New Delhi: Retaining more than 20 per cent news space in major newspapers, COVID-19 remains the hot topic for the month of September 2021. A report by ICCPL-IBRF monthly highlighted that the NDMA along with the Planning Commission of India has urged the GOI and PMO, MHRD, to reimpose a lockdown in India for a period of 46 days starting from September 25th.

ICCPL, the leading PR & Communication consultancy firm from India and in-house developed research team under the name of IBRF, comes out with the media mapping report that concentrates on the newsmakers every month.

The report mentioned UK government’s move to treat fully vaccinated Indians as unvaccinated, which was the talking point in September; in fact, India has called the UK government’s step a “discriminatory policy” and indicated that it has the right to take reciprocal action. Including such news, COVID-19 related news got 20-28% space to the Global pandemic. Compared to October, when the coverage was between 20-25%, there was a slight increase in the percentage. The maximum space was given by Business Standard (28%) followed by Amar Ujala (26%). Space given by other major dailies was: Times of India (20%), Hindustan Times (23%), The Hindu (23%), The Indian Express (25%), Economic Times (24%), and Dainik Jagran (25%).

The next space grabber was the news related to Punjab turmoil where infighting in Congress became the hot topic all over news portals and social media. The turmoil in the state unit was followed by the news that Charanjit Singh Channi replaced Captain Amarinder Singh as the chief minister; he also became Punjab’s first Dalit-Sikh chief. The news got 15% space in Times of India, 11% in Hindustan Times, 14% in The Hindu, 12% in The Indian Express, 12% in Dainik Jagran, and 12% space in Amar Ujala.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairing the annual summit of BRICS leaders also hogged the limelight in September. Prime Minister Modi made a strong intervention in favour of a “transparent investigation” into the pandemic’s origins, a subject China has been sensitive about. Despite the COVID-19 situation this year, more than 150 BRICS meetings and events were organised with over 20 ministerial-level. A BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group was launched and the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Strategy was adopted last year under the Russian Presidency, which includes, amongst other things, collaborating on intelligence, pursuing the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (a priority for India), mitigating terrorist financing and more.

Then we had IPL catching people’s attention followed by the news on real estate that saw the Supreme Court ordering demolition of the twin 40-storey towers of Supertech’s Emerald Court project in Noida for violation of building by-laws. Overall, real estate got 6-14% space in newspaper – Amar Ujala (8%), Dainik Jagran (6%), Economic Times (14%), Business Standard (10%), The Indian Express (6%), The Hindu (8%), Hindustan Times (8%), and Times of India (8%).

“The fight with Coronavirus is still going on, and this reflects in the high percentage of news space share. However, the month also saw other big events such as Raj Kundra’s bail, the death of the president of All India Akhara Parishad Mahant Narendra Giri,etc. Our effort is to bring in a short reminder of what happened each month; the report aims to help the communication people understand the value of their efforts in handling clients related to various industries. We will keep improving and hope that people get insight from the report,” says Kartik Chawla, the research head for IBRF Global – International Brand & Research Forum.