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ISRO GSLV launch: Breaking down news, the media coverage and preoccupation

Times Now, CNN-IBN, IBN7, NDTV, Headlines Today and Live India followed the event closely, using Doordarshan’s footage from Sriharikota.

Written by Pratik Kanjilal | Updated: December 22, 2014 12:57:58 pm

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There has been so much blood and death on TV this week that a dose of feelgood was desperately required. ISRO administered it on Thursday with the GSLV launch, which sent an untenanted three-man pod into space, to be recovered after a splashdown. With that, the Indian space programme has taken a giant leap towards putting human payloads in space, a goal that could deliver tangible benefits much quicker than the Mars mission, which brought global attention to ISRO this year.

Much of Delhi’s media was preoccupied with other things in the 20 minutes in which the pod lifted off from Sriharikota and reached its destination near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. India TV was scanning the heavens for the latest astrological insights. Zee was telling viewers why Delhi’s Maurya and Taj Palace hotels could be juicy targets for terrorists. Well, to each their own. It’s a free country.

Read more: All you need to know about the launch

Times Now, CNN-IBN, IBN7, NDTV, Headlines Today and Live India followed the event closely, using Doordarshan’s footage from Sriharikota. The provider, meanwhile, carried on business as usual, as if unaware of the development. DD India ran Exotic Flavours of India, DD Lok Sabha ran Lok Manch and its sibling in the Upper House had Salman Haider, Javed Naqvi and Siddharth Vardarajan discussing terrorism in Pakistan. Fine people, but clearly there at the wrong time. Later in the day, a woman from Zee was fit to be tied, yelling about a book that her channel had compiled about “Pakistan’s crimes”. It was a page turner, literally. Some digital genie was turning the pages on the screen. The loud hostility to our troubled and troublesome neighbour felt eerie, when Peshawar was still burying its dead.

isro_2m1The Aam Aadmi Party has taken to the great outdoors with their posters and banners that say ‘Paanch Saal Kejriwal’. It sounds like the sentence for some awful crime. And there is an air of menace about the alternative, ‘Kejriwal, Phir Se’. ‘Mufflerman Returns’ would have been so much more striking, but Warner Bros could have sent out a copyright infringement notice.

Of course, Hollywood should be grateful for any publicity that it can get after the fiasco over The Interview, whose release was cancelled following the hacking of Sony by a group known as Guardians of Peace, who snarfed off 100 terabytes of data, ranging from actors’ fees to whole unreleased movies. The closing scene is out there, in which a projectile that looks suspiciously like an enlarged .22 bullet hits the chopper of Maximum Leader Kim Jong-un and blowtorches him in slo-mo. With that spoiler out there, the movie could not possibly do well in theatres.

The most amazing aspect of this story is that someone could leach 100 Tb (that’s one lakh gigabytes) from a company and no one noticed, not even the skinflint who pays the internet bill. Equally amazingly, hackers have used a goofy comedy to bring a Hollywood company to its knees. In comparison to this, The Pirate bay looks like a schoolboy prank, and the fact that this has been achieved by hackers in the world’s oddest country only makes it worse.

Another country which the Americans projected as odd has just got even — the excitement over the US and Cuba’s commitment to normalise ties is all the rage on TV, all of which has turned into a history channel looking back on the big chill in 1961 and the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the missile crisis that followed. The Miami Herald wonders in a headline: Where is Fidel now? More interestingly, where are those CIA boffins who had invented a chemical which was to be put into Fidel’s shoes by operatives, to make his beard fall off in public?

pratik.kanjilal@expressindia.com

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