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The Buck Stops Here?

Niira Radia at the ED Office

So much has been written and talked about the taped phone conversation transcripts of Niira Radia. I read the full text this last week-end and have reached the conclusion that it is like a Balance Sheet: it conceals much more than what it actually reveals. 
I ask myself - what would one expect from all these people whose names have appeared in the various phone conversations, considering our “corrupt-to-the-core” politics and business practices:

·         Niira Radia – She is the top PR Woman in the country today - a highly “connected” and a very well known “fixer” and a “political lobbyist” in the corporate world – do we really expect her to be CLEAN?
·         Politicians of the topmost corrupt order: DMK (Delhi Money for Karunanidhi) Team: MK & Family, Raja included. What would we expect their telephone conversation to be like? We haven't heard the worst, not just yet!
·         Doormats at the Congress High Command – Ahmed Patel and GNA (Ghulam Nabi Azad): Better  not to waste precious time & space writing about them.
·         Corporate Heads like Mukesh & Anil Ambani, Sunil “Airtel” Mittal: They are already well known & infamous for using political connections and links purely for commercial gains. 
·        Suhel Seth? India is full of this breed – they are known as several names – Socialites, Urban Elites, Armchair Critics, Idle Commentators, Twitteratti etc. Their job is only to comment from the sidelines and they never contribute a cent worth to the Society. Their only job is to look for opportunities for 30 seconds of personal fame on English News Channels, mainly thanks to Arnab Goswami. Sample this: yesterday he Tweeted and I quote “Please watch Times Now at 9.10pm tonigjt!!! Will spear the politicos...” This is it, nothing more to add. 

The most unexpected name was Ratan Tata – this was a shocker and truly disappointed that his name shows up there. His conversation with Niira was limited to harmless trivia and some Delhi Power Gossip; never ventured into anything even remotely indicating “political lobbying,” yet, the very fact that he is now grouped together with the likes of Mukesh, Anil and Sunil puts me off completely. I thought he stood apart as a much taller Business Leader than any of these new generation Big Boys of the corporate world.

Barkha Dutt                  Vir Sanghvi
Now, Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi – Yes, the buck stops here!!
First off, its a shame that the Main Stream Media (Print & TV) has once again failed the country and the very profession of Journalism by going completely silent on both Barkha and Vir. 
Except for the magazines who took the lead in publishing the transcripts and the two leading national newspapers, who followed up the story instantly and carried related articles on the unethical and corrupt intent and practices of these two legendary and hip journalists of the 21st century. Why all the leading news channels kept themselves away from covering these  two powerful journalists? Why, the ever-so-jingoist Arnab Goswami, never talked about these two names? But he still keeps the Kalmadi Torch alive even after more than 3 months?
The fact is they are equal partners in this crime, just that these two names have been exposed. They are basically serving their designated objectives and are nothing more than a mouthpiece of their Masters. They have no voice of their own and are completely “sold-out” to the corrupt politicians and criminal businessmen. This is the actual level and the standard of our leading news channels.
Of course, there are exceptions who have fearlessly condemned, published and exposed their own and they are our only hope as fine examples of the Indian Journalism & Free Press.
I just can't resist myself putting some highlights of the original text transcripts of the phone conversation:

Barkha Dutt: (Emphasis mine)
 “Oh God. So now what? What should I tell them? Tell me what should I tell them?”
“No, I know. We have taken that off. We have taken that off...”
“That's not a problem, I'll talk to Azad right after I get out of RCR.”
 “No, I'll set it up as soon as they get out of RCR.”
“No, you see Congress's condition is Baalu should not get Surface Transport. Not Baalu, DMK should not get surface transport, beyond individuals right?”
“You see, what happened was everybody I know in the Congress was at the swearing in, so I haven't been able to speak with the top guys, and now I just finished and I am going to make my set of calls.”
And she has the audacity to Tweet that she was saddened with all this and it was a part of her duty as a journalist to dig out & seek information – do we need to say more? Do we need to comment further on the Padmashree and various other Awards? Sab kuch saaf-saaf dikh raha hai, Barkha!

Vir Sanghvi: (Emphasis mine)
What kind of story do you want? Because this will go as Counterpoint, so it will be like most-most read, but it can't seem too slanted, yet it is an ideal opportunity to get all the points across.”
“But see Anil can't afford to give interviews because he will be asked about Amar Singh, so many things, so the advantage Mukesh has is that he can talk and there is nothing for him to be embarrassed about. So many skeleton's in Anil's closet that he doesn't want to clarify. If he comes on, he says. 'Amar Singh is my close friend,' he is f****d. If he comes on, he says, 'I have no relations with Amar Singh,' Amar Singh will kill him. I mean there are so many awkward things, so Anil has decided to avoid the media. Mukesh doesn't have that problem. Mukesh can talk straight, can say things. You can rehearse. You can work out a script in advance. You can go exactly according to the script. Anil can't do any of those things, no?”
“No, it has to be fully scripted. I have to come in and do a run through with him before.”
“We have to rehearse it before the cameras come in.”
“Then it is worth doing.”
“Yeah. That message we will get across, but what other points do we need to make?”
“I was supposed to meet Sonia today, but I’ve been stuck here. So, now it’s becoming tomorrow. I've been meeting with Rahul, but tell me?”

