‘Is abusing politicians the nation’s agenda?’

Harinder Baweja of Tehelka buttonholes Rajat Sharma, the editor-in-chief of India TV that sits on top of the heap of Hindi news channels, with its mix of sleaze, superstition, and “a host of other debatable tricks” that has left its seven competitors playing catch up:

# TV viewership is like a game of cricket. There was a time when Tests were a big hit… Now it is Twenty-20. The content has to change with time, even at the risk of being criticised by other colleagues in the media industry.

# We have changed the definition of news. If people still think that politicians cutting ribbons is news, those days are behind us. And (so are) speeches made in the parliament.

# We are in the business of news and only news. But today, entertainment has become big news.

# What is the agenda of the country? Is it only to keep abusing politicians? Is it only to show long speeches and ribbon cuttings? We have set the agenda.

# At my daily meeting with the editorial team, I tell them “go for the kill”. Don’t do a story that will make me or the chief producer or you happy; do one that will make the viewers happy. This is the formula. Go for the viewer. Speak for them.

Read the full interview: ‘I’ve a channel that tops the ratings. I’m not ashamed.’

Photograph: courtesy India TV

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