It was Gaddafi all the way

21 Oct,2011

By Ranjona Banerji

 

Thursday started out with Kiran Bedi, allegations of accounting fiddling, Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalitha and a 15-year-old corruption case and the launch of a new train service in Bangalore (I refuse to call it a ‘metro’, because by my reckoning, metros run underground and this one looked like an elevated service). But by the evening, it was the death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, dictator of Libya, which dominated everything. 

For the first couple of hours, it was Al Jazeera which provided the most details, CNN and BBC catching up soon after. Indian channels got into it after that and images of people celebrating were soon replaced by pictures of what appeared to be – and was later confirmed as – the body of the dictator. 

Gruesome as the images were, it was a poignant reminder of how death is the great equaliser and all your power and delusion cannot save you at the end. Please forgive that philosophical digression but sometimes TV will do that to you! 

Of course, most channels tried to combine reporting with reportage and comment but experts were still grappling with what had happened to really provide any special perspective.

**

The prime time news shows on Indian channels mainly remained with Gaddafi – the newspapers on Friday morning informed us of hundreds of ways to spell and pronounce the name – and many ran documentaries on the dictator, his rise and fall. News X did a discussion segment on the Kiran Bedi issue, with a very well put together panel of former Team Anna members — Swami Agnivesh and Rajinder Singh, current India Against Corruption member Abhinandan Sekhri, Tushar Gandhi and activist Shabnam Hashmi. Rahul Shivshankar had to work very hard to allow everyone to speak as Sekhri was in a very defensive mood and took exception to question Bedi as well as the exceptions raised by Singh and Agnivesh. These two were quite clear in their condemnation of Team Anna and the way it operated. The allegations against Bedi were also discussed. Gandhi pointed out what many had foreseen — that the movement was getting lost in personality disputes while Hashmi expressed the viewpoint of those not enamoured of Hazare and his supporters.

It was in fact an interesting, no-holds-barred discussion, if a little short, but then attention had to shift to the end of a 42 year dictatorship.

A stop at Times Now in the break showed an interview of minister Kamal Nath over the Bangalore trains by Arnab Goswami. No scope for fireworks there.

**

Friday’s papers took the Gaddafi fall further but more or less reiterated what we already knew, so exhaustive had been the TV coverage.

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