifted to CPIM in 1964 after the original undivided CPI spilt into CPI and CPI-M. After the split CPI started using Janayugom as the party’s official newspaper while Deshabhimani went to CPI-M.
Janmabhumi is a Malayalam newspaper that is the official mouth-organ of Bharathiya Janata Party. Predecessor of BJP was Jana Sangh under whose authority the paper was originally launched. Janmabhoomi thus frequently publishes the opinion and views of RSS members and those aligned to Sangh Parivar umbrella of organisations. Janmabhumi means birthplace in Malayalam language.
In 1968, at the state council of the Jana Sangh it was decided that the party needed an official mouthpiece to propagate its message among the people. On April 1975 Janmabhumi was launched as an evening tabloid paper from Kozhikode. P. Narayananwas the first Chief Editor, P. V. K. Nedungadi was its first editor, Dathathreya Rao was the publisher and printer.
The newspaper had to cease publication during the National emergency of 1977 after the arrest of the editor and publisher. In 1977 November the newspaper resumed publication and was launched from Ernakulam also. In 1987 Ayodhya Printers Pvt Ltd, which had photo composing and offset printing machinery, was established by the newspaper at Elamakkara in Kochi. The printing of the Janmabhoomi was shifted to this new location soon after that.
Janmabhoomi is published from 8 districts in Kerala and also in one city outside Kerala which is Bangalore.
The news website of Janmabhoomi is called Janmabhumi Online, was inaugurated in 2008 by spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living, Sri. Sri. Ravi Shankar.
Chandrika Daily is a Malayalam daily newspaper that is owned by the Muslim printing and publishing company. They are basically a newspaper that is a party mouthorgan of the political party IUML based in North Kerala which is a close ally of Indian National Congress. Chandrika is one of the older newspapers in Kerala and was established in 1934. It was established in Thalasseri in present day Kannur district but its first edition was from Kozhikode in 1936. The newspaper because of its long existence and political association has an illustrious history. Infact former Kerala CM and one of the tallest political leaders in the state, C.H. Mohammed Koya, served as the chief editor of Chandrika at one point of time. Another famous politician directly associated with the paper was former Union Minister Mr. E. Ahamed who worked as its reporter once upon a time.
Chandrika Daily celebrated its Platinum Jubilee in January 2011. Today it is published from 6 centres in Kerala – Kozhikode, Kannur, Malappuram, Kochi, Trivandrum, Kottayam, and overseas in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Bahrain.
Janayugom is a Communist Party Newspaper in Kerala. It is CPI mouth piece. CPI is the smaller of the two main communist parties in Kerala. Janayugom was founded in 1947 at Kollam. Initially it was a weekly magazine. N. Gopinathan Nair, a senior CPI member was its first editor and he helped convert the magazine into a daily newspaper. In 1964 there was a split in the CPI and most of the members left it to form CPM. CPI, as a result, also lost the control of Deshabimani. Janayugom became the CPI’s official newspaper after those events.
Janayugom faced financial troubles in the later decades and stopped print edition of its daily newspaper. In 2007 the daily print edition was relaunched. Janayugom has a news website by the name of Janayugom Online.
Thejas News is a news website based in Calicut. It is published by Intermedia Publishing Ltd a public limited company that is under the control of Popular Front of India (PFI). Thejas and is thus seen as a PFI mouthpiece.
Thejas previously had a daily newspaper published in 5 districts in Kerala and overseas editions published in Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia but the print operations were completely closed in December 2018.
Thejas came under scanner of law enforcement for publishing seditious content and also content that cause “disunity” in the society. Because of this the Kerala government stopped putting government advertisements in the newspaper which caused revenue losses. A direct result of this was that the print edition of Thejas was stopped. Thejas continues as active news website publishing reports in Malayalam.
C . Online News Websites.
News media websites have been rising steadily in Malayalam media landscape since 2000. It was the already existing newspapers companies that took the lead in setting up news websites. Initially the progress was slow because the internet penetration was low and unaffordable for the large majority.
After 2001 the Government of India liberalised the telecom sector. The computer education also increased in the meantime while mobile phones became cheaper leading to increasing access to online news medium for people. Since 2010, the growth in popularity and reach of news websites has outpaced all other mediums. The rise of social media has also helped this process. In the past 10 years there is a significant rise in dedicated online only media publication that doesn’t operate a print division. Marunadan Malayali is a good example of that. Other names also include Azhimukam, East Coast Daily and ProKerala. The one major complaint about these websites has been its poor quality original news content. Azhimukam is however is trying to change that impression by merging quality news and analysis contents with online media.
