Tag Archives: Rafale

How ‘The Indian Express’ is covering the #Rafale scandal—and a scandal it is—compared to the way it covered #Bofors

The Congress president Rahul Gandhi has addressed five press conferences on the Rs 140,000 crore Rafale aircraft deal involving the Narendra Modi government and the bankrupt businessman Anil Ambani.

These press conferences have been on 30 August, 22 September, 11 October, 25 October and 2 November 2018, and they have all been held in New Delhi

It is interesting to see the play Gandhi has got from the Indian Express, which played a stellar, adversarial role in reporting the Bofors gun deal which eventually led to the fall of the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1989.

Barring one press conference, which was a follow-up to an Indian Express story on Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment investing in a movie involving then French president Francois Hollande‘s partner when Modi was inking the Rafale deal, none of Rahul Gandhi’s press conferences have got front-page display in the Express.

Screenshot 2018-11-03 08.39.21.png

All the other four press conferences, have been buried deep inside the newspaper, despite the gravity of the charges against Modi’s decision-making process—and the size of the Anil Ambani offset deal, which is way bigger than the Rs 64 crore Bofors scam (which has since been declared to be no scam).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Admittedly, front-paging press conferences and giving a one-way platform to politicians is now passe. And, Rahul Gandhi’s press conferences have usually followed a media expose in some other media outfit, or a CBI implosion.

Still, the ability to smell a scam and keep the heat on is a vital function of public spirited media.

How would Ramnath Goenka, the fiesta founder of the Express have dealt with the Rafale scandal?

 

Advertisements

Ravi Nair: the journalist who pushed the #Rafale deal into the national and political consciousness

Twitter in India today is mostly a platform to preen for loud Delhi gasbags—or a signalling system for has-beens trying desperately to stay on the right side of Tongue Parivar.

Good journalism, therefore, gets subsumed by those who shout, scream and shriek—and then shout, scream and shriek some more when somebody, usually another gasbag, retweets them.

The biggest stories of the Narendra Modi era—Demonetisation and the Rafale deal—have produced ground breaking stuff from two self-effacing men, both Malayalees, and both not journalists.

First, James Wilson, a civil engineer, who sitting in Kerala, explicated #DeMo with far greater clarity than any Bombay-Delhi-Calcutta business journalist.

And now, Ravi Nair, to whom goes the singular credit of giving the #RafaleDeal the necessary throttle and boost before Rahul Gandhi and the rest of the mainstream media jumped in.

Nair, 44, says he started digging into Rafale after he heard somebody uncritically exclaim “Bahut khoob kiya” upon reading news about the deal.

He has so far produced over 40 stories and analyses for various outlets, including a cover story for Frontline, including perhaps a book soon. Nair says his first story was turned down by many till ‘Janta ka Reporter‘ accepted it.

Several other journalists have since reported on the Rafale deal but few have consistently stayed on it like Nair who, tellingly, has not called it a “scam” yet.

J. Gopikrishnan of The Pioneer played a pivotal role in reporting the various strands of the 2G Scam which brought down the Manmohan Singhgovernment.

Is his statemate Nair poised for an encore?

Photograph: couresy The Leaflet