30 April 2016 By Vibodh Parthasarathi and Alam Srinivas
India’s cable industry is a buoyant market. Much of that is in the hands of local politicians who use cable companies to reach their constituencies, stave off unfavorable reporting or to influence regulation. The situation is not at all kosher; but nobody seems to be concerned.
In 2011, an investigative TV documentary on illegal iron ore mining in Bellary, situated north of India’s IT city of Bangalore, Karnataka, was aired by CNN-IBN, a leading English news channel. The documentary was blacked out on local cable networks in seven districts in Karnataka, including Bellary. The cable network in this mining town, called DEN Bellary City Cable, was then partly-owned by Bellary Sreeramulu, former minister in the state government and a business associate of the three Reddy brothers (Karunakara, Janardhana and Somashekara), who owned several mines in the area, besides being ministers in several governments in Karnataka.