Mr. Vir Sanghvi – not a Vir at all from whichever possible angle I see him. With this expose he has turned out to be a real coward, a Fakir - who is completely bankrupt as far as the ethics & values of a journalist are concerned. He lost his manhood just by asking this slave-like question regarding the kind of story that his Master wants on his most popular column - Counterpoint. Just by growing stubble and a little bit of Delhi-style aggression, you don't become Vir.
Moreover, not only are they corrupt but they have also shown how stupid and empty minded they are. They are supposed to be specialists in the business of Journalism where sting-operations and expose are routine – but they themselves are caught on tapped phone conversations.
This incident also goes to show how easy it is to make money & fame these days, just by digressing a little from the line of values and ethics; even win wards and become a celebrity journalist with a little bit of help from a Niira Radia, a Mukesh Ambani or Ahmed Patel. The fact is, no media house worth its salt (I can think of only BBC at this moment) would ever tolerate even for a day, the likes of Barkha or Vir caught in such a mess. Only here in India we live and tolerate such degenerated souls and still follow them on Twitter & FB.
Shame them, I say! They both are hyper-active on Twitter, with Barkha @ 200,000 plus and Vir @ 400,000 plus followers. They both should be socially isolated, deserted and their fan-followers must stop following them. How can they continue to enjoy this celebrity status granted to them by 600,000 plus followers put together, on Twitter? Unless we see this happening in real terms, it would only go to show that we Indians have grown completely insensitive & apathetic towards such deep rooted and ugly corruption, favouritism and nepotism in our society. Why talk about the corrupt politicians then? Let us show these people that it is not “Cool” anymore to follow a corrupt Vir or Barkha, just like a corrupt politician. We do not need any court judgement, legal technicalities or legally valid evidence to stop following them on their programs, on Twitter or on FB and completely stop supporting all such corrupt professionals.

As for the Naive audience of India and Bharat: Consider this a wake-up call, to truly evaluate & understand the “face-value” of what is being dished out on TV channels. We are so gullible and easy-to-please as a Nation - we still consider Reality Shows as Real, so much so that we cry and rejoice along with the contestants.

Last Minute Update: Just before this post goes on-line, I must add here that some news channels have finally started talking about Barkha & Vir – whether it is due to the huge and ever-mounting Twitter pressure or a belated self-awakening, to put it very mildly – Too little too late! This is Stale News and we do not want anything of this anymore!!

Comments

  1. Having written so many negative things about the Indian Media, I must reproduce here this fine piece from an internal note from Arnab Goswami of Times Now to all his co-workers:

    QUOTE:
    ------
    Colleagues,

    There has been news about two senior journalists from other media groups being involved in collaborating with corporate lobbyists and corporate groups on the 2G scam issue. This is a low point in the news business. It’s downright shameful. I am writing to reiterate some of the core values of the group and the channel. We believe in fierce editorial independence and complete personal honesty. Our standards have to remain impeccably high. In your interactions at any level, remember that you are ambassadors of India’s number one news channel. In an earlier edit meeting, I have said that even a pass into a stadium that’s accepted free amounts to being compromised, and today I am writing to reassert that. No gifts, no favours, no lobbying, no free dining and wining, no cash, no kind, no pass, no trip, no holiday, no promise, no passes, no special treatment, no tall or short claims, no disrespect to the organization that you represent and the group that we are all a part of, no loose talk, no flexibility on values, will be accepted. If I hear of any, we will come down hard, and no exceptions will be made...

    —Arnab’
    ----

    UNQUOTE:

    Courtesy: One of the comments on Swapan Dasgupta's Blog - Usual Suspects: http://www.swapan55.com/2010/11/radia-tapes-dont-shoot-every-caller.html

    Ashish.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is like 'Bhed Chaal', every body after one or the other story running, chasing but not taking any story to its logical conclusion. This one too will die its natural death in due course, rest assured Ashihji.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Mr. SRA: I agree!
    a) No story will reach its logical end;
    b) In such a situation, it is up to us to REJECT and SOCIALLY ISOLATE all Vir's and Barkha's from our respective personal networks.
    My next post would be on these two points.
    Regards / Ashish.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yeah. That message we will get across, but what other points do we need to make?”
    “I was supposed to meet Sonia today, but I’ve been stuck here. So, now it’s becoming tomorrow. I've been meeting with Rahul, but tell me?”

    Read More: http://ashishjauhari.blogspot.com/2010/11/buck-stops-here.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. In my work area (I work in a gym) I have to divide some tasks with other "teachers"...But when I have to work alone in certain days the buck stops with me for the simple fact that I'm alone :P

    ReplyDelete

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