Tag Archives: Niira Radia

The Editor who declined the Padma Bhushan

Today, 3 November 2013, is the birth centenary of Nikhil Chakravartty, the “barefoot reporter” who founded the journal Mainstream. NC or Nikhilda, as most who knew him called him, plunged into active journalism as a special correspondent with the Communist Party organ People’s War (1944-46) and People’s Age (1946-48), and later Crossroads (1952-55) and New…

Vir Sanghvi, Modi, 1984 and Hindustan Times

In the latest issue of Open magazine, its political editor Hartosh Singh Bal writes on the re-appearance of former Hindustan Times editor Vir Sanghvi on the pages of the newspaper, to underline the the media’s janus-faced approach to the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984 under Congress watch and the 2002 Gujarat riots under BJP rule: “Narendra…

Tata Steel & the suicide of Charudatta Deshpande

The circumstances surrounding the alleged suicide of journalist-turned-corporate communications expert Charudatta Deshpande in Bombay last weekend, has exposed the dark underbelly of one of India’s biggest corporates, and the stress, pressure and threats that hacks face when silence is no longer a conscionable option. Deshpande, 57, had resigned in April as chief of corporate affairs…

How to pass IAS: read newspapers & magazines

It is not often these days that news consumers have something good to say about newspapers. And magazines. And TV stations. And blogs. And websites. Individual and institutional transgressions—paid news, private treaties, medianet, Radia tapes, shrieking anchors, sensationalism, jingoism, corruption, etc—have all contributed enormously to the cynicism of the media among the consuming classes. How…

Rajya Sabha TV tears into Reliance-TV18 deal

The fears over what happens when a big business house with deep pockets and political influence across parties funds a big media house to legitimise its hitherto-hidden media interests, are coming true even before the controversial Reliance Industries -Network18/TV18-Eenadu Television deal can be inked. Obviously, the political class is silent. Obviously, TV18’s competitors won’t touch…

All the news that is fit to cook, serve and eat

Although his reputation as a political journalist lies in tatters after the Niira Radia tapes, Vir Sanghvi is still a marquee food name in the Hindustan Times‘ Sunday magazine, Brunch. When not reporting for his paper’s hunger project, former HT managing editor Samar Halarnkar whips up a food column in the business daily Mint, titled…

Vir Sanghvi says his HT column will resume soon

After gripping the nation’s attention for nearly a year, the Niira Radia tapes that brought the politics-business-media nexus into sharp focus, is now on a slow but screechy rewind. The lobbyist Radia has shut shop; arrested politicians (Kanimozhi) are on the way out of jail; the corporate bosses and business executives have secured bail; the…

Should ‘media corruption’ come under Lokpal?

The more-than-just-a-neutral-observer position taken by sections of the media on the Anna Hazare agitation has clearly begun to rile politicians, and at least two of them cutting across party lines have argued in the last couple of days that the media too must be brought under the purview of the proposed anti-corruption legislation. Exhibit A:¬†Union…

‘Zee is the only news channel making money’

The mention of TV news in India brings up the usual names among news aficionados—Times Now, NDTV 24×7 and NDTV India, Aaj Tak and Headlines Today, CNN-IBN and IBN Awaaz, et al. But there is another player in the ring from India’s oldest satellite network. And Zee News, says its CEO Punit Goenka, is the…

Niira Radia, Mukesh Ambani, NDTV & Prannoy Roy

In conversation number #132 in the infamous Niira Radia tapes, the lobbyist whose name has become synonymous with the 2G scam, talks to M.K. Venu, then of The Economic Times, in July 2009: Venu: Is Manoj (Modi) is here (in Delhi) today also, no? Radia: Yeah, he is here, he is leaving in the afternoon,…

After Athreya and Kautilya, enter “Chanakya”

Six months after Vir Sanghvi said he had “suspended” his weekly column Counterpoint, in the wake of the Niira Radia tapes that had him dictating his weekly output to the 2G scam-tainted lobbyist for her approval, the Hindustan Times has announced a new column in the slot occupied by Sanghvi’s. The byline: “Chanakya“. In the…

When Prabhu Chawla called up Amar Singh…

The Supreme Court has lifted a five-year ban on the airing of the infamous Amar Singh CD which, along with the Niira Radia tapes, must be made required listening in journalism schools for the unvarnished view it offers of how politicians, industrialists, bureaucrats, film stars, celebrities, middlemen and journalists operate. Among the two-dozen conversations¬† on…

Shekhar Gupta on journalists in Radia tapes

The May issue of the men’s fashion magazine, GQ (for Gentleman’s Quarterly), has a six-page interview with Shekhar Gupta, editor-in-chief of The Indian Express and host of the NDTV 24×7 interview programme Walk the Talk. In a cover-mention titled “Is the Indian Express running out of steam?”, Gupta takes questions from the adman-columnist Anil Thakraney…

The “journalist” who offered a Rs 2 crore bribe?

Journalists and media houses are turning out to be key go-betweens and beneficiaries in the 2G spectrum allocation scam that has already seen a Union minister and several corporate honchos go behind bars. Several famous scribes have found themselves on the infamous Niira Radia tapes, at least one journalist’s house has been raided, and a…

What Niira Radia told PAC on Barkha Dutt chat

The 21-member public accounts committee (PAC), which probed the 2G spectrum allocation scam and finalised its draft report in a hurry, has gone into a tailspin with the draft report being rejected 11-10 and the Congress members charging the chairman, Murli Manohar Joshi, of leaking the report. Tehelka magazine has put up the PAC draft…

Scribe says tribe crossed line in Niira Radia tapes

Several print and television journalists found their voices on the Niira Radia tapes. Some expressed remorse at such a cosy relationship with the lobbyist; some like you-know-who brazened it out. Now, The Hindu reports that one senior unnamed scribe who was caught on tape lobbying has candidly admitted that what they did was “utterly unprofessional”.…

‘Media standards not keeping pace with growth’

Sanjaya Baru, editor of Business Standard and former media advisor to prime minister Manmohan Singh, delivered the second H.Y. Sharada Prasad memorial lecture on media, business and government at the India International Centre on Sunday, 17 April. This is the full text of his address: *** By SANJAYA BARU I first met H.Y. Sharada Prasad…

Why an editor took two empty suitcases to Libya

There is little doubt, as the Niira Radia tapes showed, that journalistic integrity in India is at an all-time low—despite the manifold increase in salaries—especially since the liberalisation process began in 1991 and the notional capital of the media moved from Bombay to Delhi. Whispers of editors who own power plants and mines, of reporters…

Radia effect on PM’s invitees for TV pow-wow?

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…

‘Indians trust magazines* more than newspapers’

Trust in the Indian media is down sharply by 15 percentage points over the last two years. One out of every two Indians distrusts what they read, see, and listen but—surprise, surprise, OK, no surprise, no surprise!—trust in magazines* is higher than for newspapers, TV news or radio. These, in short, are the major highlights…