Today's newspaper looked normal (with UPA blunders, their counter attacks etc) until I turned to the last page.
"Television channels run up Rs. 3 crore bill to Lok Sabha" is the story. These channels are refusing to pay the government, the huge sum of Rs. 1 lakh per year. And the reason they are citing - "National Interest"!
Here's the story. Lok Sabha TV is the only TV channel allowed to film the proceedings of Parliament (one of the best decisions, if you ask me). And all other news channels have to take the feed from LSTV. LSTV gives the channels free of cost, the less than one minute clippings the news channels air on a daily basis. However, for big ticket discussions (like budget, no-confidence motion etc), LSTV is asking the channels to pay just Rs.1 lakh. Like the senior officials tell in the above mentioned report, these news channels make a LOT of money from advertising on occasions like this - so what just are they losing in paying this amount?
The cite "national interest" and demand that LSTV give them the feed free of cost. In "national interest", have you EVER seen any of these channels telecast question hour, and the varied range of questions put forth by members of Parliament? In "national interest", have you EVER seen these channels telecast discussions during "zero hour"? Do their viewers even know what zero hour is? In "national interest", have you EVER seen these channels show us anything other than a walkout, howling, shouting etc, on a regular basis? What we see on these channels, in "national interest" is only distractions in Parliament and not the constructive discussions in Parliament.
When questioned earlier on why constructive debates are not shown, media has chickened out in answering.
And today, these channels are refusing to pay a meagre amount of Rs. 1 lakh citing the most frivolous reasons and worse - are quite confident that they can convince the Speaker too. I sincerely hope, that in "national interest", the Speaker asks them for more money. But then ....