‘Indian TV in grip of a small, incestuous clique’

The Booker Prize winning author-turned-activist Arundhati Roy in an interview with The Times of India Crest edition:

Q: Does the Indian media offer sufficient space for dissenting voices?

A: Much of the mainstream media has been captured by a small clique of columnists, editors and TV anchors, an incestuous little coterie with shows on each others’ channels and interviews in each others’ newspapers. Even the guests on the TV shows are the same old people.

Day in and day out, they chatter away, saying things that comfort each other even when they appear to be shouting at one another. It’s amusing and grim at the same time. Sometimes, it’s like watching an interminable cocktail party. But all is not lost. There are good editors, good journalists, people who are very comfortable with what’s going on.”

Also read: What Kerala journos do at Arundhati Roy presser

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27 Responses to “‘Indian TV in grip of a small, incestuous clique’”

  1. Mysore Peshva Says:

    Ah, finally I get to agree with the irrepressible Ms. Roy!

  2. H.R.Bapu Satyanarayana Says:

    ‘Incestuous little coterie’ quite evocative and keeping to her style. Pray who are the exceptions?

  3. twistleton Says:

    Slap on the face for Indian media. And about time too.

  4. Not A Witty Nick Says:

    Isn’t it the same case with the print media?

    Mutant content in the columns and articles are the result of inbreeding of rich & suave Activists, Editors & Journalists, owning summer retreats in cool hill stations, hanging out in the elite clubs of New Delhi and hobnobbing with politicians.

  5. Simple Says:

    TV channels suffer from a disease called ‘broadcast first, think later’. In order to keep up with the dog called competition, they have this desperate need to break news compromising on clarity and sanity.

    Ms. Roy is right, the tone and content of all channels are suspiciously the same. Everybody seems to think alike on what should be the lead story, how much time should be given to the lead story, who should be the guests and what should be the decibel levels of the anchors.

    Adarsh scam was picked by one channel and the rest follow like a herd. Nitish Kumar’s Bihar has had a slew of scams in the last few months, including the treasury scam,. None of the channels thought it worth mentioning, because these channels have declared that Nitish is one of the best CMs in the country, so it would be egg on their face, if they show him in a bad light.

  6. twistleton Says:

    she has not excluded print media right?

    Journalism like sports and cinema has its own glamour quotient that makes up (as in other things) for the dearth of quality.

    Austerity is a thing of the past. Show me the money :)

  7. Goldstar Says:

    Agreed !!

  8. Bhupathi Ranga Says:

    At last, an island of wisdom in the desert of rubbish from the enigmatic Ms. Roy! I have always wondered how the same guests appear at the same time on different TV channels broadcasting the show as ‘Live’!!

  9. DailyBread Says:

    Gundina matte gammattu…..

    lazy limousine liberals are sermonising on TV everynight from their drawing rooms in completely inebriated state with glasses of scotch in their hands. If consceince keepers of the nation can drink so openly on TV News channels, why are we not legalising yenne ads.

  10. Pseudo Pseudo Says:

    At last the lady has captured the pop imagination of the Middle India. Why can’t she do this more often and win more fans than raising uncomfortable questions and thus pricking our comfort balloon? If she thinks by doing that she would force us to think about the issues in a new light, she is terribly mistaken. We will endorse her only when her rhetoric matches ours. Anything more is asking for the moon and we don’t have much time to lose by pondering over weighty matters – lest the GDP gravy train pulls out of the station.

  11. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Not so quick Peshavan! That was a cheap shot by A Roy who herself is not eminently watchable even with her questionable feminine charms not withstanding! Cure your self A Roy in some Maoist hovel and smoke a few beedies if you haven’t done so recently! No offence to beedi smoking men and women –a splendid body of our hardy people.

    But then again if you are watching cretins like Sardesai, B Dutt, and a few others it may appear so. This is because they shout and shriek the loudest without giving any chance to the hapless speaker panel to function. Then there are truly secular retards like Rajeev Ratna MS Iyer who avers everything worth knowing was uttered by Rajeev Gandhi one time or the other right from his Doon School days to his last days. Frankly, even the ‘erudite’ A Roy appears to suffer from frequent amnesia and exceptional delusions when it comes to matters of National importance.

    Coming to print media there are functioning idiots like Shekar Gupta who have developed their own desi version of the interview process. I don’t read Hindi newspapers but I can imagine it will be quite colorful judging by the various Devegowda types in the Cow belt.

    Our own Kannada media is pretty interesting and I cannot recall having read so many erudite articles on science, economics, politics by the likes of H Sudheendra, Thirumalesh in VK newspaper. Obviously some self-styled Maoist retard and throwback like A Roy will be too much purple with jealousy to acknowledge there are many people in India who outnumber her own brain cells by a few billions.

  12. Kumar Says:

    I hate to agree with this woman but she is, for once, right! The entire Indian media is a joke but for a few names and publications that have stayed true to the profession. TV anchors and journos are utterly hopeless.

