Yuvraj cancer news first lead?

06 Feb,2012

By Ranjona Banerji


The unveiling of Justice OP Saini’s verdict on the petition filed by Subrahmaniam Swamy to make P Chidambaram a co-accused in the 2G spectrum case on Saturday was fascinating. Times Now gave us second by second coverage about nothing at all happening outside Patiala Court. The other channels thankfully limited themselves to studio panel discussions about the possible implications of this verdict.


The BJP was very cocksure that Swamy would succeed. The Congress was largely invisible, relying on a few of its friends to state its case. The old telecom companies were part of the discussion. The new ones (and now licence-less) were invisible.


As Navika Kumar talked about the butterflies in her stomach waiting for the verdict (why?), she conceded that Chidambaram may have bigger airborne insects inside his digestive organs. This waiting outside this courtroom was apparently the most exciting journalistic assignment ever! Wow!


Anyway after hours of pointless speculation and some interesting debates on other channels, the judge then called Swamy for a private discussion and cleared the courtroom. Immediate outrage at this ill-treatment of the media! But then someone pointed out that the judge wasn’t in the courtroom at all. More inconsequential details followed. Then the judge just said the petition was dismissed.


Suddenly, we were told that actually Swamy looked deflated when he came out of the private discussion with the judge. This, however, was not noticed before the petition was dismissed, a sort of after the fact observation.


As expected the BJP tried to put up a brave face and then vanished and the Congress, to its credit, did not go too far in its victory dances. Swamy appeared “first” on Times Now but refused to answer who finances his penchant for litigation. By Sunday his bravado was back and in Monday morning’s papers he was saying the judge was good but his judgment was bad (damned with faint praise?) and Swamy would be going higher up the judicial ladder.


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Sad as the news of cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s cancer is, am not sure whether it is first lead news, but most Indian papers seem to think so.


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The divorce between Sahara and Indian cricket also appears to have come as a surprise to our intrepid sports journalists and here again Yuvraj Singh’s health seems to be have been an issue. Some further investigation here may be a good idea but whenever a big money player is involved, the media’s newsgathering resources seem to shrink.


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Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju is apparently on twitter with the handle (@mark_katju. There is some speculation on twitter whether this is a genuine account or not but today’s newspapers seem to think it is. I’m following it anyway just to check.


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