Ranjona Banerji: Which top TV anchor will win Modi’s Best Fan competition?

18 Nov,2014

By Ranjona Banerji


This is the question for the Indian media. Why should we bother with courts and lawyers and judges, when the nation has us? If we decide that N Srinivasan of the ICC and formerly of the BCCI is guilty then who on earth are the courts to say otherwise? We listen to gossip, we “investigate”, we have sources, so why are we any less than the police or lawyers or judges or any other part of the prosecution system? We also manage to get ahead for years without any knowledge of The Law which only proves that you don’t really need it.


Which reporter has not decided that X was guilty because the police inspector he drinks tea with every Thursday said so? Lives and relationships are built on trust. Who cares what the courts will say at the end of the day? We know better.


Part of the problem is that the media likes to create public opinion through perception rather than fact and the electronic media’s panel discussions are conducted on the lines of trial courts, where all participants have to explain themselves. Which is why you have to admire the professionalism of some TV anchors in India like Karan Thapar (on Headlines Today) and Nidhi Razdan (on NDTV), who somehow manage to stay clear of the “I am the judge-jury-executioner” style of their colleagues and peers.


As for N Srinivasan’s guilt or innocence…




The Times of India is locked in a little battle with Aligarh Muslim University over a story the paper did on female undergraduates wanting better access to the Maulana Azad library. The vice-chancellor made some comments that he must now regret about girls in the library attracting more boys and there being no space, compounded by the principal of Women’s College saying that there would be disciplinary problems if girls were allowed in the library.


In these fractious times, it did not take long for this to become a Hindu-Muslim, fanatic, liberal, rightwing, leftwing issue. Now the Times of India has made it a freedom of speech issue, after the university apparently said it would no longer subscribe to the newspaper.


This is a saga full of ironies. The first and most obvious is that all the defenders and challengers have forgotten the female students who asked for access in the first place. The second is that the “secular” brigade decided that the rights of a minority university trump the rights of its female students. The third is the rightwing usually anti-minority brigade has jumped in to defend the rights of the students even though they trample on the rights of women at other times. And the fourth is the spectacle of the Times of India making this into a freedom of expression issue.






I have a question for India’s sports journalists. I know that there’s plenty excitement in the world of cricket. But I seem to be missing some juicy inside stories about the two tennis leagues which have descended on India. The Indian Premier Tennis League promoted by Mahesh Bhupathi seems to have got all the attention, possibly because it has bigger names. But now we have the Champions Tennis League promoted by Vijay Amritraj. There was a time when Bhupathi and Amritraj were ranged together in the politics of Indian tennis and both opposed to Leander Paes. Now Paes seems to be in Amritraj’s League?


What is going on boys and girls? If you want some clues on how to write tabletop pieces with gravitas even if they are based on gossip, please do check reports on the current clash between Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka which are all over the British media.




I have not watched coverage of the prime minister of India dancing through Australia but Twitter informs me that Rahul Kanwal of Headlines Today has won the Best Modi PR agent award, beating both Barkha Dutt of NDTV and Arnab Goswami of Times Now. Will feathers fly as a result? Who will win during the PM’s next foreign trip? How fierce is the competition between these stars? Will we ever know?


Naah. Let’s just have fun watching them tripping over each other. I feel like I’m living a MAD magazine comic strip…


Related Stories

  • No Related Stories Found
Post a Comment 

2 responses to “Ranjona Banerji: Which top TV anchor will win Modi’s Best Fan competition?”

  1. Aasif Iqubal says:

    Rahul Kanwal seems to be eyeing some position in IBN7 after the imposition of Rajdeep Sardesai over him

  2. Guest says:

    Like Karan Thapar more in a tie than a bow, while Nidhi – Baby Spice – Razdan has long been a favourite.