Ashima Ohri

A business economist, lawyer, and writer.

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In Conversation with Tarun Nangia, Anchor, Legally Speaking, NewsX

In a freewheeling chat with Ashima Ohri, Managing Editor, BW Legal World, Nangia talks about his illustrious journey, mentors, gaps in the legal system, media trials, stumbling blocks to responsible journalism and much more in this exclusive interview.

Tarun, would you please tell us where did this illustrious journey begin and how did you navigate into legal journalism? 

I was always interested in having conversations and gaining knowledge. My work is an extension of what I like. Specifically, the first brush with legal journalism is embedded in my early days doing interviews on the Abdul Karim Telgi stamp paper case, it was a very interesting case. The early interactions with lawyers, judicial officers, police officers and staff and common people provided a good grounding. Then of course the 2G case, coal block allocation case greatly shifted my attention to the importance of courts in impacting society and business. However, I would still recognize myself as a person who enjoys having conversations with lawyers and judges and knowing from them more than anything else.... Legally Speaking with Tarun Nangia emerged out of all these experiences...  

Who have been your guiding North Stars and the biggest inspiration in this journey? 

Thomas Babington Macaulay, Sir James Stephen, Richard Wellesley, Lord Cornwallis, Mukul Rohatgi, Dr. Abishek Manu Singhvi, Raian Karanjawala, Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, Justice Suryakant, Justice Nariman, Parag Tripathi, Justice Chandrachud, Tom Bingham and their journey has inspired me.     

Would you please tell us more about Legally Speaking? 

Legally Speaking with Tarun Nangia is essentially about conversations with eminent lawyers, judges, arbitrators, law officers. We discuss every issue be it judgments, or even issues like transfer and appointment of judges or law officers. Then we have done series like Up, Close and Personal, Biography series, where I have done video biographical interviews of eminent individuals like Mukul Rohatgi, Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Raian Karanjawala, Karnal Singh, Arun Jaitley : Life & Times (with Mukul Rohatgi & Raian Karanjawala),  

You are both a legal influencer and a-fly-on-the-wall journalist that accords you a very holistic view of the legal industry. What then would you say are the gaps in our legal system that need more attention.  

My job is to ask questions and I leave it to the legal heavyweights to highlight these issues as I genuinely feel my job is to get the best opinions and recommendations from them while doing my interviews.  

But generally I would like to see world class courtrooms that resemble corporate offices like the ones you see in Gurgaon, Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad. Then, i would like to see all the judicial vacancies filled Pan India. A court that works digitally so people sitting in New York or Bathinda can appear before the court or track the case sitting in their offices. If these things happen, India will get billions of dollars in investment as commercial cases will be solved faster and there would be ease of doing business. Also, if we could move towards shorter judgments of 18-20 -25 pages, that would be a bonus.  

What in your opinion is the biggest stumbling block in the path of responsible journalism today? 

A population that pays subscription fees is very important, the people should realize that they have to pay for good journalism. When we have people who believe in paying for the news they consume, the news content would improve by leaps and bounds.  

A follow-up to the previous question: How in your opinion can we settle the debate on the importance of Freedom of Press vs. the need to restraint the insidious Trial by Media. 

Freedom of Press is important, and important for democracy, but trial by media needs self reflection and regulation by media themselves.  

What in your experience has been the biggest challenge looming over the media fraternity amid COVID-19?  

Media, like every other industry has got hit badly by the COVID-19 pandemic, since Indian news media companies have hardly any subscription revenue, the challenge to get revenues via advertising will be high in the next few quarters till the economic growth picks up and advertising goes up.  

Other than work, what else keeps you busy? Would you please share your other interests and hobbies with our readers. 

I like reading books, mostly non-fiction, that keeps me busy. Then I like trying different kinds of food.  

Many Congratulations on joining the BW Legal World Elite 40 Under 40 Club of Achievers 2020. What to your mind has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction? 

I feel life is a journey where one grows each day, as one learns, be it success or failure. If one enjoys what one does, that is bonus.  

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our lawyers or journalists of the future, any golden piece of advice from the treasure trove of your experiences in the industry? 

 At every stage of your professional career, knowing when to enter a domain and when to move on, is very important.  

As a final note, would you please recommend to our readers your favourite book or movie/series that left a lasting impression on you

The British in India by David Gilmour, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, 21 lessons for the 21st century by Yuval Noah Harari are some books which I read recently.  


Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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