[MJR] TV gets boring after IPL

29 May,2012

Ranjona Banerji

By Ranjona Banerji


The end of the IPL has seen a flurry of articles, analyses and edits – as well as some television breast-beating. Tuesday’s must-read is Ayaz Memon in The Times of India as he dissects the IPL and people’s reaction to it. TOI also carries an edit on the IPL – a day after everyone else.


On TV, Rahul Kanwal of Headlines Today, wearing far too much make-up – almost like those pictures of stars like Rajendra Kumar and Biswajit with orange lipstick that movie halls used to carry – was in “hot pursuit” with BCCI chief TV spokesperson (if that’s not a designation it should be) Rajiv Shukla trying to solve all the problems with the IPL.


The upheaval in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly also bothered our TVwallahs and led to one more verbal fisticuffs on Times Now. This followed another one on the Andhra High Court striking down a quota for minorities. One feels that TV channels need to stop inviting people like Ravi Shankar Prasad and Mohammed Owaisi on the same show as it only leads to acrimonious yelling rather than informed debate. Arnab Goswami did not even bother to control them. TV debates appear to have run through their usefulness. They provide little information or food for thought and now that the actors are the same on every channel night after night, there is no variety or novelty either.


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The big news for newspapers in Mumbai was the horrific road accident on the Mumbai-Pune expressway where 27 members of a marriage party were crushed to death by a speeding truck. Several heart-wrenching details about the accident were in all the newspapers and were in fact almost too much to bear.


The problems of no proper ambulance or paramedical services or the dangers of Indian roads and our lack of disaster preparedness were all covered. None of this makes the spectacle of accidental death any easier of course.


The drought in Maharashtra is also now making almost a daily appearance in newspapers but I haven’t noticed it on TV yet. That is hardly surprising because unless there is mass-scale devastation, even 24 hour TV news channels struggling to fill in the gaps will not be interested. There is limited scope for engineered outrage and explosive TV debates when it comes to drought or even malnutrition.


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The biggest media-related news was former British prime minister Tony Blair telling the Leveson inquiry into media ethics that politicians have to hobnob with the media in today’s world. He admitted to flying to Australia to convince Rupert Murdoch to support the Labour Party in the general elections. Interesting… Now how many Indian politicians would be so courteous to the Indian media?


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On a personal note, was quite pleased to see the French Open get so much coverage in the newspapers. Of course, the IPL is over so there’s plenty of space… Hindustan Times gets top marks – but it has increasingly established itself as a newspaper which covers all sports not just cricket. Even the Times of India deigned to provide a little space to tennis and the Grand Slam which has just started in Paris. That is high honour indeed.


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