The grilling of the Murdoch father and son duo by the British parliamentary committee on the phone hacking controversy, which was not only televised live, but had viewers in India riveted, has revived the much-needed, old debate on why parliamentary committee meetings in India should be held in camera.
The recent Lokpal Bill Drafting Committee had the same demand for live telecast of the meetings, and after seeing the British parliamentarians ask tough questions, the need for doing so, particularly in cases that are not covered by the usual national security concerns, only got highlighted today
Recent cases - be they cash for votes, the PAC on 2G Spectrum scam or, indeed, the JPC on the 2G case - only underline the pluses that easily seem to outweigh any concerns that some may have on non-partisan, reasoned and free debate losing out to grandstanding to the galleries and public-posturing.
Leave alone live-telecast, at this point, for instance in the Lokpal Drafting Committee, the government is not willing to release the audio recordings, or consider releasing full transcripts of the JPC.
Revisit the old debate and share your views: Should at least some of the parliamentary committee proceedings, like those on Cash for Vote or PAC/JPC on 2G Scam be telecast live?
I am all for televising the live proceedings. But before that lets do a test. Telecast live the proceedings on Rural Development programs, Health Missions and other such non-glamorous and non-controversial proceedings. Only if people take an equal amount of interest in them then make the other glamorous and controversial proceedings live. Else it means that we are interested only in controversies and nothing more.
The need for transparency was very much apparent in Murlimanohar Joshi's PAC meetings. If they were televised, Mr. Chidanbaram and Mr. Sibal and what not, could not have passed 'notes' to their cronies in the committee. People would have known, how stupid and childish UPA representatives behaved.
I believe that the Hazare group's request to televise the proceedings of the Lokpal Drafting Committee was rejected on the grounds that it would inhibit "free and frank" discussion.
Anwaar is right that frequent viewing of telecasts of all these debates would be injurious to health and prevent you from staying awake. However, we can rely on our various TV channels (at least those with the fortitude to sit through) to telecast the juicy bits at prime time. Visuals of MPs hurling invective (if not anything more lethal) at each other would provide a solid boost for their TRPs.
Once the proceedings are telecast live, corruption will get tamed. There are very many sincere parliamentarians, who ask only relevant questions. There are others who try to intimidate the witness to fall in line. Scandals take place only when parliamentarians choose to look the other way. Besides, the unnecessary tours undertaken by the committees will be curtailed. It is bound to expose the futility of many committee's tours and meetings. The corrupt shall have some fear of the law. Presently they (the corrupt) Rule the Law, whereas they are supposed to help establish the Rule of Law.
>> I hope you are not trying to convince us that these are not telvised because they are too boring?
They are "not televised" until they are "televised". That's what happened in UK and USA. The bulk of such hearings are boring but that is no reason for not televising them. The hearings of Murli Manoher Joshi's PAC would have been interesting to watch.