Tag Archives: Mail TOday

Radiagate part-II: Time to come to the point

From no news to national debate Radiatapes have come a long way in three weeks.

Braving an almost entire media blackout the first time around and generating hi octane sentiments with the media fraternity when Open Magazine took the lid off the Pandora’s box revealing select conversations between lobbyist Niira Radia and some journalists, the tapes managed to stir a national debate when Outlook magazine managed to do a desi Wikileaks second time around.

Outlook managed to add 800 tape conversations to Radiagate episode I inturn widening the array actors involved, provided enough spice for everyone to fuel their food for thought.

This time around few corporate, politicians were added and thankfully or not no new casualties on the Journalistic front except for couple of reaffirmation. Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi again made their way to Radiagate episode two.

This little breathing space provided enough space for media to beat around the bush, hold debates claim themselves to be the guardians of fourth pillar of democracy and go on calming first to report, whatever it takes.

Headlines like:

Taps unavoidable, but need utmost care: PM

Judge puts ex-CJI in dock over Raja

Was ex-CJI Balakrishnan aware of Raja influencing judge?

Radia tapes hurting India story: HDFC chairman

Corporate concern over phone tapping justified?

Nira Radia’s web: wider than we thought

What about the bigger question, SO WHAT?

We now know this is how the cookie crumbles, what next? Is Radia being charged, any action being taken on those trying to influence policy matters? Have any of the media outlets and editor cum owners cum custodians of truth come and shed light on the bigger issue of ethics?

All the new entrants in the media fray barring Mail Today, The Hindu and Outlook (open almost closed after kick starting the debate) are busy asking corporate India/politicians/ judiciary to look inwards, but what about walking the talk themselves.

Headlines are being blown out of proportions to push the big allegation on the fraternity under the carpet.

We know how politicos function in our country, how businessmen arm twist system for larger gains, but we only heard whispers saying journalism too are corrupt and when this whisper is being reinforced by a strong backing of tapes, time journalists accept where they faltered and try restoring some faith back in people.

High time the media houses adhere to the iconic motto line they boast.

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Unfair Media Trial

A media trial in the real sense of word is underway in India. Media is under trail, those in question are some of the leading brand names in the world of Indian journalism.

The list of those featured in the infamous tapes in question are Barkha Dutt and Prabhu Chawla, group editors of NDTV and India Today respectively, Vir Sanghvi, editorial director of Hindustan Times, M. K Venu, senior business journalist and the managing editor of Financial Express are there to name some.

While most of the leading dailies and broadcasters have stayed away from publishing (owing to complexities of their names in some way or the other being associated with those who feature in the list) or airing the debate, some magazines and tabloids have kept their focus on the trial.

But there are some inherent similarities in all these none of them dialled these people involved in the tapes for their takes and they were selective.

There are close to over 100 tape conversation according to the Outlook report and have doyens of the industrialist like Ratan Tata featuring in it, but its only two Dutt and Sanghvi who are being portrayed as villains in most reports.

Their responses are nowhere to be quoted making it a one-sided report. Though Outlook is carrying Dutt’s tweets and letters from NDTV and Open magazine on its website, it still misses the simple quote from the duo under spot.

Barkha Dutt tweets: “Question for Mail Today’s so called “campaign.” Why doesnt it mention journalists from its own group who are on the tapes? Convenient.” She raises a valid question, as names of Prabhu Chawla and Shankar Aiyar (then with India Today Group) are also featured.

In the Ratan Tata conversation Radia observes the media has become very greedy and it won’t give someone who advertises heavily bad publicity.

This is a very serious allegation and a harsh reality in some media outlets. The tape scam gives the fraternity to come out clean and ensure that the sanctity of the profession remains intact in public eye.

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Half baked truth served

The media onslaught on the 2G scam tapes continue though selectively.

Weekly magazine Outlook came with the story on their cover day after Open magazine put it out.

So far so good, but I have an issue with the way reports have come out.

They reveal conversations, and whole lot of them but they just give one side of the story; calls made.

There is no trace of what the journalists have to say, though outlook on its website has posted the letter by NDTV and provided a link to Barkha Dutts twitter, but that does not serve the purpose. From a seasoned editor like Vinod Mehta this wasn’t expected.

They also have more conversations including other journalists, Nira Radia, bureaucrats, industrialists etc. If they had a story as big as this they should have allowed a chance for these people to make their point.

I can understand Open magazine worrying about reports being curbed, but with outlook that looks unlikely?

Mail Today, too dedicated a page to the 2G tapes, but same issue no voice of Dutt, Sanghvi or Radia.

Credit does go to these media outlets for taking the issue up and pointing fingers towards fellow journalists, but a few more calls from tem would have held them in better position.

How will the ‘Phone a friend saga’ unfold is anyone’s guess, chances of it dying the slow death are high, but I feel media houses should participate and clean the rut in the system.

This looks unlikely for there are far too many skeletons in every closet.

However a good change to see, how those who pose allegations face them now.

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