India's media in blanket coverage of Bhutto


Related: News teams mobilize to cover Bhutto slaying

NEW DELHI -- Following Thursday night's nonstop television coverage of Benazir Bhutto's assassination on every Indian news network, Friday morning broke to the major dailies here devoting reams of print to the tragedy in Pakistan.

"Democrazy! Benazir Killed" read the headline in leading business paper the Economic Times, owned by one of India's oldest newspaper groups, Mumbai-based Bennett Coleman. That company also operates the Times Now news network in partnership with Reuters Television.

Most news networks continued their nonstop coverage Friday, relying on a mix of international feeds and Pakistani channels, while some networks like New Delhi Television, which runs English and Hindi news channels, added reporting from their Pakistan correspondents. The Indian government issued an alert stepping up security across the India-Pakistan border.

CNN-IBN (a joint venture with New Delhi-based Indian Broadcasting Network) television journalist Karan Thapar shared his memories of Bhutto, going back to their student days when she was at Oxford and Thapar at Cambridge, in an article in English daily, the Hindustan Times. Thapar said he last spoke with Bhutto four days ago and warned her to be careful, given the earlier attempt on her life, to which Bhutto responded, "Karan, I can't live with fear in my heart. I can't fight terror scared of the terrorist."

"Karachi, where I live, is pretty much a ghost town today from what we've gathered from news reports," Pakistan-based director Mehreen Jabbar said in an interview Friday with The Hollywood Reporter. "Rangers (Pakistan special security forces) have been called out with orders to shoot on sight. Local TV stations are reporting nonstop on the event, with reporters in many parts of the country. Bhutto has been called 'shaheed' (martyr) on some channels -- some are reporting in a factual manner, while others are more emotional."

Jabbar is directing the upcoming feature "Ramchand Pakistani," starring Indian actress Nandita Das as a Hindu Pakistani woman whose husband and son are imprisoned in India after they accidentally cross the embattled border.

"The headline in (English daily) the News said 'Cry the Beloved Country.' So from that you can judge what the feelings are right now. I think it's a unanimous view that we have lost a courageous and liberal leader, despite differences in opinion about her and her past rule," said Jabbar, who is the daughter of Pakistan's former information minister Javed Jabbar.