Fallen Star

How Peter Mukerjea crashed out of the television industry

01 December 2016
After a successful stint as the CEO of Star TV India, Peter Mukerjea, along with his wife, Indrani, launched the ill-fated channel NewsX. The couple are currently in jail, awaiting trial for the murder of Indrani’s daughter, Sheena Bora.
INDIAN EXPRESS ARCHIVE
After a successful stint as the CEO of Star TV India, Peter Mukerjea, along with his wife, Indrani, launched the ill-fated channel NewsX. The couple are currently in jail, awaiting trial for the murder of Indrani’s daughter, Sheena Bora.
INDIAN EXPRESS ARCHIVE

ON 24 APRIL 2012, MXMINDIA, a Mumbai-based website that publishes news, research and analysis on the Indian media, carried an opinion piece by Peter Mukerjea, the former CEO of Star TV India. Peter began on a light note, talking about former colleagues and friends in Mumbai who had, the previous week, attended Goafest, which describes itself as a “premier advertising, media and marketing festival.” The industry professionals would be “back at their desks catching up with the backlog of work and the start of a new week,” Peter wrote, some of them still “nursing hangovers” and some “recovering from other forms of stimulation, no doubt.”

Peter then addressed the main subject of his column: the Leveson inquiry into the practices of the British press, including of News International, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which had been mired in a scandal after its reporters hacked phones in pursuit of scoops. Murdoch, one of the world’s most powerful media moguls, was Peter’s former boss from his days with Star. The ongoing portion of the inquiry, Peter wrote, would give media houses around the world “the chart and TRP-topping opportunity of seeing several media owners take the stand this week” at the court where the hearings were being held.

Peter seemed excited by the attention that the inquiry would generate in international media. The appearance before the inquiry of Murdoch, along with his son James; the Barclay brothers, who own the Daily Telegraph; and Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of the Evening Standard, would be, in his words, “enjoyable viewing for a lot of us, particularly those who have worked at close quarters with these people. A family affair once again.”

Anosh Malekar is an award-winning journalist based in Pune, who prefers traveling in rural India and writing about people living on the margins of society. He has worked with publications such as The WEEK and the Indian Express.

Keywords: media television Star TV NewsX Peter Mukerjea Sheena Bora Indrani Mukerjea Vir Sanghvi
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