India’s rapidly evolving television news industry has come a long way since the days of Doordarshan’s plodding monopoly. With the influx of private players in the post-liberalisation era, newsrooms began diversifying vastly in ideologies, tone and tenor. Television news, especially in the English language, expanded its disproportionate influence over India’s national conversation, owing, particularly to its proximity to power.
Today, Indian newsrooms operate in a near-opaque environment with minimum regulatory oversight, coupled with increasing pressure from the establishment to toe the state’s line. The senior journalist Sandeep Bhushan’s upcoming book The Indian Newsroom is an attempt to deconstruct the agenda-driven journalism purveyed by corporate ownership, and the concentration of editorial powers in the hands of a star-elite within the studios, among other things. For his analysis, Bhushan relies on his 20 years of experience as a television journalist with channels such as NDTV and Headlines Today. He is also a regular contributor at The Caravan.
In an interview with Appu Ajith, Bhushan spoke about an industry mired in a moral and institutional crisis, and how this impacted the recent general elections. He was scathing in his assessment of the role the media played in the elections, saying that “it infantilised politics, made politics into a game.”