​Ranjona Banerji: More power to Mirror Now

28 Jul,2017

By ​Ranjona Banerji​

 

The growing success of Mirror Now as a news channel seemingly points to what some of us have long believed is the essence of governance to most citizens: civic problems. When you ask people what they expect from a government, very few will mention a robust foreign policy, better fighter jets or even economic reforms. But almost everyone will mention better roads, better garbage collection, better schools and better hospitals. In most parts of India, these fall under civic, local and state governments.

The Central government can help in better highways, it can set health and education policies. But it cannot fix the road in your neighbourhood nor can it ensure that garbage is collected on time and so on.

Mirror Now has well understood this. By focusing on such issues across the nation, it has managed to provide an alternative to all the other national and nationalistic channels. Even if the city or problem featured does not affect you directly, the issue most likely will. This makes an enormous change from the raging about Pakistan and liberals and any other half-baked illiteracy that dogs most of our nationalistic channels.

On the face of it, Mirror Now is an intelligent move from the Bennett Coleman group, to cover the national and local spectrum of news. The Times of India remains wishy-washy in its opinion pages – neither here nor there, although reporting and news coverage can be very good depending on where in India you live. (Here in Dehra Dun, local news coverage is excellent.) Times Now is on its way to becoming as obnoxious

​as ​

Republic TV, pole-vaulting over its other contender India Today TV, teetering on the abyss of non-journalism. Actually I lie. It is already non-journalism.

 

Mirror Now provides the other side of Indian governance and takes some of the discourse away from all the usual political wrangling and taking sides. I am somewhat chary about making another star out of anchor Faye D’Souza but I have understood that this is how television thinks that it works. In any case, more power to Mirror Now for now.

 

**

 

As everyone has now pointed out by now, our patriotic TV journalists and star anchors have steered clear of using the sort of vitriol on China as they have on Pakistan. Many feel this is because they have been told by the government to back off. However to this I will add my own feeling – anger about China does not resonate as much with local bigotry as anger with Pakistan does. For our news channels looking to fan flames of hatred within India, Pakistan is a much better target.

It might also be that China is far more intimidating and our fine TV news anchor know less about its border issues with India…

 

**

 

Most of the American media on the other hand remains steadfast in coverage of US President Donald Trump’s transgressions and daily shenanigans. Even better are their comedians and late night TV talk show hosts. The shame of the capitulation in India remains…

I was very happy to read as a coffee drinker that I was “less likely to die” in one of those “scientific” articles recently. Although immortality was never a goal of mine, it suddenly seemed like an intriguing idea, especially something as innocuous and painless as coffee was going to make me live forever. Sadly, a few days later I read another version of the same report which said that coffee drinkers are likely to live longer.

1 Is it fair to dash my hopes like that?

2 Why do sub-editors and headline

givers stoop as low as this again and again when they only look stupid?

 

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