Ranjona Banerji: You have to commend Times Now on their audacity, pretending they have cracked the Sheena Bora murder case

08 Sep,2015

By Ranjona Banerji


I have criticised The Week That Wasn’t, the news parody show headlined by Cyrus Broacha and Kunal Vijaykar, several times in these columns. My main grouses were that their jokes were getting tired and they seemed to be swinging to the right – cutting back that is on criticism of Narendra Modi as both prime ministerial hopeful and now prime minister.
But I have to concede that their take-off on Arnab Goswami’s primetime debates is superb. Last week, we dealt of course with the Sheena Bora murder case with Broacha as Goswami yelling at his own panellists, waving papers and solving the case. My best bit however was the attention to detail: the Times Now “Burning Question” and the computer-generated flames that run across the screen in case viewers are too stupid to understand what “Burning Question” means. The Week That Wasn’t was spot on here. And yes, they did make a little gentle fun of the prime minister too…




While on Times Now, you have to commend their audacity. On and on they go, pretending that they are the chief investigators in the Sheena Bora murder case. More like the chief instigators. On Tuesday morning, the screen scrolls proudly declared that Times Now was “the only channel to confront key players”. Really? Is that their job? If they are inside the investigation rooms, then they might as well broadcast that live as well. Wouldn’t we like to see Arnab Goswami competing with Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria on who can ask the best questions? Why let down your loyal viewership like this? The Nation Wants to Know!




The main competition to Times Now in the give-me-the-credit-for-everything game is India Today television where its chief anchors almost behaved as if they solved the One Rank One Pension standoff all by themselves. So dear boys, if you were actually at the negotiating table with the retired armed forces personnel and the government, why so coy? Come out and admit it and take all the credit. If you weren’t there, stop pretending that you are responsible, with your breaking news claims via Twitter.


It’s reached a stage with TV news where channels are overjoyed that they managed to type out a sentence of “breaking news” two seconds before they others. Now if only they were as happy when they manage to do that without spelling or grammatical errors…




I always wonder though how the two cheerleaders for the government on India Today TV deal with their So Sorry cartoon series which continues to make biting fun of all politicians, the esteemed members of the government included. Must be so hard to swallow…




Delhi journalism circles are all abuzz with the news that the senior journalist behind the anonymous Twitter handle @LutyensInsider will soon be revealed. The handle was in trouble after journalist Swati Chaturvedi not only reported it for vicious, personal abuse but also filed a police case. The Delhi police commissioner confirmed on Monday that the person had been identified and “strictest action” would soon be taken.


Chaturvedi was very brave because usually women just ignore troll attacks. But she felt this one went too far, accusing her of stalking a politician for sex. Not unexpectedly, the main support that @LutyensInsider got was from a rightwing blogger.


Chaturvedi is wisely not taking the name and shame route but we will soon know who it is, as soon as the police act.




The big news of the last week was that The Hindu is launching a Mumbai edition at last. And the editor of this new paper will be a good friend and current editor of Mid-Day, Sachin Kalbag. Congratulations to both!



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