Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi, Senior Journalist
Losing out in the media game in South India in general and in Tamil Nadu in particular, the Bharatiya Janata Party is planning to launch its own television channel to bolster its voice in the state. Unlike in other parts of the country, the BJP finds the media in Tamil Nadu a tough nut to crack and it has Tamil news channels that question the party with the sharpness not generally noticed elsewhere in the country.
In Tamil Nadu, the BJP clearly feels left out when it comes to mainstream media coverage, which though is objective when it comes to giving space, but unlike in other parts of India, it does not get preferential treatment and issues that it wants highlighted.
In view of this, the BJP is planning to come out with its own television channel, within this month itself. The channel will be called Janam TV, already existing in Kerala with the same name and it will be an extension of it.
Media watchers in Tamil Nadu are not surprised. Said Sumanth C Raman, political analyst and media personality, “every political party has a channel in Tamil Nadu, and BJP also finds it necessary to have its own channel to push its narratives and perspectives. Also, the mainstream media in Tamil Nadu is largely tilted towards the DMK, which is why the BJP feels the need to have a channel that will be sympathetic to it.”
The channel would be launched by the TN unit of the BJP. It is likely to be an extension of Janam TV, considered the BJP’s voice in Kerala, and will be working out of Alwarpet in Chennai.
Media analysts in Chennai said that it was not surprising development at all. Even if the channel is not commercially viable, it would get plenty of support as the party is in power in Delhi. The TN unit president K Annamalai is said to be very keen on the television channel project, which will give comprehensive coverage of the BJP’s activities, and also beam his state-wide padayatra beginning April 4, 2023.
Incidentally, even in Kerala, the Janam TV gave the party a leg up in local media presence, and suring the height of Sabarmilala controversy gained huge viewership, competing with the mainstream media channels.
(Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi is a senior journalist tracking social, economic, and political issues and takes a keen interest in sports as well. He has worked with prominent news organisations.)