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The Week That Was:

From: Vartaa Editorial Team on Nov 6, 2016

Toxic air in Delhi

The national capital of Delhi is engulfed in a thick toxic smog that has forced the shutting down of 1800 schools, cancellation of cricket games, fleeing of expats and general all round embarrassment for the authorities. Every year farmers in Punjab and Haryana burn leftover straw in early winter to prepare their lands for the next harvest. Winds carry this smoke over Delhi where particulate matter from Diwali crackers has caused the smog to be suspended and Delhi's air to be declared as toxic. As the public scurries to buy air masks, the Kejriwal government is taking desperate steps to find temporary fixes to the problem.

One day ban on NDTV

The NDA government and the Information and Broadcast Ministry were in the eye of a storm this past week as they imposed a one day ban on the news channel NDTV for allegedly compromising security details during the Pathankot terror attack earlier this year. The government has also banned an Assam based news channel in its latest series of actions against media houses. The ban came for all round criticism from the media and the opposition alike which saw political motivations behind the action. While the government is defending its actions from the point of 'national security' most media organisations are failing to buy this argument and have called the action as overreach.

Bhopal 'jailbreak' creates a storm

An alleged jailbreak and encounter of eight SIMI activists in Bhopal has created a searing controversy nationally. The police claim the SIMI men broke out of the jail, murdered a constable and were planning a terror hit. However, many doubts have been raised on the police actions and questions have been asked as to whether this was a cold blooded murder of unarmed men. The MP government is on the backfoot for the moment and has ordered cash rewards for the policemen in the encounter to be stayed and a judicial probe ordered into the encounter.

Opinions you must read:

  • The Mint examines whether the US can still exercise leverage over Pakistan on the issue of terror.
  • In the light of burning of school building in Kashmir, Shashi Shekhar examines why the state is moving in reverse gear.
  • The Mint looks at the upcoming visit of British PM Theresa May to India in the light of Brexit and checks her priorities for the Indo-UK partnership.

Chart of the Week

Last week, a prominent Indian News Media personality- Arnab Goswami- resigned from the popular English News channel Times Now. Goswami was credited with propelling Times Now to the top of the English News ratings table. Often criticized for his opinionated and cantankerous debates that frequently escalated into shouting matches, Goswami almost single-handedly took the channel from relative obscurity to ratings gold over the course of a decade. That got us thinking- Arnab Goswami is a prominent figure in the English News Media circles and our Social Media feeds but how does his viewership compare to that of major Hindi News channels? This week's chart show the op 5 Hindi and English news channels' weekly viewership.

The answer surprised us, to say the least. Arnab Goswami's Times Now, although the most popular English News channel, had a mere 0.6 Million viewership during the 3rd week of October. It is minuscule compared to the almost 111 Million that the most popular Hindi News Channel, Aaj Tak, commands. Although we could not obtain reliable data to corroborate this, we suspect that regional language news channel may also command a significantly large viewership compared to the English news channels. This goes on to show that the English News Media commands a disproportionately large influence in the country for the viewership it has. People who watch English news tend to belong to highly educated, urban, high-income households- the most coveted segment of customers by advertisers. It follows that the English news channels not only attract high-value advertisers but also the attention of an influential group of people. Small wonder then that Mr. Goswami wants a piece of the lucrative pie for himself. It makes sense to be the major owner of a profitable business than a mere employee and this exactly Arnab Goswami has in mind for the future.