TV news = Bigg Boss?

15 Dec,2011

By Ranjona Banerji


As has happened with newspapers, there are small signs that television will also walk along the same line – the journalistic desire to question the intransigence of Anna Hazare and his insistence on his version of the Lokpal Bill. The political classes appear to be certain that they want more time and will not be harried into passing a bill which may be inadequate. The enormous scope given to members of Anna Hazare’s movement has been considerably reduced on television as other news enters the cycle.


On Wednesday, for instance, the black money debate in the Lok Sabha got much play on television and led, as usual, to plenty of screaming and shouting on panel discussions later. The tendency of these leaders of society to yell and brawl on TV shows remains appalling and a tremendous indictment of Indian manners. However, it is also fair to say that most people do not behave like this in real life, thankfully and perhaps neither do these habitual TV guests when the cameras are turned off.




The terrible news of the deaths of more than 100 people in West Bengal from drinking contaminated illegal alcohol dominated Thursday’s TV bulletins, which includes the international channels as well. TV of course is concentrating on the human story so we will get the bigger picture from the newspapers. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, already getting flak from a once-enamoured media, now has to do damage control on a number of fronts and this is bound to be further debated.




James Murdoch, son of media tycoon Rupert, has now admitted that he knew about the phone-hacking practices used by journalists in his newspapers. Earlier this year, James had told a British parliamentary committee investigating phone-hacking that he knew nothing about it. More media scrutiny will – and must – ensue.




The Indian Olympic Association has decided not to boycott the Olympic Games, as demanded by the sports ministers, some activists and a few sportspersons, in spite of Dow Chemicals’ involvement in the Games. More debate is expected and more TV-inspired pyrotechnics.
TV news in India is like the Bigg Boss for those with intellectual pretensions.



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