By Sanjay Jha
Poor Manu Joseph, Editor of in-the-news OPEN ! He did not read the same taped transcripts (Radiagate, if you please) that he printed in his own OPEN magazine closely enough on the 2 G scam. Joseph expressed deep anguish at Indian media’s ( and more specifically, NDTV Group Editor Barkha Dutt’s) alleged moral turpitude in having an animated exchange with the controversial lobbyist Niira Radia. For some preposterous reason, bordering on obsession, he was extremely perturbed that NDTV did not choose a headline story that he strongly believed should have been the case when Radia lobbied for DMK politicians in the UPA-2 cabinet allocations. Quite a bullying character, this Joseph!
Joseph looked as if he had been morally bankrupted by Barkha’s conversations with Nira Radia. The humongous angst was understandable as was the supposed indignation about the negative repercussion on the media fraternity overall. So far ,so good! But he clearly missed the woods for the trees. In fact, completely, almost by a mile. By studiously targeting just Dutt alone, he revealed a petty , puerile and pedestrian attempt to embarrass his TV counterpart in media journalism. To the full credit of NDTV and Dutt, they took the bull by the horns literally, by inviting seasoned veterans of the print media and newbie Joseph. But Dutt’s indiscretions ( which she politely and honestly acquiesced was an “ error of judgment” ) pale into virtual insignificance when compared to what I feel is several damning statements on those tapes involving some celebrated heavyweights. One of them is Mukesh Ambani ( so far only Tehelka has brought this up in its latest issue in an interview , and Siddharth Varadarajan in The Hindu).
Ranjan Bhattacharya is quoted as saying that Mukesh Ambani told him “ Haan yaar Ranjan, Congress to ab apni dukaan hai”. Did you read that Manu? Or were you so prodigiously excited to just hear Barkha’s voice on the tape, that you considered the other deadly damaging disclosures as mere cipher-like exposes , pure zilch. Zero-value goose eggs?
Interestingly, Ranjan Bhattacharya is the foster son-in-law of former BJP PM Atal Behari Vajpayee. Ask Arun Shourie for further details.
Mukesh Ambani is India’s leading industrialist and on the Forbes billionaires list.
The Indian National Congress party is the party that won India its freedom in 1947 and is currently in power. And which I publicly support.
Frankly, if Mr Joseph and Mr Vinod Mehta of Outlook really want to passionately care for Indian media’s supposed fast-dwindling moral fibre, why didn’t they just go the whole hog in finding out the exactitude of those loaded statements instead of playing personality-bashing of others who are actually just minor distractions, by comparison?
Is Bhattacharya speaking the truth?
If so, what did Mukesh Ambani mean when he talked about his “ shopping list”. ?
And how does Congress intends to defend itself against that nasty slur?
Why aren’t Outlook and Open’s journalists camped outside of Attila on a crusading mission?
In the age of WikiLeaks, shouldn’t this story be a child’s play for a determined values-based investigative media house that Outlook and Open portend to be ? Could this be the ultimate breakthrough in the politician-bureaucracy-business sleazy nexus?
Sure, the Indian media needs to do some serious rework in terms of its professional dealings with PR firms, politicians, lobbyists and especially powerful business lobbies, but there is more to correcting our moral and ethical imbalance than mere self-flagellation . I write this as one who has been part of the digital media world for over a decade.
Manu, in next week’s OPEN issue let us see you do some real “ breaking news” story instead of wasted blank pages, and also before we watch your agitated countenance mouthing hollow indignation at fellow commentators. The buck now stops with Mr Mehta and you ! Seriously man, we are waiting! !