Why none of us saw Harbhajan slap Sreesanth

Shekhar Gupta in The Indian Express:

“The BCCI has now come to acquire powers over media coverage on its own doings and performance that nobody in India has ever been able to arrogate to themselves, not under Mayawati, or Sanjay Gandhi during the Emergency. During the Emergency, the government censored our newspapers, it got some inconvenient editors fired, but it did not appoint its own employees as our editors.

“Look at what the BCCI has achieved. It has hired Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, two of India’s most-loved former cricketers and commentators, on its own “commentary” team and irrespective of which channel wins the bid for covering cricket in India, it has to use these — in this case the BCCI’s — commentators. Incidentally, both are also members of the IPL governing council.

“In fairness, you have to state that almost all cricketing boards would insist on clearing the list of commentators on their sports channels. But I do not believe any carries its own hired, contract-bound voices to cover its own activities. To an old-fashioned media-person and a public commentator like this columnist, this is shocking, institutionalised censorship.

“You want to know how this censorship works? Find out why nobody ever saw any footage of Bhajji slapping Sreesanth in the last edition of the IPL. Because the BCCI had control over the Sony cameras and it seems the footage was destroyed. Would Sharad Pawar have managed to do it if an MP slapped another in Parliament?

“Cricket, even more than politics, is a game played in public, for the public; it’s not a private party, and nobody should have the power to censor it.”

Read the full article: Conflicts of cricket