Online news websites are a crucial and rapidly evolving sector of Malayalam media as more and people migrate to online from print newspapers. It will be interesting to see the direction these Malayalam news websites take in the coming years.
Marunadan Malayali is a popular online news media. They operate a Malayalam news portal and YouTube channel. Marunadan was founded in 2007 and has become famous for its viral news format.
Marunadan has gradually come to be a symbol of a new generation of Malayalam Media. But they have run into a lot of controversies for the nature of its coverage and lack of professionalism. Lax adherence to ethical journalism particularly in recent years has led to Marunadam losing its credibility it had built for itself earlier. They have been accused of publishing fake or misleading news and sensationalism.
Another issue the Marunadan is accused of is the politically biased nature of its coverage.
Azhimukham is a Malayalam news website. It’s a modern media platform that focuses on high quality reports and think pieces or opinion articles.
Azhimukham is based in New Delhi and was founded by Priya Solomon.
Azhimukham is one of its kind example in Kerala’s digital media space. They have a strict adherence to Journalism ethics, and they produce high quality and academically rigorous reports on various topics. Azhimukham seeks to address the problems triggered by the growth of digital journalism such as decline in the journalism standards. They combine the internationally accepted standards and style of Journalism with Malayalee and Keralite sensibilities.
Azhimukham has a YouTube page where they publish small news videos also.
Asianet News is a Malayalam news website that is part of the Asianet News Network (ANN). It’s a subsidiary of Bangalore based Jupiter Entertainment and also owns other media properties such as Suvarna News and Kannada Prabha.
Asianet is one of the most popular names in Malayalam News sector for the following reasons.
- Asianet is one of the earliest private news TV channel in Malayalam. All other private news channels including the ones by prestigious news outlets like Manorama and Mathrubhumi came much later. For many years Asianet was the only option for Malayalam news in TV.
- Asianet came into existence as a private Satellite and Cable TV provider and for majority of the households in Kerala Asianet was the pathway to TV itself.
- Today Asianet brand exists in not just in News sector but also in general entertainment media sector, broadband, Cable TV etc. Asianet brand is used in multiple general entertainment channels in Malayalam. Interestingly all these doesn’t come under one ownership – Three different business group owns Asianet branded properties that have no other connection with each other.
Asianet News started in 2001 as a TV channel founded by Sashi Kumar and Reji Menon. The control over the firm was later shifted to Raheja Group due to a financial crunch at Asianet. In 2006 Jupiter Entertainment under the leadership of Rajeev Chandrashekar, a Malayalee Businessman based in Bangalore, took control of Asianet News with a 51% stake in the company. Between 2008 and 2013 a series of mergers and stake sales happened at Asianet at the end of which Jupiter Entertainment secured full control over Asianet News. Walt Disney Company owned Star Networks purchased the general entertainment channels such as Asianet Plus which it owns to this day. Asianet News has Kannada, Tamil, Hindi and English new websites in addition to the Malayalam version. Asianet Newsable is the name of the English news website.
ProKerala is a popular English news website based in Kerala. It is owned by IT Company Ennexa Technologies Pvt. Ltd which is based in Kottayam. Prokerala is a news aggregator website with most of the news carried by it being sourced from news agencies (wire agencies) like IANS (Indo-Asian News Service).
Even though it is based in Kerala and even carries the name of the state in its title, ProKerala doesn’t focus much on news from Kerala. It carries national and international news. It focuses on carrying news that are viral and appeals to a big mass of people. But ProKerala has a Kerala specific news tab or column where the IANS stories related to Kerala are published.
Kairali News Online
Kairali News Online is a Malayalam news website that is part of the Kairali Media network. Kairali Media belongs to Communist Party of India (Marxist). It was launched in 2000 to act as the voice of the party in the fast emerging TV news medium. It is based in Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital of Kerala.
Kairali Network also consists of general entertainment TV channels. Kairali News Online publishes news only in Malayalam language. Kairali Online News does live broadcast of their news channel through their YouTube channel.
Times of India Samayam – Malayalam
Times of India Samayam is a Malayalam news portal that is part of Times Group. Specifically Samayam is a part of the Times Internet Subsidiary of Bennet Coleman and Co.
Samayam means Time in Malayalam language.
Times of India which is the biggest newspaper in India and English daily, is the flagship paper of this group. Times Group doesn’t have any other news media subsidiary doing content in Malayalam language. Samayam can be seen as significant move from the media giant, a possible testing of grounds before a bigger expansion. A few decades back Times of India tried to acquire Mathrubhumi which is a Malayalam media giant and the 2nd largest Malayalam new paper. That move was countered by a campaign by the communist party which rallied the general readers in Kerala against such a move. Samayam also have a Tamil news variant.
