Channel wars

tv.gifTelevision channels have heated up the political battle worldwide. In tune with the latest technology, the West is fighting the political battle through cyberspace and videos. However television dominates the global scene as the all time weapon in the war of communication. In India one can notice the noisy drama created in the television channels over everything. Politics is one of the favorite subjects for the media personalities. With the Parliament granting permission for the private television channels to air entertainment in the early 1990s, slowly it allowed them to telecast news and views. The national channels play a more or less apolitical game; the regional ones take the lead in the mudslinging. The southern regional channels are in the forefront of this high decibel media war.  It is often said that the power in south flows through television channels. No doubt that the trendsetter south is spreading the virus of media war to other parts of the country.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kerala runs two channels. Started with the investment from NRIs these channels act as a mouthpiece of Leftists in the God’s own country. The hidden factionalism in the red front which occasionally comes to the public knowledge is accelerated by the TV. As the channels are run by the party, Pinayari Vijayan the state secretary finds it easy to assault his own government run by his numero uno enemy – V.S. Achutanandan.   To outsmart the comrades, its archrivals – Congress has rolled in Jai Hind channel last week. It was unveiled by none other than the supremo of the grand old party of India, Sonia Gandhi. Not to antagonize the  fuming comrades in Delhi with the new channel, Sonia praised the forward march of Kerala in the social sector. Her words were supposed to neutralize the Left leaders who were hell bent to stop the civilian nuclear deal with USA.

Tamil Nadu initiated the media war. The Sun TV started by the former union minister Murasoli Maran’s sons created a dirty political battle in the state. To counter the challenge posed by DMK through its Sun TV, AIADMK lead by Jayalalitha set the Jaya TV shouting. Vengeance is part of the political processes and administrative routine of the government of the day in the state. Although Jaya TV came much later, Sun started spreading its network. The DMK government in the last nineties started imposing hurdles for the rival channel to function.  The PMK has started Makkal T.V followed by Congress veterans, K.V. Thangabalu (Mega T.V) and Vasantha Kumar (Vasantham TV). After the straining of relationship between Karunanidhi and his grand nephews, the latter has started Kalaignar TV. The octogenarian C.M has also mooted a proposal from the government to run cable T.V industry to counter Maran brother’s omnipotent SCV.

ETV in Andra Pradesh was patronized by Chandra Babu Naidu. Along with his laptop and video conferencing the electronic and print media contributed his image building in the mid nineties. However it could not prevent his downfall in the 2004 elections.

There is no sound and fury in the politicization of media in other regions of the country. The Sahara T.V started by Roys in Uttar Pradesh in support of Mulayam Singh is facing serious troubles. The entire business conglomerates of Sahara are undergoing tough time and find it difficult to sustain it. So one of the few political battles in rest of the country through media has taken the backseat allowing the southern region to occupy the dubious distinction of running TV for the sake of politics.



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