This year when the Hogenakal water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka sprouted up, most of us of old Bangaloreans cringed at the thought of another round of protests and Tamil channels being blocked, Tamil movie posters being pulled own and other childish acts that vested interests seem to wait to rabble rouse!
However nothing of that sort happened! A pleasantly surprised populace watched as the Cable operators from both State resolved not to let their business be affected by politics and most political parties except the BJP decided to exercise restraint and let the law take its own course. This is unheard of in Bangalore and Karnataka! We are so used to violent protests at the very mention of the word “Neighbor”!
Most of us watched in disbelief as not a single incident of violence or protest was reported on TV except for some mature statements by people like S M Krishna! People seem to have changed overnight! It was evident that at last, people have realized that the bogey of outsiders threatening the culture and language of Karnataka was only doing harm than good to the State’s image specially since Karnataka generates most of its revenue from Bangalore! For people like me who have grown up here, it was a huge relief to see this change.
Therefore I was really shocked and taken back to see a program aired on prime time by CNN IBN about Bangalore and Karnataka. The program has been clearly put together by someone sitting in Delhi or Mumbai unaware of the changes in Karnataka, deciding to cash in on what he/she thought were burning issues!! The entire program is made up of old issues dredged up from news archives, garnished with commentaries and interviews with old hawks and trouble makers and can be positively harmful if such people realize their power in giving fodder to news hungry channels like CNN IBN!
It is true that every Kannadiga loves Kannada and wants Kannada to be preserved! But instead of talking to doyens of Kannada literature, the program interviews people who made it to the news till some time back by blackening English sign boards, demanding 85% reservation for Kannadiags in IT and BT companies and throwing stones at movie theaters showing Tamil films!!!
There is absolutely no effort or pretense in this program to catch the pulse of the people or report facts! If CNN IBN had made the effort, they would have found out that the situation is changing in Karnataka! Linguistic chauvinism is on the wane and people are realizing that there are better and mature means to solving disputes with neighbors than resorting to Xenophobia and violence!
However no such effort has been made by CNN IBN in the making of this program and the show talks about how the people of Karnataka want to assert their Kannada identity over Bangalore and their discontent with the modernization ( read pubs) of Bangalore!
After watching this program, I was reminded of the movie ( I forget the name) about a News Channel tycoon who decides to ‘make news’ so that his channel will be the first to report it! That movie was a pot shot at the CNN! How ironic that CNN’s Indian arm, the CNN IBN is actually doing that? Who could have predicted that?
I guess for lazy channels like CNN IBN, News Archives is "the" hot and happening place for “making news”! So what next? A program on the Khalistan movement? Or the Tamil separatist movement? How many dying embers will they rake up to a fire in their quest for viewer ship? I dread to think of the topic of their next Prime Time program!
For a population that labors from 9 to 6, news channels are the only window to the outside world! And news channels like CNN IBN realize this very well! And in their quest to fill in air time, they will not hesitate to stoop to any levels to "make news" !