NDTV 24×7’s We The People has always been my favorite talk show. I can watch the show just for Barkha Dutt even if the topic is of not my interest, she makes them interesting and entertaining. She handles the show very well. Even if the show has prominent people as panelists, she remains the show-stopper at the end. No wonder the show has won the Best Talk Show award at the 2009 Asian Television Award ceremony in Singapore making it a second year in a row.
One of my favorite topic that was discussed on We The People was about the National Language debate that was aired few weeks back. I never saw an actual language debate about Indian languages that really made sense. But, does the channel keeps up the standard as an English News channel? I guess not. While NDTV 24×7 boasts itself as one of the leading Indian English news channel, doesn’t it have the responsibility to deliver every bits and pieces in English? From time to time there are some Non English discussion on the channel. When it is understandable that it is not possible to translate and add subtitle immediately on a live show, is it hard to add subtitle to those parts even when they are rebroadcasted?
It would not be an issue for people who understand the particular language, but think about others who watch the channel in a belief that it is an English channel but turns out to be yet another non English news channel. Few weeks back this was in fact publicly pinpointed on the live show by the politician and poetess Kanimozhi on Vikram Chandra’s The Big Fight. I believe that people really do not care about the language of advertisements that are aired on the channel, in fact the loss is for the particular brand which actually fails to reach a considerable amount of audience even after spending a huge sum to advertise on a National Television. We are here to watch news in English and all that matters is, provide the news in English as promised.
What really makes me wonder is how could they fail to add subtitle to an episode that was actually recorded an year ago. The episode of We The People which was aired on 6th Dec 09 about Indian’s Prejudice on skin color was actually a program that was aired a year back and again it was aired few weeks back and now again. It is as usual understandable that it is not possible to add subtitle on the live show. But when you rebroadcast it after an year, it is the same. The program is not exactly aired as it was aired the first time. There were obviously some editing done in it as per the present situation. When you have time to chop off parts that you feel is not important, is it tough to actually add a few lines of translation on the Non English part? This is not only limited to talk shows but also one can notice the missing subtitles on certain news clips.
Does the channel have a lack of translators or is in a blind assumption that everyone understands what the host of the show understands? When I come across an interesting show I pass the online video link to my Non Indian friends. Few of them return to me and ask, if the show was really in English. This is not about language chauvinism or English supremacy. I honestly don’t know about the language policy of NDTV 24×7, but I know that it is an English News channel and please stick to your own agenda and provide what you actually promise.