An appeal to Jairam Ramesh, Kapil Sibal, Mayawati, Nitish Kumar, Pranab Mukherjee and Raman Singh
You are all prominent politicians holding offices of power. You may also be well aware of the recent expose of the politician-new media nexus through the Radia tapes. For long your co-citizens have held a suspicion that all is not well with most of our journalists and news media. Would you respect any newspaper or TV news channel that frequently pats your back? If I were a minister and frequently found the media praising me I would be seriously cautious and suspicious. If such an award by a news channel were being given to you post retirement in recognition of your services to the nation then that would have been a totally different matter. That is not the case here.
The job of a news channel is to report, analyse and investigate the good and bad deeds of any public official, including all of you. To ask you questions! If instead, they go around regularly bestowing awards on you, would you really trust them? Do the people really trust them? Would you be interested in getting awards that are purely a commercial exercise backed by many corporate bodies? There is no doubt that from the current political domain you are a few that stand out for many reasons. An award from the people, a social body, a national or international development body would do your worth far more justice than an award from a twisted, biased and slanted news channel like CNN-IBN. In many ways, an award from a news channel is practically a ‘conflict of interest’.
Therefore, this is my appeal to you and to your conscience:
1. Please decline to accept the nomination or the award as CNN-IBN Indian of the year (politician)
2. Work to establish a healthy practice for all politicians not to accept awards from vested interests and the news media.
3. Participate in media events, but do not become their partner in unhealthy practices.
4. Finally, do you think you have really Impacted India so much that you deserve an award called ‘Indian of the year’? Let your conscience speak, the true Indians of every year are out there somewhere and you know them well.
I hope you will respond and act to end one of the most despicable practices of our news media. May you be the ones to set an honest example for other politicians to follow. Regardless of what else you do, such an act itself will bestow upon you the deepest respect and gratitude of the people of this great nation. You have to make your choice on which you value more!