The weekend fare and is our media scared of taking on big business?

12 Sep,2011

By Ranjona Banerji


The weekend papers…


With the tenth anniversary of the September 11 2001 attack on the United States being top of the mind, Sunday Times carries something of a coup  a special article by US president Barack Obama, where he discusses the loss as well as US strategy to deal with terror, focusing of course on killing of Osama Bin Laden earlier this year and the targeting of the al-Qaeda. Obama reiterates that the US has never been at war with Islam.


Other newspapers also concentrate on 9/11. The Hindustan Times carries a special section on the attacks with comment, analysis and related stories. It also does not carry its local Mumbai comments page, perhaps to accommodate this change, although the regular comments page appears at the end of the section.


The rest of the news is a mixture of local Mumbai news the end of the Ganesh festival is prominent. The Hindustan Times in Mumbai leads with a local story on water contamination while the Delhi leads with 9/11 and the possible terror threat to the US. The opposition to the communal violence bill from the NDA and the Trimamool Congress is second lead in Delhi.


The Times of India goes with party funding for its second lead and also highlights the communal violence bill. Half of page one is an ad, therefore limiting its options. Into this space however filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt’s son Rahul’s need for a gun to protect himself finds space. Curious.


The Ganesh festival is played out on the inside pages of all Mumbai newspapers. Newspaper offices in the financial capital are closed on Sunday so there will be no edition on Monday.


The Hindu leads with the communal violence bill and also gives prominence to Nalini meeting Murugan, both convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.


… and the news channels


The weekend saw our television channels returning to covering whatever news they could find while international channels concentrated on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The critical injuries to cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin’s son in a motorcycle accident in Hyderabad, an accident during the Ganesh immersion processions in Mumbai and renowned Sufi singers the Wadala brothers being caught with live bullets at Amritsar airport were the news items which got play on TV channels.


The rest of the space was given to the back and forth between the government, the Congress and Anna Hazare’s advisers, the fight between sports minister Ajay Maken and former sports minister Mani Shankar Aiyar the dramatic essence which gives Indian television its raison detre.


The memorial services in New York for 9/11 were sombre and the channels covered it like that, with solemnity and minus high anchor drama. Anderson Cooper of CNN is usually quite good at events like this.


Is our media frightened to take on the rich?


It bears comment that the CAG findings on contract violations by Reliance Industries in the KG basin have been tiptoed around by the media in general as well as by observers, commentators and opposition parties. Does it appear that we are not so concerned about corruption when our biggest industrial houses are involved, or that we are too frightened to take on the rich?


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