Indian Decade

India’s Insular Media

The travel chaos in snowy Europe has brought out the worst in Indian news coverage.

What is it about success and growing confidence that leads to comfortable insularity? Over the past couple of years, it's been incredible to see how the Indian media, and indeed many Indians in general, have become so insular.

For example, international news will often get a page at most in many dailies, and even when important news is covered, it feels like it’s fighting for space with news from Hollywood or an astounding number of quirky pieces of research that tell us anything from why women fall in love to what connotes spiritual connection.

TV bulletins are even worse, with quick, montage-like wrap ups of global events. Of course, the big global stories do sometimes get told well. But too often there’s something off about the selection of stories. The recent coverage of the North Korea-South Korea tensions was particularly dismal, as shown in the skewed reporting by one of the leading TV networks here (a network that’s actually undoubtedly one of the better news organisations when it comes to foreign reporting!)

The network conducted a studio chat with a senior journalist on the embarrassing state of London's Heathrow Airport. Europe's bad weather is certainly a big story. But for an Indian channel to be discussing why Heathrow was not unlike a ‘third world’ railway station on prime time was, to my mind, a bit bizarre.

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Apparently the floods in Pakistan and the tensions on the Korean Peninsula weren’t exciting enough to be covered in similar detail…