Being a professional Editor in India—professional being the operative word there—is a lonely, treacherous job.
What transpires with scared proprietors or bankrupt boards is not to be shared with the world. The bottomless stupidity of the managers and bean counters is best not advertised. And, in between, there are creepy phone calls, “messages”, complaints, and other threats, verbal and sometimes physical, from ministers, officials, industrialists, lawyers, lobbyists and other “non-state actors” to be dealt with.
Brave is the Editor who wants to spill it all out.
R. Rajagopal, the Editor of The Telegraph, Calcutta, has bucked the general “silence is golden” philosophy by outing the loutish Union minister Babul Supriyo‘s phone call to him over a perceived in the newspaper.
Publishing a private conversation as the second lead on the front page is a courageous move given the mind-numbing vindictiveness of the Narendra Modi dispensation—and its puerile approach towards the media.
And it might win a few plaudits among readers and news folk. But after the ink dries, the The Telegraph and its parent group ABP risk having to count the chips, ahead of assembly elections in Bengal.
And what if a bigger hooligan in the Sarkar than Babul Supriyo calls the Sarkars—Aveek Sarkar and Arup Sarkar—over the head of the Editor? Will The Telegraph make that public, too?
Congratulations to the Editor of the Telegraph for holding his own against a hectoring Minister, drunk on power. But I also fear for the newspaper, as there is every chance of a backlash. I wish them all the strength and courage, a rare virtue among journalists of the day, to withstand such bullying.