The Guardian, Nick Davies and News of the World

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from Delhi: Most journalists who succeed in bringing down a minister or a bureaucrat, or a government, wear it as a badge of honour.

How about Nick Davies, who has brought down a 138-year-old newspaper, the News of the World—and its mighty owner Rupert Murdoch—with his searing expose of the phone hacking scandal?

Ironies abound in this story, from an Indian perspective.

For starters, dog eats dog: the former being The Guardian, London, which played the lead role in nibbling away at the heels of News International. Quite unlike Indian newspapers, magazines and TV stations which refuse to go after their peers and competitors, because of a pigheaded belief that dog does not eat dog.

Because, anything goes in the name of “freedom of the press”.

Two, the response of advertisers. Starting with Ford, a number of advertisers pulled out advertising from NOTW—derisively called Screws of the World for its obsessions with matters carnal—after the full scale of the scandal became known. Unlike India, where advertisers are party if not prodders to most of the vilest transgressions in the media.

Because, anything goes in the name of “market forces”.

And three, the response of news consumers—the reading, viewing, surfing public. Murdoch shut down NOTW because the negative reaction from readers and advertisers and MPs got too hot. Unlike India, where the media’s “ethics deficit” is seen as a problem of the media alone, not of the reading public. Or the Republic.

External reading: How The Guardian broke the story


  1. alamelu

    The writer of this post clearly does not have the wit to understand that the Guardian did not “go after” the News of the World. It went after a story about journalists who had broken the law. There is nothing “dog eat dog” about this. Its just good journalism. Nick Davis is not responsible for shutting down a 168 (not 138!) year old newspaper , he is responsible for informing the Guardian readership about what some journalists get up to. I doubt that he or any right thinking journalist would celebrate the closure of a newspaper.
    The characterisation of the story as one newspaper “going after” another encapsulates the problem with how journalism is practiced here in India. Here journalists and newspapers don’t go after stories, they go after individuals, political parties, etc. etc. They don’t fully grasp simple things like “conflict of interest” and “criminality”.
    Otherwise, to give just one example, why has the press not spent the last many years investigating why a certain individual got the telecom portfolio despite his close family connection to a vast media empire, and why has it not spent years closely scrutinising the business of that ministry, a ministry that deals with the industry it is part of.

    1. Sam

      Thanks for the different perspective. It was gave me some thoughtful moments.

    2. Mysore Peshva

      alamelu, i agree with you 100%, and i second sam sir in offering you thanks!

    3. Sant Singh

      When a reply gets more replies than the story … its a reflection on the original story (and the reply).

      Thk you for showing more journalistic insights than the original journalist.

  2. Strange considering that there are lot of complaints that british media in fact tried to not report on this. (except guardian)
    The guardian has less than 5% of the market, so its effect is very small.

  3. All this is applicable for journalists in India or to be particular in West Bengal. Here journalists are busy to be either part of ‘colour’ camps and debate on each others ‘camp’-s. Nobody in West Bengal seems to have th real nose or there is no collaboration amongst journalists to form a co-operative for a heart warming journalism…

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