Malayalam Express is a news website based in Trivandrum, Kerala. This is a full-fledged news website featuring relevant news to Keralites and breaking news updates from all over the country.
They also have a sister website called Malayalam Express TV which hosts videos news reports and opinion snippets. Malayalam Express TV’s videos are hosted in YouTube. Videos of Malayalam Express TV focus on explaining the trending news reports of the days and give their own opinion on it.
Malayalam Express TV also has a short one paragraph long news report.
East Coast Daily
East Coast Daily is a Malayalam news website that got started on December 31, 2011. It is part of the East Coast group of companies that also consists of a music label, car rental business and movie production house.
The goal of East Coast was to create an online daily news portal in Malayalam with 24 hours News and international coverage. East Coast Daily also has an English News website through which it delivers a lot of Middle East related news and Indian national news. East Coast Company was established in UAE as a music-audio company that published non-filmi song albums. The company expanded to film music sectors and is now an established name in Malayalam film industry. The company got its name “East Cost” from the beautiful Eastern Coast region of UAE where emirates of Fujairah and Sharjah are situated.
Times Kerala is a Thiruvanthapuram based Malayalam news website. It is owned and published by Times Web Media. It is published from Kesavadasapuram near Pattom in Trivandrum.
This website features a local news section titled “Nattuvartha” that features news from all the districts in Kerala. Times Kerala also encourages its readers to give them tips and news reports from each of their localities. This feature enables Times Kerala to scale its coverage very significantly.
Sathyam Online is a Malayalam news portal. It features latest news reports, and fast updates of news in Kerala.
Sathyan Online features various good quality opinion columns that cover the length and breadth of the current affairs and Kerala Society. They have a neat and modern looking website. Sathyam Online is one of the first Malayalam news website with a dedicated edition for the world news.
Oneindia Malayalam was formerly known as ThatsMalayalam.com. It was started in 2000 by B.G Mahesh. It was part of a series of vernacular language news websites offered by Oneindia. Later the website was renamed into Oneindia Malayalam and today it is part of the main Oneindia platform while continuing to offer Malayalam news content.
Webdunia Malayalam is a Malayalam news website that is part of the Webdunia media platform. Webdunia is a popular Indian news website that offers state and national news in several languages and for several states. Webdunia Malayalam caters to Kerala audience and delivers news updates from across the state and some of the national news as well.
Kerala Online News
Kerala Online News is a Malayalam news media website. It is owned and operated by Bisan Media Private Limited. This news website is based in Kannur in North Kerala. Kerala News Media is accredited by the Government of Kerala, Information & Public Relation Department. It has three offices in India – two bureaus in Trivandrum and Bangalore, and the head office in Kannur.
Kerala Online News features a lot of local news from Malabar region in North Kerala while also providing coverage to important state and national news.
Janam TV is a Malayalam news website and TV channel that is closely aligned to the Bharathiya Janatha Party. Hence they can be considered as the mouth piece of the party in TV news media. Indian film director, Priyadarshan, is the chairman of Janam TV. Janammeans people in Malayalam language.
Janam TV was inaugurated by ‘Art of Living’ founder Sri Sri Ravishankar on April 2015. It is the first news channel and so far the only one with a Sanskrit news bulletin in Kerala. The news website is purely in Malayalam. Janam TV is the youngest channel to hit the number 1 ranking in TV viewership rates in Kerala and their website is fairly popular. Janam TV news website features long form articles and opinion articles in addition to day to day reports. The website also features a page for live viewing of Janam TV’s news channel.
Daily Indian Herald
Daily Indian Herald is a Malayalam news website. Daily Indian Herald caters to Keralites living abroad. They also have a video news service called Herald News TV that is hosted in Youtube. This news website has over the years build up decent readership numbers and has good popularity in social media esp Facebook.
E – Vartha
E – Vartha is a Malayalamnews website. It operates from Trivandrum. E – Vartha is team by a team of young personals with good technical background.
It is recognised by Government of Kerala as a media entity and included in the state media list. It is part of the Digital News Media Federation Kerala, an association of news portal organisations included in the media list of Kerala government. E- Vartha website presents an attractive and eye catching interface. They are present in various social media platforms including Instagram, Telegram, Facebook, and Twitter. They also have a Youtube channel for showing video news bulletins.
Big News Live
Big News is a Malayalam news portal based in Trissur, Kerala. It is part of the Bigsoft Group that also runs several other online media websites. Big News Live is the flagship news website of Bigsoft. They operate several other news websites including Big News Malayalam and Business Zoom.
Big News Malayalam and Big News Live are closely related but the fundamental difference is that Big News Live focus on a wider topic range that includes national news and entertainment updates.
