New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) young controversial leader Varun Gandhi emerged as the new favourite of prime time TV news in the past two weeks, says a study.
The six-channel study, conducted by the media lab of Centre for Media Studies (CMS), also claims that the young politician edged out even the much-talked about Indian Premier League (IPL) in terms of news coverage.
The 29-year-old BJP leader's reported hate speeches against Muslims during an election meeting in Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh and the shifting of IPL venue outside India were among the main news events during the past fortnight, says the study.
He managed to achieve 22.57 hours of prime time coverage across six prominent channels - CNN-IBN, NDTV-24X7, Aaj Tak, Zee News, Star News and DD News, while the IPL humdrum totted up only 13.30 hours from March 16-30 between 7-11 p.m.
'All the TV channels have overplayed the issue. It was not even authenticated if the CD was original. As per the ethics of journalism, it should not have been played as it has been done especially during the elections,' Prabhakar, head of CMS media lab, told IANS.
'The news channels should have focused on crucial issues like education and poverty, which they played only for around three percent. This is no example of fairness in the media,' he added.
According to the study, Gandhi got the maximum coverage on NDTV with 7.17 hours of coverage, including 3.18 hours of special programmes, followed by CNN-IBN, which allotted 4.30 hours for the BJP leader.
A total of 207 news stories of Gandhi went on for over 11 hours of TV time while the number of special programmes were 36 which ran for around 12 hours.
The study also said CNN-IBN ran 46 news stories followed by Star News (40), NDTV (37) and Zee News (36).
On the IPL coverage, however, a total of 193 news stories appeared on TV which ran to 10.50 hours while there were nine special stories running into three hours.