Tuesday’s disgraceful scenes in the Indian parliament—when lawmakers heaped currency notes of nearly $2 million to show that they were being bribed to abstain from a trust motion moved by the government—has a media angle to it.
The buying and selling of legislators, it turns out, was captured on film by CNN-IBN which however declined to air the “sting” and said it would hand them over to the presiding officer of the lower house.
The media website Hoot speculates that the channel did not air the story either because its contents did not pass muster with editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai or because Anil Ambani, a shareholder in Network 18 which owns the channel, leaned on bossman Raghav Bahl not to air the footage meant to discredit Amar Singh, a politician close to Ambani.
Media commentator S.R. Ramanujan asks a few questions on The Hoot:
1) Is it the job of a TV channel to provide proof to any Constitutional authority, in this case the Speaker, before it could telecast the news to its viewers?
2) Does this not give handle to critics to allege that the channel was silenced? In fact, in a panel discussion in another channel, this was hinted.
7) Is the reluctance to telecast due to the fact that the concerned MPs preempted the channel by disclosing the “Cash for Votes” operation on the floor of the House violating an understanding?
8) “Publish and be damned” is the idiom mediamen are taught right from the journalism schools. How far is this relevant today?
Read the full story here: To sting or not to sting?
Cross-posted on churumuri