[Reader-list] Shouldn’t Vir, Barkha step down now?

Aditya Raj Kaul kauladityaraj at gmail.com
Fri Nov 19 16:10:48 IST 2010

   Shouldn’t Vir, Barkha step down now?
GN Bureau | November 19 2010

Nira Radia, a PR professional – or to put it plainly, a lobbyist – dictated
what goes into senior editor Vir Sanghvi’s column and what NDTV anchor
Barkha Dutt should tell the Congress ahead of cabinet formation, going by
the telephonic conversations authorities tapped (read the transcripts
here<http://www.openthemagazine.com/>or read a report
here <http://epaper.mailtoday.in/epaperhome.aspx?issue=19112010>).

There’s much more here than merely consulting an expert before writing a
column or anchoring a story. Veteran and iconic journalists purportedly took
brief from a corporate lobbyist and purportedly coordinated the backdoor
wheeling-dealing of a cabinet formation on behalf of business tycoons, if
these tapes are authentic. While we are in no position to endorse the
content, wouldn’t these opinion-makers have asked a politician to resign
pending an inquiry?

The tapes reveal the ugly side of two of our venerable four estates.

As for the media, a veteran editor who plays a role in helping millions of
readers form opinion (we are being charitable here), stands compromised.
This is only an extension of the business of paid news (read our analysis
and the Press Council’s unpublicised report
While the other three estates have a degree of public accountability,
fourth estate goes scot free. A voter can question an MP once in five years,
but as a reader she has no way to question the editor.

As for the polity, the tapes raise the spectre of ‘corporate democracy’, for
the corporates, by the corporates and of the corporates. To stem this trend,
as a small step, shouldn’t the guardians of the public interest – Hindustan
Times and NDTV in this case – ask Sanghvi and Dutt to step down and face

Aditya Raj Kaul

India Editor
The Indian, Australia

Web: http://activistsdiary.blogspot.com/

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