The first casualty of a scoop interview is grace

22 August 2007

Aziz Haniffa‘s rediff.com/India Abroad interview with India’s ambassador to the United States Ronen Sen has been the big story of the week.

The “headless chicken” quote has become canon fodder for the communists and other critics opposing the UPA government’s nuclear deal with America. Parliament has been stalled, apologies have been tendered, statements have been read in Parliament, and there have been cries for the recall of the ambassador.

But guess how many of our media houses have had the good grace to either name the Sri Lanka-born Haniffa—who earlier scooped an interview with George W. Bush—in reporting the aftermath of the Sen interview, or in naming the media organisation he works for?

Asian Age: named rediff.com but not Haniffa

CNN-IBN: did not name Haniff or rediff.com

Deccan Chronicle: named rediff.com but not Haniffa

Deccan Herald: did not name Haniffa or rediff.com

DNA: did not name Haniffa or rediff.com

Hindustan Times: did not name Haniffa or rediff.com

NDTV: did not name Haniffa or rediff.com

The Hindu: named both Haniffa and rediff.com

The Indian Express: named rediff.com but didn’t name Haniffa

The Telegraph: did not name Haniff or rediff.com

The Times of India: did not name Haniffa or rediff.com

(Some newspapers and TV channels carried feeds of Press Trust of India, which too did not name Haniffa or rediff.com. However Indo-Asian News Service, whose earlier avatar Haniffa worked for, named rediff.com)

Are our media houses reluctant to name rivals because they do not wish to give publicity to rival organisations? Do they fail to acknowledge a web portal because they have websites of their own? Is it sour grapes? Is it a fair practice?

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