Sunday, 16 July 2017

NDTV Nidhi Razdan - intolerant anchor?



When news anchors with an apparenlty partisan agenda take things too far


Screenshot Nidhi Razdan


NDTV's known dislike for the BJP is known even to novice or occasional news watchers. Through firebrand anchors like Barkha Dutt, Shekhar Gupta, Nidhi Razdan and many others, they work overtime as spin doctors, nitpicking everything the current dispensation does.

But the reason why Nidhi is able to stand out from the rest is her sheer shallow and incompetent role as an anchor. While Headlines Today had recruited and promoted ruthlessly biased anti BJP anchors like Rajdeep Sardesai and Karan Thapar, the anchors were able to display at least a hint of professionalism, objectivity and neutrality by either granting the BJP representatives at least 10-15 seconds of uninterrupted air time (Karan allowed even more) or by asking intelligently masked insinuating questions.Occasionally they even came up with somewhat brilliant comebacks to the responses by the BJP members. Similar is the case with anti Trump CNN news anchors like Don Lemon, who neither shout over, nor interrupt, nor reduce air time of the Trump supporters. Whenever they want to criticize the Government, they do so with well researched facts and are never hesitant to allow the Government spokespersons to express themselves clearly. 

Nidhi is apparently unable to do so not because she doesn't want to but apparently because she can't. Her whole concept of the requirement of being an anchor appears to be the  ability to express herself in limited english and style her hair, while at the same time constantly interrupting and badgering BJP spokespersons.After watching the show for numerous years, it is apparent to me, that appointing such a mediocre anchor for such an important show has been NDTV's unfortunate mistake. The show in itself, appears to raise important issues, but is sunk like the Titanic every night Nidhi Razdan is at the helm.

Arnab Goswami has already murdered panel discussions and debates and Nidhi Razdan is closely following his footsteps. Arnab however, at least betrays some sense of intelligence and his allegiance, in the few seconds that we are able to hear whats going on. Herein lies the problem. People switch over to NDTV in the hope of being able to get away from the cacophony and expect to hear at least some words of intelligence. Some of us even want to use our own intelligence by being able to hear and judge for ourselves whether the person speaking is validating his arguments with facts. We don't need an apparently ill informed self gloated Nidhi Razdan, interrupting every word in the desperate hope of hogging all the air time. 

Nidhi joined NDTV in 1999 . Her claim to fame however appears to be her " alleged" affair with former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah . It is alleged that this was the reason for Nidhi Razdan to divorce Neelesh Mishra in 2007. The fact that she is the daughter of powerful and renowned journalist Maharaj Krishan Razdan also helps. This apparently comfortable puts her in the league of protected species of India - the rather over glorified Kashmiri Pandits, whom the whole of India has to bow to on account of their Godly looks as well as the fact that they had to "leave" Kashmir. It is India's lifelong debt to Kashmiri Pandits to remain subservient to them for their "sacrifice.

Maharaj Krishan Razdan has been an extremely influential personality in the field of Indian media as Editor in Chief and Chief Executive officer of Press Trust of India.It is said that while his tenure for the post officially ended on 31st March 2016, but apparently still continues to exert his clout over India's premiere media body. It is further mentioned in another article that he would have retired "officially" from Press Trust of India by 30th September 2016. To know more about his influence and his apparent reluctance to relinquish his stature, read this article.

At the time of writing this blog, it appears that the Press Trust of India apparently does not have anything to do with him anymore, as per this link to their official website. 

Yet, when one looks up google, there is a certain Maharaj Krishan Razdan who has been appointed as Director in these 2 companies since April 2017:
 1.IN ENTERTAINMENT (INDIA) LIMITED - A subsidiary of          Times Infotainment Media Limited
 2. PLANET E-SHOP HOLDINGS INDIA LIMITED - An affiliate       of Hinduja Ventures Limited.

So maybe the influence and power still remains.



Back to Nidhi, association as program anchor of Left Right and Center seems to have started in 2012, but this may need correction. The search for earliest videos of the program on NDTV website lists 2013 and 2014.

She has been awarded Teacher's achievement award for communication(2011); Ramnath Goenka award for Excellence in Journalism for reporting from Jammu and Kashmir and North East India(2013);The Jammu and Kashmir State government award for excellence in journalism(2013) - No prizes for guessing how that happened.



Facial expressions of Nidhi Razdan while speaking to BJP spokespersons. Spewing pernicious  attitude?? Why ?



In stark contrast Nidhi Razdan listens in rapt attention hands joined, when interacting with panelists other than BJP. 


Spewing vitriolic hatred towards anything associated with the BJP has been the hallmark of her anchorage of this show:

1] When British Labor MP Barry Gardiner from Brent North and Shailesh Vara, Conservative MP for North West Cambridgeshire had invited then Chief Minister of Gujarat - Mr. Narendra Modi to the  UK , Nidhi Razdan invited  Mr. Gardiner to the show and reminded him of the Gujarat Riots and questioned him regarding the "human rights" concerns in inviting Mr. Modi. 



Nidhi Razdan interviewing Barry Gardiner in Left Right and Center



Mr. Gardiner reprimanded her, firstly for "talking over" him, secondly for failing to appreciate the verdict of the Supreme Court of India acquitting Mr. Modi, thirdly for not appreciating the fact the Mr. Modi was the Chief Minister of a state with which Britain has more FDI than the rest of the country put together. Ms Razdan conveniently also forgot that UK had ended its decade old boycott of Modi after he became the CM of Gujarat for the third consecutive time in 2012. Here is the video. Ms. Razdan could only embarrass herself further by declaring that in democracies, Indians question the Supreme Court verdicts also.



