In the evening of his political life, H.D. Deve Gowda has emerged as a minor terror for young reporters. Eyebrows furrowed all the time, with a scowl permanently plastered on his face, the former prime minister is alternately fretting, frowning and fuming at all and sundry, especially sundry.
“Some of my reporters, especially women, plainly refuse to cover his press meets,” says a Bangalore editor.
Part of the problem is all of the above. The real problem is his language.
The man who was once the executive head of the country slips into expletives at the drop of a dhoti. Chaste Kannada sweat words trip off the tongue of the son of the soil with scarcely any embarrassment.
In other words, Karnataka’s Political Family No. 1 has only a passing acquaintance with the nuances of the language and the demands of civility in public figures. How ironic therefore, that the following news brief should have appeared in The Hindu on Friday, April 27.
Kumaraswamy cautions media
Bijapur: Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Thursday said the Government might be forced to bring in legislation to control the “erring” media if it continued with “irresponsible reporting”. He was particularly upset about the words used by a 24-hour Kannada news channel to describe his government… Etcetera.
The reference here is to TV9, which hysterically covered the story of eight-year-old Sandeep falling into a borewell in Raichur, a la Prince, complete with SMS comments, prayers, etc. Just what precisely got the goat of Deve Gowda’s son, we don’t know but there was plenty any media watcher could have found exceptionable.
Certainly, TV9, in its eagerness to create buzz and impact, is not the exemplar of appropriate language. In the recent scandal involving BJP MLA Renukacharya and his nurse-friend Jayalakshmi, the channel has regularly referred to the people’s representative in the singular.
That Kumaraswamy should find the channel’s use of language questionable open up a debate on what is acceptable language on a mass medium, and whether the onus is only on those airing it. However the more worrying part is that Kumaraswamy feels that his personal irritation alone is sufficient for him to dangle a threat to “bring in legislation to control the media if it continued with irresponsible reporting”.
That the CM’s threat has not even created as much as a flutter shows that either Bangalore’s journalists do not take the CM seriously.
Or that they are busy with other and hopefully more important things to bother.