A GoM meeting is scheduled tomorrow on the issue of the ‘paid news’ syndrome. About time too. The group includes P Chidambaram, Ambika Soni, Sharad Pawar and Kapil Sibal who had faced public wrath just days ago during the Anna movement.
An excerpt from the Indian Express “..An amendment in the Press Council Act to bring electronic media under its purview and make its recommendations binding…At present, TV channels self-regulate themselves through a loose federation of News Broadcasters Association. The GoM’s brief is to study the PCI report and suggest comprehensive institutional mechanism to check the corruption in media…. It also sought full empowerment to adjudicate the complaints of “paid news” and give final judgment in the matter. “A proposal to amend Section 15(4) of the Press Council Act, 1978, to make the directions of the Council binding has been pending for a long time..”
The interesting part is much of the TV news media has either been a strong lobbyist for the Congress or covered up their misdeeds through spin and deception. The extra-ordinary hit job that the some channels have done and continue to do on Narendra Modi is a job that the Congress would be very proud of. Yet a public movement forced the TV media to stay with people’s anger on corruption and that has obviously annoyed Congressmen no end. The latest mining scam disaster is one such serious issue that has been either ignored or covered up by the media for the Congress. And the cover-up almost looks like a major conspiracy. With the arrest of the Reddy brothers the target is still the BJP in the media but there is something even more sinister. The arrests are related to illegal mining not in Karnataka but in Andhra Pradesh. (Some references here are based on feed by @KiranKS on Twitter. His tweets made me search for the roots of the disaster.)
Usually when a new CM takes office the media writes a detailed bio of the person. So is true for Y.S. Rajashekhar Reddy (YSR), the late CM of AP who twice won elections to the CM’s office. Here is a link you might like to try to read up YSR’s bio: www.ndtv.com/news/india/profile_dr_y_rajasekhara_reddy.php . Don’t blame me if you came with an error page. That bio has disappeared. Truth is, the mainstream media glorified the man as a messiah so much that nobody really looked into history. I have only used the NDTV page as an example but they may not be the only ones whose pages on YSR have suddenly disappeared. You may find that in a lot of other sites.
Here’s a prelude: (Written by K. Balagopal in 2004 when YSR first became CM of AP) This is a bio you won't find in the MSM:
Raja Reddy established his credentials as a man to fear by an incident that people still talk of, nearly 50 years later. The town of Pulivendula has a sizable colony of Erukalas, a scheduled tribe, some of whom were known for their unruly ways. They were despised but feared by the higher castes, though it is rumoured that D N Reddy was not above using their crimes for his ends. One day one of them, Oosanna, tried to steal the ornaments worn by a woman of the reddy caste in the bazaar. When the woman struggled, that man cleverly exclaimed that she was his wife and was being disobedient. By the time people realised he was telling a lie, he had slipped away. Later in the day, Raja Reddy reportedly caught hold of Oosanna, dragged him to a public place, poured kerosene on him and burnt him alive. This incident made Raja Reddy a feared man, and people became willing to gather behind him in his conflicts with established leaders. By and by he established immense dominance in the area.
But he lacked money of the kind that would sustain his further rise in politics. This problem was resolved by a combination of chance and brutality just about the time that YSR entered politics. Cuddapah has deposits of the mineral barytes, which was once upon a time not a highly priced mineral. One of the mining leases was held by Venkatasubbaiah of the balija caste. Raja Reddy joined him as a junior partner/supervisor (it is not clear which), reportedly because Venkatasubbaiah believed he would be useful in controlling the workmen. Round about the mid-1970s, however, it was discovered that barytes has use in petroleum refining, and its price shot up. Raja Reddy wanted Venkatasubbaiah to hand over the mining lease to him and go. A prominent CPI leader and writer, Gajjela Malla Reddy, brokered a deal whereby Venkatasubbaiah would take Rs 11 lakh and leave the mining lease to Raja Reddy. Venkatasubbaiah refused, and was killed. The mining lease, passed into YSR's hands.
Raja Reddy is YSR’s father. I believe therein lies the roots of the mining disaster. The above is just an excerpt. The full article makes really chilling reading and I recommend you do read it to understand the background of the vicious YSR regime that prevailed in AP.
Some more tweets from @KiranKS (September 5)
Reddy brothers played perfect double game. Politically they backed BJP & Business-wise backed Congress. Big names will roll if they go down
If Reddy brothers were so bad, why did Congress CM YSR lobby for 1000cr loan, allocate 10000 acre land & even divert water for them in AP??
TV Media would not even report that Reddy brothers made profit in Congress ruled Andhra, BEFORE their plant began! humsurfer.com/gali-steel-fac…
Brahmani Steel’s proposed sale to the Jindals did not materialise. Brahmani is a company that received land allocation, illegitimate water supply assurance and doesn’t manufacture anything. All this under YSR’s AP. Now, there is this phenomenal financial rise of Jagan Reddy (YSR’s son) from around 9 lakhs in 2003 to thousands of crores by 2011. I don’t think the great scam that YSR ran in AP needs any further explanation. The facts of the story are brilliantly laid out by Sudhir Kumar on his blog titled ‘The great loot of Andhra Pradesh’. Reading that post would be enough education.It would be education for the MSM too.
Did the mainstream media really have no knowledge about all this? Paid news is only one problem when the overall corruption in the media is considered. If not for the media the Congress couldn’t have ruled AP the way they do. It’s not just a mining disaster for the Reddy brothers, the roots are with YSR and with the media.