Ranjona Banerji: Media unfair on Kejriwal (& why tennis lovers must now fight for their own TVviewing rights)

22 May,2015

By Ranjona Banerji

 

It is hard for anyone to deny that the Aam Aadmi Party and its earlier avatar, the India Against Corruption movement, got unprecedented support from the media, especially television. At the end of the day, the AAP is a party which has not managed to make much headway electorally at least, beyond Delhi. It has got far more national media space than any other state government in India, most of which are full-fledged state governments.

 

However, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s various tantrums and threats to the media notwithstanding, it now appears that the coverage of the AAP and its government has become vicious and even unfair. Undue and gleeful attention is now paid to every possible transgression by the party. Some TV channels seem to find it hard to accept that there are lawyers and constitutional experts who actually agree with AAP in the current imbroglio with between the state government and the lieutenant-governor over bureaucratic appointments.

 

There is a need here for the media to step back a bit and consider its obsession –whether for or against – with AAP which is now bordering on the absurd.

 

**

 

It is commendable when the media and especially TV take on the important and self-important on behalf of the ordinary person. However, as we saw when it came to the brick-throwing story, a little more diligence would have been better journalism. Equally, when it came to the very courageous young woman in Agra, who objected to a security guard winking at her, some considered focus would have made for a more accurate story. For those who came in late, a gun-toting policeman accompanying some political type winked at a woman on a two-wheeler. She objected and tried to take a picture of the man. He picked up her phone and smashed it. She jumped on top of the car he was in, sat on the bonnet and attacked the windshield with the party flag on the car.

 

She became an immediate heroine and with good reason. Women who have had enough street harassment empathised and people who are sick of political posturing wanted more. Evening discussions on TV however targeted the political party and the man in the car. As a rule, we in India feel that politicians are by nature venal and deserve to be dragged over the coals at every opportunity (except for those we admire or worship of course). The media also finds politicians the easiest target.

 

But however idiotic the Samajwadi Party member was in this instance and how dare he ride around in a Mercedes and why does his sister speak for him, surely the first port of questioning should have been the head of whichever force the winker belonged to? The transgression that started the fight was his after all…

 

**

 

The French Open, one of the four Grand Slams of tennis, begins this weekend. And for reasons we should be familiar with now, all tennis and sports lovers will not be able to watch it. All those who subscribe to Tata Sky that is. Because the French Open rights belong to Neo Sports.

 

My advice: start fighting for your viewing rights now.

 

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