The untimely demise of Shri Shri Y.S. Rajashekhar Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has left my family in deep shock.
Being a metropolitan family, we rooted for a urban development oriented political party like Telugu Desam Party (TDP) or Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) to win and were quite surprised to see Congress-I win the elections with a clear majority.
Our visits to the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) however clearly pointed out the reason for the landslide win of this Rain Minister. The populist programs launched by the State Government under his aegis has benefited millions of citizens of the state and continues to provide relief to millions more in the state in numerous ways, not always tangible.
The reaction of professionalism of my Cable TV provider however surprised me in a very unpleasant manner. Channels just went-off the air. What I assumed incorrectly to be a ordinary glitch was quickly replaced by a dismay as the Cable TV Operator informed me that they had switched off the broadcast of most channels to express their condolences.
What next? Doctors going off-duty to express condolences or Pilots disembarking for the same reason? Public transport system rolling back into the shutters, hotels and medical shops locking their doors, banks and post offices suspending operations? Will these organisations too display their condolences? Perhaps it’s high time for the ATM machines to display a blues screen of death as mark of respect for our departed leader!
At a critical time like this, when the public is clamoring for every bit of information from the unlikeliest of sources, if a public service provider suspends operations by it’s whims & fancy – the situation can only be considered as criminal negligence. This has the potential to spread panic by not disseminating much needed information.
Would the Cable TV operator go off the wires if someone important died of swine flu? Maybe this one will. And all his subscribers may be denied the infotainment options for which they subscribed and paid in advance.
Satellite TV companies in India may not be perfect. They display yet another logo on the image, image quality is not always consistent but at-least they are not arbitrary and they understand their public responsibility better. Jai Ho for them!
Here’s a list of news channels that are not available to me at this moment:
Times Now, BBC World, CNN International, Headlines Today, 9 News, CNN-IBN, NDTV Profit, ET Now, CNBC Awaz, CNBC, UTV News, Aaj Tak, NDTV India, Zee News, HYTV, DD News, Lok Sabha, Sahara National, Sahara NCR, Sahara Mumbai, India TV, Asianet News, TV9 Karnataka, DD Bharti, DD India, DD Rajya Sabha, DD10 Sahayadri, Jaya TV, Sun TV
Here are the few that are available (some of them appeared after almost 2 hours of blackout):
NDTV 24×7, Star News, TV9, NTV, TV5 News, INews, HMTV, ETV-2, Gemini News, TV I, Sakshi TV, Studio N, Zee 24 Ghantai, Mahaa, DD Saptapadi, C-Channel
Update – September 9, 2009: I am now the proud owner of a Tata Sky Satellite TV Subscription.