Anweshanam is a Malayalam news website. It is part of the ANN News Network.
ANN News is a multilingual media group with news websites in different Indian languages catering to different states. Answeshnan thus have sister publications in Assamese, Bengali, Punjabi, Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Kannda, Gujarati and Marathi.
Anweshanan in Malayalam means the investigation.
K-Vartha is an independent Malayalam news media based in Kasaragod. They specialises in hyper local news from Kerala. Vartha means news in Malayalam.
K-Vartha started out as a news website for Kasaragod district exclusively called Kasaragod Vartha. Later the team decided to expand to state, national and international news and launched K-Vartha. Now K-Vartha has news websites dedicated to Kannur and Malappuram Districts namely Kannur Vartha and Malappuram Vartha. They are mentioned in the excellence in media list of Govt. of Kerala (under Information & Public relation Dept). K- Vartha has a weekend print edition that is published every Saturdays.
Kasargod Vartha is a Malayalam news website that is based in Kasargod district northern most part of the Kerala state. As the name suggests Kasargod Vartha specialises in the local news in and around Kasaragod District and caters to the population of Kasargod and Canara Region (Dakshin Kannada District in Karnataka). Vartha means news in Malayalam language. K-Vartha is the sister entity of Kasaragod Vartha.
Puzha is an online media platform targeting Malayalam literature and news. Puzha was founded in 2000 near IIT Bombay and later moved to Aluva in Kerala. Originally it was an online self-publishing platform that hosted user generated Malayalam literary content. At that time a person needed technical knowledge in HTML design language and web formatting to self-publish. Puzha helped users in this aspect by providing a publication platform for Malayalam writers. Puzha later collaborated with DC Books (the largest book publisher and retailer in Kerala) to launch an online book store. Puzha.com features general news reports, news reports related to NRIs and Literature news.
Saghavu Online is a Malayalam Political news website. They are based in Trissur and they focus on political news and updates. They provide a decent coverage on the policies in power centres across the world. Saghavu Online coverage is mostly non-partisan and engages with global activities but naturally focused on Kerala Politics.
Saghavu Online is owned by Bigsoft Group. Bigsoft Group also owns other media websites like Big News Live.
Filimibeat Malayalam is a popular film news website. Filmibeat is an entertainment news website of One India. One India is itself a part of Dailyhunt Group which is a major news distribution mobile platform in India.
Filmibeat has got websites in various languages including Malayalam. In the Malayalam version they concentrate on giving Mollywood news. Mollywood is the popular nickname of Malayalam Film Industry. Mollywood is the primary film industry that is based in Kerala and produces mostly Malayalam films. Filmibeat also has websites in other languages like Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, English and Kannada. Mollywood news is also published in English version of Filmibeat.
Even as the popular dailies of Malayalam such as Mathrubhumi and Manorama rake in high subscription sales and readership numbers, the Malayalam media industry is not without challenges. The advancement of internet and social media has brought with it new problems and technological challenges. Almost all the major media in Kerala face the issue of making sense of Kerala’s media houses have been a bit slow in adopting the digital standards or leverage social media but now they seem to be making up for lost ground. Conversely the Internet medium has provided an opportunity for smaller players to gain significant viewership. Marunadan Malayali is a good example of this. But in the digital journalism in Malayalam, complaints of lack of quality exist. Even reputed newspapers like Manorama and Mathrubhumi have come up short because they are still TV and newspaper focused.
Azhimukam is a rare, perhaps the only example of a digital and online only media publication that has an exclusive focus on high quality reporting and analysis in Malayalam. It remains to be seen how viable it is for Azhimukam to proceed with this strategy. Unlike the national media, the regional newspapers are financially better off and this is especially the case in Kerala for the top 4 or5 newspapers. But the long term prospects for the newspaper industry aren’t that bright. The future of the media industry especially the print publications depends on how well they can leverage online platforms for readership reach and monetisation.
While Malayalam media figures out a way through the new reality of media platforms we at MediaBuzz are working hard to provide an encyclopaedic coverage of all the news sources in print and online platforms. We are a team of professional writers with a knack for the trends in the world of journalism. Please help us with your answers for the below questions in the comment section.
- What are the top five Malayalam newspapers?
- What are the top five Malayalam newspapers?
- Have we missed any important newspaper or news website from Kerala in this list?
- What are your views on the political inclinations of different Malayalam newspapers?
- Which are the top three politically neutral newspapers from Kerala?
- What are the best Malayalam newspapers for business, entertainment and sports news?
- Is there any particular media outlet in Kerala that caught your imagination?
- What are some of the innovations by Malayalam media in the recent years.
- Do you have any other information related to Malayalam newspaper landscape?
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