Posts Tagged ‘2G Spectrum Scam’

Is the prime minister right about Indian media?

29 June 2011

Like a bad host, who abuses his guests after calling them home, the prime minister of India launched into the media today after calling a bunch of five editors for a much-delayed interaction. It took Manmohan Singh just 25 words in his 1,884-word opening remarks to stick it into the editors.

“An atmosphere has been created in the country—and I say this with all humility—the role of the media in many cases has become that of the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge… . We take decisions in a world of uncertainty and that’s the perspective I think Parliament, our CAG and our media must adopt if this nation is to move forward,” Singh said.

As if the media was responsible for the 2G, CWG or KG basin scams that has seen his ministers resign or prepare to. As if the media was responsible for the thuggish behaviour of his ministers (like Kapil Sibal) in undermining “civil society”, in other words the people of India. As if the media was responsible for runaway prices or inflation.

Or, as if the media was responsible for hurling a question mark over his tenure. Etcetera.

So, what do you think? Has the media overstepped its brief? Has it become accuser, prosecutor and judge? Has the media done its job in unravelling scams and keeping the pressuer on the government? Is the media wrong in clamouring for a cleaner, less corrupt system?

Or is Manmohan Singh barking up the wrong tree by shooting the messenger?

The five editors with prime minister Manmohan Singh: from left, T.N. Ninan of Business Standard, Raj Chengappa of The Tribune, M.K. Razdan of Press Trust of India, Alok Mehta of Nayi Duniya, and Kumar Ketkar of Divya Marathi

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Also read: Why the PM is hopelessly wrong about the media

How well is the PM’s media advisor advising him?

Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—I

Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—II

Never believe anything until it’s officially denied

Nakkheeran journo denies wife worked for Radia

11 January 2011

When the central bureau of investigation (CBI) raided the offices and residences of disgraced telecom minister A. Raja‘s associates in mid-December, ostensibly to get to the bottom of the 2G spectrum allocation scam, Nakkheeran journalist A. Kamaraj found himself smack bang in the middle of a Tehelka story.

The latest issue of the magazine carries a letter from the journalist and a clarification from Tehelka correspondent Jeemon Jacob who reported the story.

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Setting the record straight

Refer to Jeemon Jacob’s ‘Raiders of the Lost Loot’, 25 December.

My colleagues in Nakkheeran and I always held Tehelka in high esteem. We used to feel that there is a kindred spirit elsewhere too to bring out the truth against all odds. Our shared history of fighting for justice, truth and taking on the powers-that-be from the point of view of ordinary citizens should make us natural partners.

However, with enormous sense of hurt, I must point out that the piece carried by your esteemed publication has blatantly false and concocted news, causing irreparable damage to my name and professional standing as a journalist.

My residential flat was raided by the CBI on 15 December and nothing incriminating was found. The investigating officers took away the property document relating to my flat, the loan documents regarding the purchase of the same, my cell phone’s SIM card, passport and bank passbook. A document was issued regarding the items taken away. But Tehelka made the following harmful, totally manufactured claims:

1. My wife Jayasudha is the general manager of Niira Radia’s Chennai office.
2. The CBI had unearthed documents from my family residence in Perambalur relating to various financial dealings, including land transactions.
3. I was interrogated by the police in 1998 in connection with the murder of a police informer, Bhaktavatsalam, by sandalwood smuggler Veerappan.

All these rather damaging false assertions could have been avoided if your reporter had bothered to check the facts. As a scribe, I always made myself available to any journalist in my two-and-a-half decades as a reporter and then as associate editor.

My wife has nothing to do with Radia, and for that matter has never been employed anywhere till date. The CBI did not search my family residence in Perambalur in the first place, let alone unearthing documents relating to any land transactions. And I was never ever interrogated by the police in connection with any aspect of Veerappan’s excesses.

A. Kamaraj, associate editor, Nakkheeran

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Jeemon Jacob clarifies

1. My source had informed me that Jayasudha was working with Vaishnavi Communications. I cross-checked the information with two others who confirmed she was indeed working for Niira Radia’s firm. But I don’t have the documents to prove it. I admit I should have sought a response.

2. It is true that though Kamaraj’s Besant Nagar flat was raided, I had erroneously reported that there was a raid also at his Perambalur residence. I stand corrected.

3. In the well-known Bhaktavatsalam murder case, some Nakkheeran staffers were implicated and several employees, including senior editors like Kamaraj, were questioned by the Crime Branch in January 2003 in the course of the investigation.

Photograph: CBI officers at Nakkheeran associate editor A.Kamaraj‘s residence (courtesy Tehelka)

Also read: Journalist’s house raided in 2G spectrum scam

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