Throughout the evening on July 19 most Indian news channels were live with the British Parliament hearings of the NOTW-Murdoch phone hacking scandal. Some even had expert panellists to comment on the proceedings. The NOTW scandal isn’t about just phone hacking but also about bribing police officials, nepotism in recruitment and the connection of journalists with top politicians of the UK. Our media celebrities then went on a discourse on media ethics. If anything, the corrupt media in India is far worse than the one in Britain. Out there someone did expose the corrupt practices but here in India the media follows the Rajdeep Sardesai ethic of “Hammam Mein Sab Nange Hain”!
So enamoured with the hearings was one media celebrity that she sent out this tweet:
BDUTT barkha dutt
Could India ever hope for such a transparent and civilised inquisition as the one unfolding in UK right now. That would be the day.
Yes indeed! That would be the day! But prior to that NDTV needs to hold a mirror to itself. This is the channel whose most prominent media celebrity, Barkha Dutt, was in the midst of the Nira Radia scam and is accused of power-brokering. NDTV’s muddled financial dealings were also exposed by The Sunday Guardian. NDTV is also the channel whose head, Prannoy Roy, is accused of being let of by CBI. NDTV is also the channel whose journalist, Sunetra Choudhury, is on leave from 13th July. Sunetra Choudhury had to write an article in the DNA newspaper about a top UPA politician insulting her modesty with sexual innuendos. Yeah, this is the NDTV that wouldn’t stand up for its own journalist and put that politician in the dock. Barkha Dutt should have been fired long back and NDTV should have shut down by now. A prominent financial news journalist wonders how the loss making NDTV continues to receive funding. “Transparency and civilised inquisition”, Indeed!
As a wag puts it: “Act like Rebekah Brooks and talk like Mother Theresa”!
It doesn’t stop there. As if in a divine turn of events the Cash-for-votes scam has surfaced again due to court intervention. Some key players have been arrested and all roads seem to be leading to Amar Singh. He is, of course, the media’s once favourite politician who sang songs on NDTV. The sting operation tapes which CNN-IBN had were not aired in July 2008 before the parliament voted on the no-confidence motion. There was tall talk of ethics by Rajdeep Sardesai then. Dirty politics and politicians would have been exposed and the course of the nation could have been altered. Now, Rajdeep of the ‘Hammam...’ fame claims credit for the sting and expose. There was no expose because the tapes were not aired but were suppressed for reasons best known to Rajdeep Sardesai. He is the guy on July 19 during the UK parliament hearings who stated “Indian media doesn’t have such tabloid culture”! No, Indian media has worse. Many of our media celebrities are pawns of politicians and practically political players themselves. The media exists to curb abuse of power but in India the major players have themselves joined the party.
Corruption and Corrupt politicians exist and thrive because of corrupt media. The media silence on Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Robert Vadhera, Sahara group, Paid news, Reliance group and many such issues get successfully covered up due to a compliant media. For these celebrities to talk about ethics following the UK hearings is a terrible joke. If anything people like Rajdeep Sardesai and Rahul Kanwal have actually cut off people who even want to talk about the corruption by Sonia Gandhi and the Gandhi family. Besides these channels are too busy doing the Bollywood nonsense with every week’s new releases and their actors and directors. Let’s also not forget they are also into kitchens, couches, nights out, saas-bahu and so on. Real news and real reporting is like a part-time lover.
As if all that wasn’t enough out comes the news of the arrest of Ghulam Nabi Fai of Kashmir American Council. He’s the guy who had many sympathisers of Kashmir Azaadi from India at various conferences and meetings. Journalists, politicians, humanitarians have been involved with him. Among names associated with him at some time and in some way or the other that are coming out are Kuldip Nayar, Rajinder Sachar, Arundhati Roy, Dileep Padgaonkar and the list may be longer. Turns out for over two decades Fai’s organisation was being funded by the ISI of Pakistan.
Indian media is not all corrupt. But the ones that are corrupt are not just hand-in-glove with corrupt politicians but may even turn out to be unwittingly assisting anti-national elements like Ghulam Nabi Fai.
Shall we say – Fai Accompli, mediacrooks?