Anurag Batra, editor-in-chief of the exchange4media group, in the industry journal, Impact:
“Prabhu Chawla was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2003. What’s fascinating is that between 2006 and 2009, six journalists were awarded the Padma Sri: Sucheta Dalal, Mrinal Pande, Vinod Dua, Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt and Abhay Chhajlani, and one Padma Bhushan, Shekhar Gupta in 2009.
“Three out of the six Padma Sris were awarded in 2008 itself, the penultimate year of the UPA government before the elections in 2009. I remember laughing out loud when the awards were announced, as these leading journalists held debates on their respective channels about the authenticity of these awards. Not to mention that when they got it, nobody denied them or denounced them, instead the channels hailed their achievements.
“The latest on the grapevine is that the AIADMK and a few other parties are running a campaign to get Barkha Dutt to give back her Padma Sri award because of the Niira Radia controversy. I personally don’t see the point in that as in my view, Barkha has done good work in the past and continues to do so and should be judged on that. I also feel that journalists have always been influencers so there is nothing new in that.”
Also read: Padma Shri VD, Padma Shri RDS and Padma Shri BD
2008: Why Rajdeep and Barkha must decline the Padma Sri
2009: Third highest civilian honour for Shekhar Gupta
2010: Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria gets Padma Bhushan
2011: Padma Awards for Homai Vyarawala, T.J.S. George
Well but after getting into a controversy she loses her moral right to ask questions to other people….
I wonder why it has not occurred to otherwise well-informed visitors to Sans Serif that there is something perniciously wrong with the govt. of the day conferring any any kind of national honours on journalists, of all people. It is a clear case of buying influence with the concerned journalist or making a down payment on it. If a journalst is at all to receive an accolade, it should be from a body of peers and not from the govt. of the day.However, such journalists as have attained “emeritus” status i.e.are kind of “retired”,could be considered for the distinction.
Hence both legal luminaries and the fraternity of journalists should revisit this issue, taking into consideration the practices in this regard obtaining in major democracies like the USA, Uk, France etc.