Jaipur, 11 August 2018 — The start of the second day of Talk Journalism 2018 saw four senior journalists from South India come together and speak about reporting plus their experiences on covering news stories from South India.
Guna Gunasekhar, Senior Editor of News18 Tamil, started off by saying “When Chennai suffered from devastating floods in 2015, in the initial days, it did not capture the attention in the continuous live of live English channels in first three days. Now Kerala is witnessing unprecedented rains and causing flooding but I don’t know if the so-called national media have paid attention to this human devastation.”
He went on to say that if Kejriwal has a fight with LG over state rights, then that becomes an issue and grabs spotlight. The same situation is happening in Puducherry between CM Narayanswamy and LG Kiran Bedi but it did not find place in national media. Rajeev Devraj, Senior Editor, News18 Kerala said that “We do have differences in opinion that how Kerala is being portrayed in a bad manner recently. And it is mainly because of the political killings happening in Kerala. All the people killed are not CPM people or RSS, BJP people. People from both sides or Congress are also killed. It is not fair to say that Kerala is a killing field or red terror and it is not a good
way to portray it in this way. But some section of media try to give that communal angle to that story and say that Kerala is crime capital of India”. He also said that 22 people joining ISIS from Kerala doesn’t mean that Kerala is a breeding center for Islamic terrorism. E Perumal, Editor, The Hindu Tamil, said that Tamil Journalism has played a vital and important role in overall journalism field. He went on to enilighten the gathering about the history of Tamil journalism in India, by saying that in 1578 in Punnaikayal, the first printing press was started by Father Faria and Father Edrick.
TS Sudhir, Senior Journalist, said that things have changed and things have not changed as well by saying “A colleague of mine in television newsroom very recently told me that when Karunanidhi was ill and a story was not commissioned on Karunanidhi being ill but story was commissioned on what is Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth’s relationship with Karunanidhi. Basically the perception in Delhi is that story with film connection, especially with Rajinikanth works. A big Malayalam superstar was arrested and the story was not covered in detail. But when Rajinikanth sneezes, there are channels which do a story and I have been part of such discussions much to my shock and dismay”.
He even said that anything happening in Chennai is important from a TRP point of view and gave an example of a TV channel person who said that floods in Kurnool don’t have a TRP value. He added that the general belief is that if you put Rajinikanth on a channel, you get TRPs. He acknowledged that digital journalism has been a savior as many websites cover south in great detail in form of analysis, news and different perspectives. He ended by saying that news channels need to go beyond the Noida view of India and they should also seek view of India from south Indian cities as well.
Text: Niharika Raina | Copy edit: Niharika Raina | Photo: Niharika Raina | Photo desk: Anu Sonia |Editorial coordination: Jyoti Mamnani