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'Cosy Indulgence Of Mutual Wrong-Doing'

It is not just the BJP which keeps silent on l'affaire Vadra or the Congress on l'affaire Gadkari. Swapan Dasgupta writes in the Pioneer on the Zee News-Jindal Steel extortion case, in which the editorial staff of the TV channel allegedly demanded Rs 100 crore in lieu of advertisements from the steel major to not publish stories in the coal scam:

What may surprise the media’s consumers is the relative indifference with which this sensational counter-sting has been received in the media. This isn’t because journalists, like the politicians they love to hate, are inherently venal. Nor is it due to the media emulating the cosy indulgence of mutual wrong- doing that Arvind Kejriwal believes is rampant in the political class, across party lines. The media didn’t react to the JSPL sting with the same measure of breathless excitement that greets every political corruption scandal because it is aware that this is just the tip of the iceberg. A thorough exploration of the media will unearth not merely sharp business practices but even horrifying criminality...

Since the Press Council of India chairman Justice (retired) M Katju is desperate to make a mark, he would do well to suo moto establish a working group to inquire into journalistic ethics. He could travel to a small State in western India where there persistent rumours that those who claim to be high-minded crusaders arm-twisted a Chief Minister into bankrolling an event as the quid pro quo for not publishing an investigation into some dirty practices.

The emphasis these days is on non-publishing. One editor, for example, specialised in the art of actually commissioning stories, treating it in the proper journalistic way and even creating a dummy page. This dummy page would be sent to the victim along with a verbal ‘demand notice’. Most of them paid up. This may be a reason why this gentleman’s unpublished works are thought to be more significant than the few scribbles that reached the readers and for which he received lots of awards.

Read the full article: Media, Turn the Mirror Inwards

Also read: Zee News Editor Sudhir Chaudhary's response to BEA's decision

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