Press Esc to close
Wednesday 26 July 2017
News updated at 1:54 PM IST

Anchored in mire

Last updated: 22 November, 2010

''Journalists are only exp-ected to be witnesses.''

While the 2G spectrum scandal has unfolded, it has exposed the involvement of a number of individuals, offices and institutions in different ways in it. Irregularities of such massive proportions could not been planned and resorted to by a minister and some bureaucrats.

The prime minister was told by the supreme court to explain his delay in acting on a request for action against the minister. While this was a matter of omission, instances of more active involvement by others have also come to light. The Centre for Public Interest Litigation has submitted to the apex court taped conversations between a lobbyist, Niira Radia, and politicians and journalists.

The recordings were said to have been made by the income tax department in 2008 and 2009 and show the access the lobbyist had to important information in the Central government and to high-level political decisions. There is no reason to believe that the tapes are concocted.

The influence that the lobbyist wields in the corridors of power, as it comes through the tapes, is a matter of concern. Of equal, and perhaps greater, concern is the role of some journalists, as their conversations with Radia show, in matters concerning politics and government. Senior journalist Vir Sanghvi and prominent television newsperson Barkha Dutt have figured in them.

The content and tenor of the conversations go beyond the normal relationship between journalists and their sources and contacts. There was also an indication of tailoring news to suit the interests represented by the lobbyist.

Journalists are only expected to be witnesses and chroniclers of events. They need background information and may sometimes have to interact closely with decision-makers or others close to them to understand events better and to interpret them. But if they become players in the events the credibility of the profession will be lost.

Journalism in the country has received unfavourable attention in the recent past for practices like paid news. But it has also won praise for its activist role in exposing corruption and misconduct, including in the 2G scam.

Going beyond the professional line and entering the politicians’ and lobbyists’ worlds produces a conflict of interest for journalists. That amounts to using the profession for wrong purposes. It will lead to loss of people’s trust in them and in the media.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Newly sworn-in President Ram Nath Kovind inspecting a guard of honour in the forecourt...

Newly sworn-in President Ram Nath Kovind inspecting a guard of honour in the forecourt...

Tri-services guards leave after the swearing-in ceremony of the 14th President of India, at Vijay...

Tri-services guards leave after the swearing-in ceremony of the 14th President of India, at Vijay...

Indian Youth Congress activists hold placards during a silent protest against BJP and suspension...

Indian Youth Congress activists hold placards during a silent protest against BJP and suspension...

A view of Parliament after heavy rains in New Delhi on Tuesday....

A view of Parliament after heavy rains in New Delhi on Tuesday....

Fire brigade and NDRF personnel carrying out a search and rescue operation following a building...

Fire brigade and NDRF personnel carrying out a search and rescue operation following a building...

A Haj pilgrim displays her affection with her relative at Hajj House Bemina in Srinagar on Tuesday..

A Haj pilgrim displays her affection with her relative at Hajj House Bemina in Srinagar on Tuesday..

Members of the Kangleipak Students' Association (KSA) demand constitutional protection...

Members of the Kangleipak Students' Association (KSA) demand constitutional protection...

India's Ravichandran Ashwin tosses a ball during a training session ahead of the first test...

India's Ravichandran Ashwin tosses a ball during a training session ahead of the first test...

Actors Anil Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor promote their upcoming movie

Actors Anil Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor promote their upcoming movie "Mubarakan" in New Delhi...

A view of waterlogged George Town Police Station after heavy rains in Allahabad on Tuesday...

A view of waterlogged George Town Police Station after heavy rains in Allahabad on Tuesday...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.