Why we didn’t air Niira Radia tapes: 2 examples


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

Vir Sanghvi‘s response to the Radia tapes


  1. Mahesh Vijapurkar

    I read the transcripts in The Outlook magazine and am devastated on two counts:

    1. Everyone is on the take, including business houses and their leaders who speak of ethics outside; the Finance Minister consults them on the budget and we assume they are talking of the country! and;

    2. The journalists involved, whatever their official statements of clarifications, if any, is apparently a massive cover-up and the way they go hammer and tongs on issues of probity, their exposes are shams because the poor Citizen Kanes believe in the media. The talk-shows, the chatter etc is just sham, I suspect.

    The country is now in the hands of criminal politicians and the lobbyists – an evolved democracy where people are mere suckers to be wooed for votes to secure legitimisation to loot.

    What the f***! We are as good as a banana republic is.


    Sorry! I normally don’t use expletives but this was rich..it just came out. My apologies, folks.

  2. Shiv Kumar

    Can sans serif publish the entire trancripts of the CD uploaded on Outlook website? Would be interesting to read about the talks by Prabhu Chawla, the Forbes mag people, ET chaps, etc

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