This is what happened to the Tatas now!
Ratan Tata trips and his image battered!
Media misconduct and unethical practices
Radia telephone tapes revelations!
Ratan Tata is the most powerful industrialist of India. He controls a vast empire and his group is claimed to spend about Rs.600-Rs700 crores on advertisement and publicity.
So, we can imagine that media companies, like NDTV and Hindustan Times and their senior journalists would have gladly obliged, if that is the right word, to do the biddings of Tata and his powerful lobbyist.
This is what has happened. When the issue comes into the open, in the public domain, Tata gets frightened. His company’s carefully cultivated image, as the most sophisticated company with some core values of public commitment etc takes a beating.
This is in simply language what is hurting now Tata’s conscience.
So, the old BPL man, Rajya Sabha MP. Rajeev Chandrashekar with a telecom story behind him now takes on Tata right on the ethical and other moral issues that were sued and misused to gain unfair and unethical advantages.
The so-called Nira Radia telephone tapes where we hear the reputed journalists, Burkha Dutt of NDTV and Vir Sanghvi of the Hindustan Times were heard to have talked with the high profile corporate lobbyist, Nira Radia (who charged fees ranging to Rs.30 crore from each of the Tata and Reliance Groups).The journalists were willing to do the bidding of Radia, that is to influence government policies and even influence in the choice of a particular person for the highly lucrative telecom ministry job.
Can the media persons work for such persons? Surely, the unasked question or questions to this day (it is now more than four weeks the tapes conversations are in the public domain) whether the corporate lobbyist paid money to these journalists. Or, whether they had received payments for their services!
One can be sure that without big money changing hands such cosy relationship would not have been built overnight. They must be ,if we can so assume, receiving funds or other help, either advertisement support for the companies they work for, namely, NDTV media company or the Hindustan Times newspaper. The two groups are so big that anybody would oblige if it is some such nice job like talking to Sonia Gandhi or her henchmen or to even Prime Minister.
As the two journalists and others who stand by them, not many are out in such support or opposition, say in their defense they do their job in such a way, that they do talk and seek information and this is how the modern day journalists source their information.
Now, the public is not, it seems, convinced with such explanations.
Even Ratan Tata’s protestations about the invasion of his privacy are not taken seriously. For he has been accused by fellow industrialists, one who was in the telecom game, how Ratan Tata stands benefitted by his actions so far. Tata is supposed to have got out of the way allocation of 2-G spectrum, at much lower prices and also he got more than what he used, so he undermined public interest in more than routine sense.
So, the matter assumed serious proportions and the matter is before the Supreme Court and yet the public interest in such serious violations of ethical conduct on the media ethics continues to agitate the public.
Now, ethics is ethics, where you are supposed to have become an unethical person or you are in error of unethical conduct.
Nowadays, we assume our morality or our morals are said to be very weak. Is it so?
It may or may not be. But one thing is sure. If you commit error, then you also in that way contribute to create an evil or evils and thus you are guilty of some punishment. What kind of punishment? It is a different question.
In ethics, you commit the ethical misjudgment and that is what we are concerned with.
Now, to say that seeking information is the legitimate duty of a journalist and the source of information can be any source. Is this argument right?
No, it is plain wrong.
Then, we can cite so many historic precedents, from the media and the from the governments in many countries.
Take the UK, the very birth of a media culture and a tradition of unsparing media criticism and much inquisitiveness and the various media adventures for which the British press, the old Fleet Street is still the source of so much inspiration, we can cite the early 1950s case of the infamous Christine Keeler, a call girl who was befriended both by the British Minister, John Profumo and a Russian Naval Officer. To use a call girl to source information, let it be sensitive information or not so sensitive was considered a sin and the McMillan Government had to throw the minister out.
Is this here a similar case?
Surely, the media dharma had been seriously violated. Be it high profile or otherwise.
Much more chilling is the way our media houses are conducting themselves over the “paid news”. The Press Council conducts a survey and when they found the material before them is so explosive, all major newspaper houses in India, from the Times of India to the largest chains have collected huge funds and published false news coverage! So the PCI buried the report.
So, there is total silence on that front!
Now, there is total silence on Radia revelations front!
So, where is our democracy going?
Media is supposed to uphold certain virtues, virtues of incorruptible truths and daring criticism of the government mistakes.
In India we see a very cynical dismissal of such questions.
This is a sad day for the Indian media world and for each and every individual media person.