It could, at best, have been a time for introspection.
But what followed was high praise for News18’s Anand Narasimhan, days after he and 13 other TV anchors were boycotted by the opposition INDIA alliance over “communal debates” and reportage “distant from issues of public interest”.
A top official at Network 18 showered Narasimhan with praise in an internal email on Saturday, as he bestowed “added responsibility” on the anchor under the title “editorial Sherpa” — on the lines of the G20 Sherpa.
The mail circulated internally and seen by Newslaundry, described Narsimhan as “among the most prominent faces on news television” and a “complete team man to boot”. It said the anchor has been given the additional responsibility of “editorial IP mix” for conceptualising new editorial-led events for the company.
A senior official at Network 18, on condition of anonymity, said that “editorial sherpa” was “not a new designation but a superlative term” and Narasimhan will remain Network 18’s managing editor of special projects and senior anchor. “The term editorial sherpa is a praise. Anand Narsimhan will continue to be the managing editor at the media network.”
While the word “sherpa” is popular in diplomacy, a designation such as “editorial sherpa” is unheard of in journalism.
The email also detailed Narsimhan’s “additional” responsibilities: “In this role, Anand will work with top editors and other colleagues in editorial, the execution teams…the editorial production teams…and also interact with existing clients and potential ones. His end-to-end involvement, from concept to completion, will help us implement campaigns on a much grander scale.”
It added: “Anand, as you all well know, brings passion and total commitment to everything he does. He thinks laterally, acts decisively and is a complete team man to boot.”
Notably, the 12-member opposition parties’ alliance received both flak and praise for boycotting 14 TV news anchors for their alleged communal debates and partisan reportage. The decision was taken after the alliance’s first coordination committee meeting on September 13.
Subsequently, both the News Broadcaster Federation and the News Broadcasters & Digital Association issued statements protesting the alliance’s decision.
The NBF, of which Republic is a member, said the move was “undemocratic, Emergency-era directive” to crush free speech. The NBDA, which comprises several legacy news organisations, said it was “deeply anguished” by the decision that “sets a dangerous precedent”.
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