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A sad day for journalism

The founders of the NDTV group, Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, have resigned, and journalists have started leaving
Last Updated : 05 December 2022, 00:14 IST

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The demise of NDTV as we know it marks a sad day for India’s television news journalism, and for journalism as such. The name NDTV might remain, but the soul of the channel will have gone out of it, after its takeover by the Adani group. The founders of the NDTV group, Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, have resigned, and journalists have started leaving. The Adani group, owned by the world’s third richest man, Gautam Adani, had acquired RRPR, a holding company that owns 29 per cent of NDTV, triggering an open offer for another 26 per cent stake. The Adani Group has appointed directors on the board of RRPR and are on way to getting full control of the company and through it of NDTV and its sister channels. That will mean the end of the NDTV that we know.

NDTV is the pioneer of TV news journalism in India and revolutionised it in terms of style, content and spirit. It has been the gold standard for about three decades in news reporting, presentation, content and comment, creating the grammar and diction of the new language of communication in visual media. Most importantly, it has been the country’s most trusted news channel, stubbornly sticking to the ideal of independent journalism when most of the media has succumbed to temptations, pressures or intimidation. Prannoy Roy was the most visible face of it. The channel was also a nursery of journalism, and many of the prominent TV news journalists of the country learned their ropes in its studios. Some of them may have forgotten their lines but the school did not lose the lessons and has persisted with them.

NDTV cannot be expected to remain what it was after the takeover as the new management is considered to be close to the government and has billions at stake in the country. It has been argued that the financial basis of India’s broadcast journalism, in fact of all journalism, is weak and that it needs corporatisation and infusion of funds. But it is often a devil’s deal, and what is gained in money is lost in the nature and quality of journalism. Freedom of the media, which is basic to democracy, is a diminishing right in the country now. NDTV was among the few that did not hesitate to speak truth to power and has suffered for that in the past. A country as diverse and complex as India needs multiple voices, images and views. When much of the media speaks in one voice and has been reduced to being a ‘godi’ republic, the absence of a different and questioning voice will be keenly felt.

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Published 04 December 2022, 17:32 IST

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