Thursday, May 23, 2024

News on Punjabi TV Channels Lack Fairness


                Seven Punjabi TV channels are available in America on Dish Network. Some of them carry no news at all. Those channels which do carry the news depend on sources, over which they have no editorial control. Seeing balanced news in Punjabi is becoming harder and harder these days. From the point of view of financial resources, PTC Punjabi is by far the most affluent Punjabi channel and its technical staff is brilliant, but it lacks true objectivity. It boasts of the biggest contingent of news gathering, editing and news reading staff. Recently in December 2013, it covered itself with glory during the coverage of World Kabaddi Cup held in the imperfect conditions in different venues in Punjab. From the point of view of length of coverage and detail, PTC’s coverage of Punjab Government functions is most extensive. Its recently introduced bulletins of American and Canadian Punjabi diaspora news are also quite good. Bhalinder Singh Virmani is very good, he knows his business. But its mainstay, the mofussil Punjab news, leaves a lot to be desired.

 Zee-Alpha-etc-Punjabi is another channel owned by a wealthy corporate house and the channel has deep pockets. Even it has to depend on news feed provided by Fast Way Communications, which has unmatched monopoly over cable distribution business in entire Punjab. Its news coverage of Punjab and national politics appears to lack depth and balanced presentation taking into account all aspects of the stories from the vast political spectrum of India in general and Punjab in particular. Its news staff also fails to impress the intelligent viewer.

 Only two Punjabi channels appear to be relatively free from the grip and stranglehold of the political masters of Punjab. These channels are America based “Global Punjab” (in off and on collaboration with DAY & NIGHT NEWS of Chandigarh in India) and another America based “Jus Punjabi”. At one time under the stewardship of Kanwar Sandhu, “DAY & NIGHT NEWS” was considered a fiercely independent and highly professional news channel. His shocking and sudden exit on August 2, 2013 initially gave a huge setback to the channel, but now it appears that the channel is recovering from the jolt and regaining its confidence. Its availability in Punjab is very limited. No one wants to see it on internet. Its present programs are showing signs of a weak resurrection. Its Punjabi Prime Penal Discussion Program, the morning show Jago Punjab and other news bulletins are showing signs of life. “Global Punjab” has hired a brilliant broadcaster Surinder Singh, who had resigned along with Kanwar Sandhu. Now two senior news journalists cum anchors of “DAY & NIGHT NEWS”, Ujjal Satnam and Surinder Singh are working for “Global Punjab”. Of late the ratings of “Global Punjab” are looking up.

 “Jus Punjabi” runs its independent news room in India. Their main anchor Rachna is a brilliant no nonsense veteran of Punjabi news reading. She gives due coverage to all the political parties in Punjab. Her spoken word represents smooth and flawless “Standard Punjabi” (the language of Amritsar and Lahore) and her carefully worded scripts do not require recasting due to imperfections in vocabulary and general grammatical mistakes. Swarn Singh Tehna is another valuable addition to “Jus Punjabi” staff in India. He has a half an hour long slot of headlines from the vernacular newspapers of Punjab and his own commentaries on news. His program runs on all days of the week barring Sundays. Swarn Singh Tehna is shaping up like a veteran commentator Jatinder Pannu. From the view point of fairness “Jus Punjabi” brings a breath of fresh air to TV news in Punjabi.

Harjap Singh Aujla Picture

Harjap Singh Aujla      

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