This article explores two themes. First, it looks closely at the profusion of regional language news television in India, the patterns in its growth, its politics and its social impact. In particular, it looks at how political parties and politicians appropriated satellite news channels and cable networks in various states (Punjab, Chattisgarh, Tamil Nadu), why this was possible and what this means for India’s democracy and public debate. While enough has been written about India’s TV revolution, the regional languages are less explored. Indian television is growing fastest here and its direct impact on politics is also most apparent the further one goes away from Delhi.
Secondly, this article expands the canvass to explore the wider influence of television in South Asian diplomacy and its impact on the region. In particular, it looks at the politics of television during the Agra summit between Pakistan’s General Musharraf and India’s Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2001 and the changing nature of public diplomacy in South Asia.