The top item (above) in the gossip column of The Indian Express today lends further credence to the conspiracy theory doing the rounds in Delhi that there may be a pattern to, and a devious intent behind, all that is happening to the media in recent weeks: the sweeping remarks of press council chairman Justice Markandey Katju, the notification of the Majithia wage board recommendations for journalists, the talk of regulation of the electronic media, the curbs on crossmedia ownership, etc.
And that in circa 2011—following the exposes of the gigantic scams and scandals that powered the anti-corruption movement—the Congress-led UPA government may have quietly ushered in a very sophisticated form of whiplashing and witchhunting the media, without the formal declaration of censorship as in 1975.
Image: courtesy The Indian Express
Also read: Should media corruption come under Lok Pal?
B.G. VERGHESE: The declaration of Emergency in 1975
All attempts at media regulation is reprehensible in a democracy but it also implies some self-restraint, some sobriety and not, as is the case now, running amok. When eyeballs and readership by using any kind of content is the primary concern, this was bound to happen. Hopefully, the media would reform and preempt the rascality of the government, not merely oppose it.
Well you jokers deserve it I’d say… brought it upon yourselves
Goenka is no more. No editor who counted self-respect above everything would utter the kind of lies about a man who genuflected before the manliness of Indira Gandhi. It is fashionable to attack Indira Gandhi as it is to attack Narendra Modi. The secularist editors who ran out of ink praising the enemy of journalists forgot Goenka was an RSS man. He was a newspaper baron whose sole aim was to make money. There are strictures in the First Press Commission Report and the report of the Newspaper Finances committee about Goenka diverting newspaper funds for non-newspaper purposes. He was a real estate man who acquired the Express Estates, who built multi-storied structures in Delhi and Mumbai and rented all but two floors for the Express. There was also a controversy about his annexing 1000 meters of public land to extend the Express building in Delhi.
Every time a Wage Board recommended wage revision he would go to the Supreme Court to challenge the raise. The janitors at the Delhi office would tell you how he treated his editors as doormats. In his southern editions the maximum designation of any journalist was sub-editor. Senior journalists have tales to tell about the ‘polite’ language he would use for his editors.
Ramnath Goenka did not fight Indira Gandhi. Please don’t circulate this lie. If you want to know, the only person who wrote an editorial on the emergency and immediately went to jail was K.R.Malkani, editor of Motherland.
Do you regard leaving the editorial columns blank or publishing some stupid quotation as fight? Ramnath was a paper tiger.