Here’s the announcement on their webpage: CNN-IBN Indian of the Year 2010, the biggest and the most credible award of the nation is back in its 5th edition. Most credible? Right now, ‘credible’ is the last word to describe anything concerning Indian news media. Least of all a channel headed by Rajdeep Sardesai, the man who likes the line ‘Hammam mein sab nangen hain’.
The problem is when supposed ‘news’ channels start giving out awards, especially calling those awards ‘Indian Of The Year’. This blog has consistently protested a news outlet giving out awards as this is a serious conflict of interest. News channels are not investigative or spy agencies who know the goings-on behind the scene in respect of some that they choose to award. And yes, I am referring to politicians in particular. CNN-IBN’s award categories include Politics, Business, Entertainment, Sports and Public service. Awards for sports and public service categories are always welcome. Entertainment categories have plenty of their own but another award cannot cause much harm. What does harm is the politics and business category. Especially politics, one can still condone the business category.
A news outlet is meant to be a watchdog over politicians and businessmen. Therefore, instituting awards for them is a direct conflict of interest. Let us look at some past CNN-IBN IOTY winners since 2006 and current year nominations:
2006: Manmohan Singh - Now that MMS has come to be known as the head of the most corrupt government ever in Indian history, will CNN-IBN stand up and give him that award? Ordinary citizens may learn facts by hindsight, but news outlets are expected to possess prudence. A fair and reliable blog, Sandeepweb, lists MMS at no.4 on India’s most loathsome people for 2010.
2007: P. Chidambaram - To quote CNN-IBN “For engineering a spectacular growth rate and being an astute economic manager despite coalition pressures”. Since then, PC has been shunted out of the Finance Ministry. My own blog has asked him to come clean on the phone tapping and Radia tapes. Allegations by Subramanian Swamy still remain unanswered.
2008: Nitish Kumar – In a tribe of ever growing corrupt politicians the Bihar CM is one who definitely appears to stand out. Much as he is worthy of admiration, there is no justification for a news channel to be giving him awards.
2009: Rahul Gandhi – “For energising the Congress and being the key strategist behind the party's revival in Uttar Pradesh”. So energising or reviving a political party makes him ‘Indian of the year’? I can at best understand ‘Congressman’ of the year maybe. As for Rahul Gandhi the latest salvo has been fired by Ram Jethmalani and a lot of questions about Rahul remain unanswered. I am yet to be convinced the final skeleton from Rahul’s cupboard has tumbled out yet. My posts here and here express my reservations abundantly. Yet for the ass-licking news channels he must appear to be Godsend for India! The same UP strategy of Rahul was all too evident in Bihar elections. So much for his wisdom and the prudence of CNN-IBN. Sandeepweb lists him as the 2nd most loathsome person of 2010.
2010: (Nominations) Jairam Ramesh, Kapil Sibal, Mayawati (Mayawati?), Nitish Kumar, Pranab Mukherjee and Raman Singh. Some of these politicians may have done commendable work. But is it the business of a news channel to confer awards on them?
Is it any surprise that most of the winners and nominees are from the Congress? There are wisecracks who have called CNN-IBN’s program ‘Face the nation’ as “Fool the nation’. Such awards are the greatest attempt to glorify corrupt politicians, with stray exceptions. ‘Fool the nation’ doesn’t seem very far-fetched. And CNN-IBN is not the only one, watch out for the NDTV awards too. When it comes to ass-licking of politicians my bet is on NDTV to outdo CNN-IBN. Both deserve the ‘Ass-Lickers Of The Decade’ Award!
Time and history are the best judges of politicians, not some biased and slanted news channels.