Prime minister Manmohan Singh‘s much ballyhooed pow-wow with “editors” of television channels to clear the air over the scams dogging his government, was, as was to be expected, a typically tepid, bureaucratic affair.
Only the national English TV channels—Headlines Today (represented by Aroon Purie), CNN-IBN (Rajdeep Sardesai), NDTV 24×7 (Prannoy Roy), Times Now (Arnab Goswami)—were interested in asking questions (and suplementaries, much to media advisor Harish Khare‘s discomfiture) about corruption.
Most of the rest, be they from regional channels like Sun TV, Calcutta TV or Asianet, or “international channels” like BBC and Al-Jazeera, were content with asking questions relevant to their audiences and markets (Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Europe, Middle East).
Questions are already doing the rounds on why some sizeable channels like
Star News, TV9, etc, went unrepresented. And rumours are already doing the rounds on why at least one sizeable editor was absent.
Radhika Ramaseshan reports in The Telegraph, Calcutta:
“The owner of an English channel had been requested to be present instead of deputing a colleague.
“The owner-editor of another Delhi-based channel was also told he would be welcome. Other channels were sent a general invite.
“The caution came against the backdrop of the Niira Radia tapes featuring conversations of some journalists.”
Also read: Did Niira Radia tapes have impact on Padma awards?
It would have been highly embarassing for the PM to face question from Radiagate tainted star journalists like Barkha Dutt.But still it is shocking that NDTV was requested not to send its star journalist. Is this is the “fuctional democracy”?
Good to know that PM asked Radia Media star, Barkha Dutt, to not be present. However, the side actor of the Radia Media story, Rajdeep Sardesai, was present!
Star news was represented by its news editor Shazi Zama and he was the person perhaps who asked most penetrating question to the PM. He directly asked him whether the PM felt morally responsible for all these corruption charges?
Fearlessness is a thing of the past I presume.
Congress has realized that they can’t use the unmasked Barkha anymore. Hence the decision to keep her out. She has outlived her utility time to dump her.