New Delhi: The Indian
media has missed the story about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
says Union Law, Justice and Minorities Affairs Minister Salman
Khurshid, as the prime minister comes under attack from Team Anna
for suspected irregularities in the allotment of coal mining
"The middle class created Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and now
you want to take him apart. He is what he is... You should be
proud of having created him... That's a lot for one single story,
but you have lost it," Khurshid said.
He was speaking at a panel discussion about positive content in
the media at the launch of a book, "TV News Writing Made Easy for
Newcomers" written by journalist Ravi M. Khanna, in the national
capital Wednesday evening at the India Habitat Centre.
Manmohan Singh is a special kind of teacher and he merits a
one-on-one story and no one told it, the minister said. "There is
so much screaming, shouting and excitement over other things," he
"We are going through turbulent times but there is an airport to
reach. And a wonderful man is driving the plane," Khurshid said.
Speaking on the persona of Manmohan Singh, Anuradha Prasad,
managing director of BAG TV and Media Network, said that she was
the first cub journalist to interview the then finance minister
Manmohan Singh in her show, "Money Matters" for the Doordarshan in
"He had always been a shy person and not a television-friendly
man. There is a great wall between the persona and the
politician... With the PM, there is a barrier... Manmohan Singh,
the person did not come out," Prasad said.
Prasad also revealed some lesser known aspects about the prime
minister's personality from her experience.
"Did you know that the prime minister's wife cooked at home before
he became prime minister and he drove around in a Maruti 800 car
to parties. He would return home by 9.30 p.m. from parties because
he could not drive in the darkness. He did not hire a chauffeur or
a cook," Prasad said.
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpeyee's poems were popular
because they reached the people but something in the system and
his persona did not work for Manmohan Singh and he has failed to
reach out to the people, Prasad observed.
Talking about dumbing down of television, Prasad said news
televisions were being questioned for content and credibility, but
if a television channel owner had to choose between revenue and
credibility, one would compromise on "credibility for TRPs to
reach people and survive".
"News channels are at the mercy of cable operators now. They hold
us to ransom, if we don't pay them, they will close our channels.
It is easy to question political credibility and blame news
television," Prasad said.
Markand Adhikari, vice-chairman and managing director of Sab TV,
said, "Fifty percent of all content on news channel is
entertainment. There is no money for content because 80 percent of
our income goes to the cable operators and the rest in salaries
and infrastructure," Adhikari added.
"The proposed digitisation of cable networks will make news
channel profitable and ensure better news content," Adhikari said.
Khanna, who has worked for the Voice of America for more than 25
years, said he wrote his television journalism manual to help
newcomers avoid traps while writing or looking for a story.
The book is indirectly linked to the quality of content in the
news media, he said.
"The book is full of examples of how one story can be written for
radio, television and newspaper. India lacks quality training for
media students," Khanna told IANS.