Anchor Nidhi Razdan badgering BJP National Spokesperson Dr. Sambit Patra Left Right and Center - Screenshot

2] She recently lost her cool with BJP National Spokesperson Dr.Sambit Patra and rudely threw him out of the show Left Right and Center. While most TV anchors keep harping about "intolerance" it appears it was Ms. Razdan who demonstrated her intolerance about the views of Dr. Patra, whatever they may have been. While Dr. Patra kept on requesting Ms. Razdan to let him explain himself for just 30 seconds, the anchor showed no courtesy or maturity  in her conduct but childishly informed him that it was "her show" (as opposed to being the channel NDTV's show?) and she was throwing him out. Here is video where Nidhi Razdan showcases her intolerance to any criticism.

3] Similarly the distaste for BJP ruled Haryana Government is fairly evident when the name of Gurgaon was changed to Gurugram. The invited panelists on the program suddenly realized the problems with Gurugram's infrastructure. The irony that till a few days prior to the renaming, same media would address the same place as "millenium city" just so long as the name of the city was Gurgaon. 

4] I have done an analysis of this video of the program aired on 23rd July 2014. 


The topic of discussion was "Soldier killed at LOC - India Pak to Talk" - Question : Isn't the Modi Government not that different from the UPA in dealing with Pakistan?

No. of Panelists :4

Names and designation of panelists :
  1. Vivek Katju (Former Diplomat)
  2. Shehzad Choudhary (Air Vice Marshal, Strategic Affairs Expert- Islamabad, Pakistan)
  3. Nalin Kohli (Spokesperson Bhartiya Janata Party) 
  4. Manish Tiwari(Spokesperson Congress)
The anchor never bothers to introduce panelists 3 and 4

Here is the data :

AIRTIME (allowed to speak clearly)

  1. Vivek Katju (Former Diplomat) - 304 seconds
  2. Shehzad Choudhary (Air Vice Marshal, Strategic Affairs Expert- Islamabad, Pakistan) - 217 seconds
  3. Nalin Kohli (Spokesperson Bhartiya Janata Party) - 167 seconds
  4. Manish Tiwari(Spokesperson Congress) - 190 seconds

INTERRUPTIONS BY ANCHOR NIDHI RAZDAN



  1. Vivek Katju (Former Diplomat) - 2
  2. Shehzad Choudhary (Air Vice Marshal, Strategic Affairs Expert- Islamabad, Pakistan) - 1
  3. Nalin Kohli (Spokesperson Bhartiya Janata Party)  - 7
  4. Manish Tiwari(Spokesperson Congress) - 0
The statistics speak for themselves.

Conclusion :

In the times of Post Truth and #FakeNews hashtags, the world over, media is struggling for credibility. While political leanings of media houses are not new, debates and news shows must offer the opportunity to the viewer to apply their minds and come to conclusions independently.

Left Right and Center has the potential to serve as an important platform for great discussions. It is also fortunate to have a great plethora of distinguished speakers. NDTV is also lucky that very few programs are competing for airtime in that time slot.

Unfortunately, having intolerant, inexperienced and unprofessional, (but with influential connections) anchors like Nidhi Razdan unintentionally or deliberately destroy the essence of debate and discussion based news programs. NDTV had every right to express its bias against the BJP. Throwing out spokespersons of political parties (Dr.Sambit Patra) who are simply there in their official capacities borders on crass instead of class.

In fact, in case NDTV indeed has an agenda of overthrowing the BJP out of power, Nidhi's constant BJP badgering every night on National Television is harming this agenda by generating a lot of sympathy from the intelligent and discerning viewers in favor of the BJP


There was a time when most urban Indians would abandon all their responsibilities, just to sit and watch Prannoy Roy 's programs on Doordarshan. All the guests on his shows on NDTV may have felt uncomfortable at his piercing thought provoking questions, but none felt unwelcome. It could certainly do well to either offer better training facilities to Nidhi Razdan or to grow a spine and replace her with someone mature like Vikram Chandra. I guess even Karan Thapar would be willing to take the job, now that he has been replaced (unfortunately) by another "Fire Brand Anchor" in To The Point. 

For those of you who are still critical of me for spending so much time nitpicking Nidhi Razdan, click This Link for a wonderful presentation which compares Nidhi Razdan and CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper.




Disclaimer : The views expressed are not on Nidhi Razdan as a person but a personal opinion based her persona, and performance on the show NDTV 24X7 Left Right and Centre, as well as articles and blogs on the internet. Wherever possible the links have been provided. For matters concerning the factual accuracy of the information provided in those external links, please contact the respective website administrators/ owners.For any incorrect information in this blog, please bring it to the knowledge through the comments sections supported by accurate links.





3 comments:

  1. pankaj bakshee16 July 2017 at 22:38

    "Airtime" and "anchor interruptions"!! Wonderful analysis.Left Right and Center runs because of the professional platform offered by NDTV staff . Nidhi Razdan should stop being disillusioned that it is "her" show.

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  2. This is what happens when the channel owners get carried away by pretty looks. Several more talented anchors in NDTV never given a chance

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  3. She is responsible for Kashmir problem. She kept former CM distracted

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