TV's Delhi Belly
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The moment Baba Ramdev was evicted from Delhi's Ramlila Grounds and relocated his fast in his ashram up in Uttarakhand, he became yesterday's news. Or let's say, he no longer made the news or the headlines. He had become just another person, outside the Capital, whose demands were no longer breaking news across TV news channels. He was uninteresting to the Delhi-based news anchors or reporters.
So, somethings never change. It used to be that all news had to be made in Delhi to be considered as news. Outside Delhi events were relegated to after the first commercial break; worse still, as footnote that appeared on the ticker at the bottom of the screen.
Well, some news might have moved up, but Baba Ramdev illustrates how Delhi-centric broadcast news tends to be. While he was in Delhi and even during the build-up to his fast, the news channels couldn't get enough of him. By June 3, there was carpet coverage. And for the next 72 hours until Sunday June 5 night, we saw and heard about nothing else.
And then, he's up there in his ashram and he becomes a non-event. There was periodic news about the state of his health, of his fast, of his finances but he did not have the eye of the camera. And by the time he ended his fast a week later, he was a has-been for the news. You might say, he had to end the fast before his end came as a news item.
Thus, his importance was relative to the amount of coverage he could generate. The same can be said of the Hazare hazoori. If it were to be held in his village of Ralegan Siddhi, Anna Hazare might never have made it to the Lokpal Bill drafting committee. That's how news is in this country, or at least on news channels.
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