What the government can’t, Goswami can!

24 Jan,2012

By Ranjona Banerji

 

Last night on Times Now, Arnab Goswami took on the case of an Indian couple in Norway whose children have been taken away from them by the Norwegian authorities. What the government of India could not do, perhaps Goswami will. Child welfare is a concept that Indians know little about (any journalist who has visited orphanages in India or tried to meet any official in the concerned government departments will know what I mean). Therefore, the outrage is all to do with Indians being made to suffer rather than the legality of the case. Indians, as we know, cannot be criticised, attacked, ridiculed, or made fun of. We absolutely will not tolerate it. Look at the anger over a reference to Amritsar’s Golden Temple on American comedian and TV host Jay Leno’s Tonight Show if you want further proof.

 

Meanwhile, it is amusing to watch Goswami use the BJP’s Mahesh Jethmalani for target practice. If I was Jethmalani, I would ignore calls from Times Now for a bit. It’s not easy to defend the BJP and its Sangh Parivar friends when the debate is about freedom of expression.

 

TV anchor Barkha Dutt’s American-type accent as she interviewed US talk show empress Oprah Winfrey was also amusing. Where did that come from? Can Winfrey not understand if there’s not a couple of rolled rrrs in every sentence?

 

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The Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad has made two arrests in the July 13, 2011 bomb blasts in Mumbai. However, given the police track record in such cases, TV and newspapers both displayed a little scepticism here. The two arrested are already in custody for some other cases and the masterminds are still elusive. Everyone has pointed that out. In which case we must ask ourselves if we really want to see giant photographs (Hindustan Times) of police officials with photos of the accused in their hands? Needless glorification of public servants who are just doing their jobs? Return of favours by grateful reporters?

 

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It is a measure of how much Anna Hazare and his friends have faded from the public eye that their letters to political parties did not get the full treatment from the media. They asked many questions to which no party has bothered to provide any answers.

 

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The Salman Rushdie controversy continues to intrigue and annoy. It seems to have taken precedence over whether the army chief was born in 1950 or 1951.

 

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