Saturday, November 5, 2011

Expose! A Katju Television Network!

According to a wild rumour that we do not believe for a moment, the Honourable Markandey Katju, newly installed chairman of the Press Council of India is setting up his own television broadcasting organization. KTN-1984.

According to a document in our possession that is obviously fake but too sensational not to report, the following is the pitch that KTN-1984 is making to potential investors:

KTN-1984: Television With a Difference!

KTN 24-hour News Channel is being launched to set an example of what television programming in India should be. Under the expert guidance of Honourable Markandey Katju  a staff of journalists imported from developed countries, all certified heavyweights in philosophical and scientific thought, will seek to enlighten the 80 to 90 per cent of the Indian population that is steeped in superstition and ignorance.

The programming for KTN-1984 will report cricket and other sports news but will not cover matches live because Caligula in ancient Rome is reported to have given Romans circuses instead of bread. Of course, this might not actually result in additional bread in 21st Century India, and the overwhelmingly ignorant Indian population might express some discontent, but television should observe strong moral standards. No cricket coverage!

KTN-1984 will report the daily news with a strongly educational slant. There will be regular "How To" programming prepared by our imported crew of learned journalists on gutting priests, drawing out their entrails, and strangling kings. It is not envisaged that we will run out of priests any time soon, there being a very large supply in the temples and other religious institutions that spread superstition and ignorance. However, India being a democracy, there will be a shortage of kings. It is envisaged that people like the new Nawab of Pataudi can be prevailed upon to volunteer for the "king" roles. It is the principle that matters.

Our coverage will ignore terrorist attacks or pretend that they are accidents for which no one is responsible. If the Police issue a statement saying they suspect a certain organization we will not report it, as that will be divisive. In the interests of social unity, the imported philosophical heavyweights reporting the news for KTN-1984 will evolve a secret code, the meaning of which will be understood by the 10 per cent of Indians who are enlightened. The 90 percent steeped in superstition and ignorance will not notice what is happening, so it will not matter.

Panelists on KTN-1984 talk shows will not interrupt each other or raise their voices. A panelist who interrupts someone will receive one warning, and then be expelled from the show. Those who raise their voice will have a gag placed over their mouths.

Under a plan submitted by KTN-1984 to the government, with a copy to the major opposition party, other broadcast organizations will be terrorized into adopting similar programming. Their shows about astrology, worship, and other feeble-minded pastimes like film, sports and gossip about film actors and actresses, will be replaced with instructional programming produced by P. Sainath about farm suicides and rural migrant labour.

P. Sainath will be the only Indian journalist allowed on KTN-1984. His method of manipulating statistics out of context will be held out as an example for all the benighted Indian journalists of other channels. Particular attention will be paid to not providing international comparators showing that the Indian suicide rate is about the same as in the United States or any other large country. Sainath's analyses of migrant statistics extracted from the incomplete reporting of  2011 Census data will be held out as a particularly elegant illustration of Mark Twain's observation that there are "lies, damn lies and statistics."

Cuts in government advertising and delicensing of broadcast organizations will be the means by which KTN-1984, with the cooperation of the government and the main opposition party, will instill fear in Indian journalists and make them subservient in dealing with politicians.

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