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! !


  1. Dear Mr.Jha,
    Manu Joseph did not talk about Ranjan Bhattacharya becoz the show was not about him. It was about barkha’s culpabilitiy (or not, depending on whom you believe). Anyway Ranjan Bhattacharya was saying that Mukesh Ambani said sthing. Do u think Manu Joseph or for that matter anybody cud take such third hand information and start doing stories. You lost me there Mr.Jha. When people are fighting tooth and nail against incriminating evidence, you say they should’ve taken the remarks of self obsessed remarks and start grilling the likes of Ambanis. I am no supporter of Manu Joseph (coz I’ve seen very less of him to form an opinion and he too did not answer some questions raised by Barkha) but this doesn’t mean the people who are caught having egg on their face be overlooked so that they can wipe themselves clean without anybody noticing.

  2. Mr Jha, u seems to be a Bihari and we have seen in which gutter congress is lying in Bihar. So its time to realize the truth and stop supporting congress. Congress is opposite of progress they made the golden bird Bharat into bhukha naanga India. They did not give independence to India but just took credit of what great fighters like Bose, Bhagat singh and Azad did. So if you want India to progress stop promoting Congress.

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