Hackgate has been one of the biggest controversies in Britain. The alleged illegal and unethical practices of the mightiest media conglomerate led to the end of a 168 year old weekly.
It saw the media mogul Rupert Murdoch being summoned by the Commons, government officers resigned so did it saw top newspapers executives and so far 10 people have been arrested. Not to mention that the Prime Minister David Cameron has been forced to cut short his Africa tour in order to attend Prime Ministers questions.
Looking at the way the system, government and media machinery functions here for almost a year it makes me feel that the we should have had a ‘Raj’ hangover of different kind.
Not denying the fact that it took eight long years and two inquires which led to nothing substantial, this one is turning out to be mother of all investigations so far. As an Indian national watching the developments from ringside I figure out five points that wouldn’t harm if we have a ‘Raj’ hangover.
The way events are unfolding it’s all playing to the gallery, with television cameras bringing the parliamentary proceedings and that of the committee into people’s living room. Contrary to our parliamentary committee proceedings about which we the people hear via sources, reports and committee findings. The line of Q&A’s is never known. Those involved chicken out on the mention of being transparent. (the most recent being Lokapal bill meetings and the hearings in Radia tapes).
There is a great notion of being accountable to the people. Leaders and officials when in dock own up to their doings and wrong doings. Former Prime minister Tony Blair was summoned second time early in January before the Iraq enquiry and the proceedings were televised, neither Labour party nor Blair loyalist made a hue and cry like their counterparts in our country. Today Cameron said, if proven that Andy Culson was involved in Hackgate he would issue an apology to the house and said in hindsight the appointment was error of judgement. While our leaders hardly own up to their error of judgements leave aside appearing before a committee and that too in public view. Look at the drama over Radia tapes and formation of Joint Parliamentary committee; it stopped the house from functioning.
It is amazing for an Indian to see a parliament that functions, goes about fulfilling its duties and moreover the MP’s abiding by the word of the speaker. Whatever be the debate questions are raised, answered and speaker is above everyone else in the house. Full house or less attendance the house functions without failing and it has the power to call high and mighty for being questioned. Murdochs could not defy when summoned.
As mentioned it took long for Hackgate to reach where it has, but this time around the speed of investigations and committee hearings have been done at a lightning speed. That apart in the MPs expenses scandal that was brought to light in May 2009, so far six MP’s have been pleaded guilty and sentenced. Can we ever imagine this to happen in India, our Kalmadi’s still get a VIP treatment even while waiting for the cab in the prison? Common wealth game scam, Adarsh Scam, Cash for votes, Radia Tapes the list goes on without a single outcome.
Most importantly the government doesn’t hide behind the coalition dharma disguise. Members in the coalition can voice different opinions, but the government takes appropriate action. In the Hackgate David Cameron is being questioned by both his MP’s and by those of Liberal Democrats and responding in all fairness. We can’t even dream of PM, or UPA chairperson ever being questioned, if someone does they are shown the door.
Is anyone listening?