Ranjona Banerji: Will media take views of women on prohibition and bans on alcohol? (+ Tennis blues continue)

04 Apr,2017

By Ranjona Banerji


The Supreme Court ban on bars and liquor shops on highways in India is contentious and problematic. Almost all the media in India has jumped in saying just as much. Bans are problematic, contentious and highly indicative of a nanny state or a totalitarian state or a state that, as usual, refuses to treat you as an adult.


However, apart from the various extremely legitimate problems of business losses, loss of livelihood, the ill-effects on tourism, liberty of the people, there seems to be a lack in the media on following this ban as well as giving us its genesis. The case has been in courts since 2004 is the best I could do from internet searches and listening to the petitioner’s lawyer on Karan Thapar’s show on Monday night. The date for shutting down these establishments – April 1, 2017 (not a joke) – was stated on December 16, 2016. And yet, it all sounds like a terrible surprise to everyone. I am not going to state the obvious but come on!


What was not under discussion – and not much in the newspapers either – is where this order came from. The issues of road accidents caused by drinking and driving and the women who approve of bans like this and of prohibition, were evidently not seen as important.


I would like the media to a full rundown on prohibition in states like Gujarat, discuss it with prominent Gujarat politicians, talk to some women and also underline the huge casualty list from road accidents.


I would also be fascinated to see civil liberties being discussed and upheld with such fervour when it comes to rightwing goons attacking and murdering writers and thinkers, when film persons make bogus pleas for nationalism in order to get attention and presents from the government and when people are killed by the same rightwing establishment for eating something that goes against their grain.




Sting journalism and its fallout on the ethics, journalism and the pursuit of a good story comes to us again with the Quint and its “expose” of the sahayak or “buddy” system in the Army. The first big problem in this case is that the story led to a suicide. The other problem is that the journalist who did the secret filming has been arrested under the Official Secrets Act. The third problem is that the editors of Quint have been left untouched (try that in a newspaper).

Veteran journalists Kalpana Sharma in scroll.in and GeetaSethu in The Hoot outline and examine various aspects of the issue.






I end this with my constant rant against our sports channels in India and their attitude to tennis. No matter what, they make it hard for me to love them. I was really happy when ESPN divorced Star and then came back with Sony. Aha, I said to myself, ESPN knows sport and Star must have been the problem with tennis coverage in India.


More fool me. As ever, Sony ESPN showed tennis – in this case the Miami Open – but only on select days. So you start watching a tournament and then have to stop. It used to be that replays of the matches were shown the next day. No such luck. It used to be that the final was shown the next day, at least a couple of times. No such luck. It used to be that Ten showed WTA matches. No such luck.


I think they want us to shift from television to the internet. Right?


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