    It is blatantly evident. Any editorial, reporter or space in a publication can be bought towards any ulterior agenda, as long as the asking the price is met!

  13. Indian Homemaker Says:

    Either we value her opinion or we don’t.

  14. wanderlust Says:

    Hey, this is really funny she mentions incestuous because the biggest one of them all, prannoy roy, is her uncle/cousin :D

  15. Yella Ok Says:

    Has she said anything that was already not known?

  16. rss Says:

    one nonsense person speaking about another…
    Kalla darodekorana adkondange…

  17. twistleton Says:


    Thanks for that eminently sensible comment.

    Generally public figures who have her reach or more, choose to be silent or diplomatic about the iniquities of our social/political/cultural institutions.

    Finally we have someone who, although many would disagree with, has the guts to get down to brass tacks and call a spade a spade.

    Accepting “all is not well” is the first step to resolving issues. Roy has shown us the way.

  18. Somebody Says:

    Given right amount of money and publicity to her, she would do exactly the same thing she is accusing. Instead of sermonising as if she is some kind of angel, she should be honest with herself and introspect as to what she has been saying and doing is correct as a citizen of our country.

  19. Dr. Sree Reddy Says:

    Yes, I agree there are still some good people left in media but unfortunately they or their writings dont see light. These are not savvy….people, so most of them are sidelined.

  20. kaangeya Says:

    Absolutely right, which is why the self same press and TV networks lavish so much of attention on Arundhati. If you want the real about Arundhati you don’t watch her fawning admirers on these incestuous networks, you read blogs to find out what kind of a jihadophilic terror sympathiser she is.

  21. Matzpen Says:

    Arundhati Roy has a lot of excellent points, and Obama and the Indian media better listen up

  22. Pseudo Pseudo Says:

    Doddi Buddi:

    That’s one beautiful rant:) Nicely put. But I disagree with you on the Kannada/local media of Karnataka. Though the ones you have mentioned are eminently readable and have done commendable job, how about if we start looking at the others’ acts of omissions?

    Why the Kannada media is largely silent on the numerous scams that are plaguing our own land? There is so much happening in which almost everyone of this Govt have their hands in the jar of ghee. Is it again the promise of a BDA plot? A Rajyotsava award? MLC nomination? Or is it just the lure of advertisements that our GoK lavishes them with?

  23. Doddi Buddi Says:


    I agree that Kannada/local media are inept in the general sense of the word. My point is if you look carefully the vernacular media does a good job in patches. I was referring to A Roy bitching about Malayali journos zeroing on her ‘tea bags’ which had me somewhat mystified!

    It is fairly common knowledge that some over eager netherholes at KP started referring to HDK as Kumaranna and so on. Some of these journos were on the payroll of JDS Luddites during the last six years or so. EVery now and then even the Hindu would pitch in writing some tall claims about Devegowda by his followers, things such as Gowda built Hemavathi Dam, damn near built KRS dam if only he had taken birth once as an assitant to Sir MV and later in his own incarnation and all that…

  24. Ramesh Raghuvanshi Says:

    Arundhati Roy is publicity monger. She always want in limelight.Only media want her for increasing their TP.There is old saying if you want to sell your newspaper you must keep motto –Man bit the dog is good news.Media always want sensational story and Roy is ready to provide them most sensual news.

  25. Mysore Peshva Says:

    *Doddi Buddi*

    You write, and I am pleased to read, that: “Our own Kannada media is pretty interesting and I cannot recall having read so many erudite articles on science, economics, politics by the likes of H Sudheendra, Thirumalesh in VK newspaper.”

    Another friend recently opined that currently we are a golden age of Kannada journalism.

  26. twistleton Says:

    publicity monger she may be, but what other way does she have of making herself heard.

    Or do you suggest she rather not say anything at all. If so, then you are suffering from an attack of government-appeasementitis

  27. Pseudo Pseudo Says:


    She has no hope in hell in winning the popularity sweepstakes anytime soon. She has this amazing ability to rub many sections of people terribly the wrong way. She probably knows this and I suspect she secretly enjoys all this popular backlash.

    Three big sections she currently needles are – Hindutvavadis. economic rightwingers and Nationalists. She often paints the Hindutvavadis as this monstrous entity which is out to eat up marginalized people. This at once makes the religious rightwingers her sworn enemy. Then she does similar hatchet job about the Corporate moneybags killing the dispossessed using hard currency which naturally makes the economic rightwingers see red, literally. Above all she espouses the issue of freedom for Kashmir. This is the final nail in the popularity coffin. Many Indians may neither be Hindutvavadis nor economic rightwingers but are nationalists in a traditional way. In the sense the territorial integrity is non-negotiable for them whatever may be the reason – right or wrong.

    So in the end her goose gets cooked nicely in the popular forums.

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