A Reply to Rajdeep Sardesai

Posted on August 10, 2012


In an article by Mr Rajdeep Sardesai, the editor in Chief of the CNN-IBN network tried to explain why the media covered  Gujarat more then Assam. Sir, I agree, you are one of the most respected and well informed media personal of the country, but I am  not quite satisfied with your answer to the question of coverage of Assam and North East.

In my previous post, How Media has Failed to Project Assam, I have mentioned how the National Media has failed to focus Assam and its neighbors, and I have given sufficient examples to prove that. Yes, you did mention some of them, but having only mentioning them will not end your role as a journalist as the people of Assam would love to see you rectify the ignorance by you guys.

Going back to the excuses, you quoted this,  “Kokrajhar is at least 150 kilometers from Guwahati. No national channel has an OB van in Guwahati. As a result, by the time most reporters reached the worst affected districts, much of  the violence was over. By contrast, Gujarat 2002 took place in the heart of  urban centres like Ahmedabad and Vadodra, in many instances just a few kilometers away from news organisation offices.”

Ignored and Helpless

Sir, the fact is Assam is not that a jungle that you can’t travel 150 kilometers in a Day. There are actually people who travel the distance twice a day from Guwahati to Kokrajhar. And I suppose Guwahati is well connected with the nation as the Guwahati International Airport is India’s 12th Busiest airport. So there was no reason why your reporters couldn’t reach the place within 24 hours.

We do have an Airport

To the second part, it is rather a shame that there is no OB van in Guwahati as it one of fastest growing cities not only in India, but in the world (it has been included in the list of top 100 fastest growing cities of the world). So you should have apologized for that, rather than giving it as an excuse. And by they way, there are I suppose 5 satellite news channel in Assam who have their OB vans, and you could have asked them for help.

The channels can waste money by telecasting a day long report on some Radhey Maa, but can’t dare to buy footage from the local media just because it is North East.

Sir, I would not like to comment of the political and religious aspects of the Assam Riots which you have mentioned, but sir, I am highly disappointed with the excuse of distance given by the media after they failed to cover the incident. As a patron of the industry and as someone who would like the industry in the near future. I really felt hurt at this attitude of yours and  I bet, all the citizens of the state have also felt the same.

I am not sure how much you are correct in your facts, but sir, you have to agree that the National Media has always been Ignorant to the people of Assam, and there should be an apology for that rather than a list of excuse.

(In reply to the post: Tyranny of distance: Why media covered Guj more than Assam)