Ranjona Banerji: Anything you can say i can repeat better?

24 Mar,2017

By Ranjona Banerji

 

I know I am usually unkind and unsympathetic to Indian news channels. And that I am usually kinder to foreign news channels.

So. Here’s a composite of BBC and CNN reports two days after the terrorist attack in London and after the police released the name of the attacker.

Anchor in studio: 
The attacker has been identified as Khalid Masood, 52 years old, British-born. He was known to the police for earlier convictions of GBH (grievous bodily harm to all of you unfamiliar with British police jargon) and being in possession of a knife. He was last picked up in 2003. Since then he has not been caught for any criminal activity. Masood was born in Kent but now lives in the West Midlands. Police have arrested several people in Birmingham who may have some connections to Masood but we do not know what those are. The prime minister said that MI5 investigated him for terrorist connections and found him to be peripheral to any terrorist-related activity. Now we go to our reporter outside Scotland Yard. Can you tell us anything about Khalid Masood?

Reporter outside Scotland Yard:

The attacker has been identified as Khalid Masood, 52 years old, British-born. He was known to the police for earlier convictions of GBH and being in possession of a knife. He was last picked up in 2003. Since then he has not been caught for any criminal activity. Masood was born in Kent but now lives in the West Midlands. Police have arrested several people in Birmingham who may have some connections to Masood but we do not know what those are. The prime minister said that MI5 investigated him for terrorist connections and found him to be peripheral to any terrorist-related activity. I have with me our Home Affairs correspondent. What can you tell us about the investigation?

Home Affairs Correspondent:

The attacker has been identified as Khalid Masood, 52 years old, British-born. He was known to the police for earlier convictions of GBH and being in possession of a knife. He was last picked up in 2003. Since then he has not been caught for any criminal activity. Masood was born in Kent but now lives in the West Midlands. Police have arrested several people in Birmingham who may have some connections to Masood but we do not know what those are. The prime minister said that MI5 investigated him for terrorist connections and found him to be peripheral to any terrorist-related activity. The police cannot be everywhere and check every petty criminal but now they will be talking to Masood’s family and friends. They will check his phones and other devices.

Reporter outside Scotland Yard: Thank you.

Anchor in studio: Thank you.

**

To be fair, I now go to Al Jazeera, which had a correspondent in Birmingham, where he had spoken to locals, spoken to those who knew the people who had been arrested and they told him that they had never heard of Masood. There was some more on-the-ground information here, although not very much more. At least you did not feel that you were part of the BBC’s superb spoof news programme, Broken News!

 

**

 

It was very sad to hear about the death of old friend and colleague Mani D’Mello, of kidney failure. Mani was only 54. We worked together for years and he was one of the old breed of hardcore crime reporters, with no illusions about the glamour of gangsters or any desire to become part of the romanticisation or exaggeration brigade. He moved on to other fields and larger organisation roles, as did we all, but he retained his internal cynical core, once integral to good journalism. A great loss.

GovindTalwalker, 91, also passed away in America this week. Editor of the Maharashtra Times for 27 years, Talwalker was known for his strong liberal views and writing. He also wrote several books and remained a huge influence on all journalists.

 

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