Ranjona Banerji: Can TV news also be about reporting and not just drama?

09 Jun,2017

​By Ranjona Banerji


The CBI case against NDTV remains top of the mind for journalists, although by now sarkari journalists are looking either for justification for the CBI or for fences to sit or to put forward some equivalences. The argument is that unless NDTV – or any media house for that matter – is perfect, it cannot be intimidated or bullied by government because it has asked for what is happening to it. In an ideal world, well, duh. But given that so many journalists I know and don’t know live in some fantasy world, I am hardly surprised at these reactions. Disappointed perhaps but not surprised.


Why has some of the media reacted so angrily to the raids on NDTV? The reason is extremely simple – the timing looks suspicious. Apart from the open spat between Nidhi Razdan and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on NDTV’s Left, Right and Centre, NDTV (English and Hindi both) have been more likely to analyse, assess and criticise the policies of the BJP government at the Centre than many others.


The anger of journalists has nothing to do with the case itself – if NDTV’s promoters are guilty, to use a favourite phrase of our politicians, “let the law take its own course”. But on the face of it, an old case which a disgruntled former associate had filed being rehashed just at this point, seems, umm, “hmmm” in the extreme. The presence of the CBI in an issue between two private individuals, the lack of any court ruling, the fact that the party which has supposed to have suffered a loss – ICICI


​Bank – is not the complainant… there are enough questions which make the reopening of the case a bit scary.


However,​ it must be said that after the deaths of the five farmers in Madhya Pradesh in police firing, most news channels picked up and highlighted the story. However, they also spent more time on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s attempt to get to the battle zone of Mandsaur than the actual protest itself. Just a few suggestions: next time, try talking to the farmers themselves or their reps, the police and the state administration. If you get a chance to talk to the home minister who had earlier lied and said “anti-socials” killed the farmers not the police, question on him that rather than on the opposition. Sometimes, just sometimes, TV can also be about reporting not just drama, no?


Yeah, am sure I’m wrong about this old-fashioned style of journalism but still, I tried.


Congratulations to all the winners of the Mumbai Press Club’s RedInk awards. Vinod Dua (now with thewire.in, for Lifetime Achievement, Raj Kamal Jha (Indian Express) for Journalist of the Year, Govind Tupe (Sakal) for Mumbai Star Reporter and all the other winners listed below.

Please note: The Mumbai Press Club is not a Lutyens, Delhi establishment. Just saying!


Winners of Redink Awards 2017


Print – Radhakrishnan Rariyam Kandath, Frontline

TV – Sreenivasan Jain, NDTV



Print – Nithyanand Rao & Virat Markandeya, The Wire

TV – Aamir Rafiq Peerzada, NDTV



Print – Ipsita Chakravarty & Rayan Naqash, Scroll.in

TV – Joint Winners, Abhisar Sharma, ABP News & Maya Mirchandani, NDTV



Print – Sarika Malhotra, Business Today

TV – Archana Shukla, CNBC TV 18



Winner – Ashish Sharma, Open Magazine

Runner Up – Kunal Pradeep Patil, Hindustan Times




Joint Winner Tushar Dhara, Sanjay Sawant, Shraddha Ghatge & Neeradh Pandaripande, First Post

Raj Narain Mishra, Dainik Jagran

TV – Rajesh Kumar, India News



Print – Swaroop Swaminathan, The New Indian Express

TV – Joint Winner, Moumita Sen, India Today TV & Rajeev Mishra, India News



Print – Priyanka Vora, Scroll.in

TV – Archana Shukla, CNBC TV 18



Print – Alia Allana, Fountain Ink

TV – Atir Khan, India Today TV



Print – Kathakali Chanda, Forbes India

TV – Biju Pankaj, Mathrubhumi News




Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She is also Consulting Editor, MxMIndia. The views here are personal​


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