The publication of the transcripts of the Niira Radia tapes—in which the fixer of the Tatas and Ambanis talks to journalists Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt (among others)—by Open magazine, Outlook* and Mail Today has sent the media world into a tizzy.
Only a brave few have been able to avoid the temptation of using the tapes, which indicate how a cabal of politicians, fixers, lobbyists and journalists ganged up to insert disgraced telecom minister A. Raja into Manmohan Singh‘s cabinet in 2009, even when the stench of scam was hitting the ceiling.
Exhibit A: Why India Today magazine didn’t run the tapes, according to Aditya Sinha, editor-in-chief of the New Indian Express.
Exhibit B: Why the business daily Mint didn’t run the tapes, according to editor Ranganathan Sukumar :
“The reason we didn’t act on them was because we couldn’t authenticate them….. The mere submission of a more detailed set of transcripts in the court doesn’t, at least to my mind, make the documents any better as “source” for a newspaper article. They could be authentic, but there’s a chance that they could be forged.
“My reporters and editors had no way of finding out, which (and believe me, we tried) I think is the responsibility of an honest newspaper to do.”
* Disclosures apply
Also read: NDTV response on Barkha Dutt