‘Business journalists are PR mouthpieces’: Bahal

Last week, Cobra Post, the website run by the investigative journalist Aniruddha Bahal made public “Operation Red Spider”, its sting operation into alleged money-laundering by HDFC, Axis and ICICI banks.

This week, in Open magazine, Bahal answers a couple of questions on the media treatment of the story.

The story is significant, but failed to create a furore, don’t you think?

We can’t say that. Most news channels took it live. There were live debates on every channel. However, the conduct of business papers and channels was disappointing. For them, this story should have been of overwhelming importance, which was apparently not the case. We need to examine the reasons for it.

It poses a question on the credibility of business journalism in India.

Not one journalist from a business paper or news channel contacted me for a detailed briefing on the scam. This tells you where their hearts and minds are. They are PR mouthpieces of establishment.

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu


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  1. There is a lot of jealousy in the media world. “Why he/them & not we/us” is the usual refrain. Secondly stings require patience, hard work and risk for a long time extending weeks. The armchair media persons are used to getting emails doled out by the corporates in the form of news without any leg work of their own.

    They just report the happenings as news, investigation is minimal and reporting on others’ investigation is sacrilege.
    However, a media person is caught on the wrong side of law, there is glee in the eyes of armchair media persons and the look of “I told you so! Aag se kehlene ka nateeza!”

  2. Ratnakar Pathak

    Since Mr. Bahal himself practiced business journalism for some years, I’m sure he knows what he is talking about. Also, there could be another reason. Mr. Bahal’s credibility within the profession might not be too high because it has never been clear how he funds his operations.

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