Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mediagate! - More Questions to Barkha.

"While there is no doubt that journalists must be held to the same exacting standards of accountability that we seek from others, the allegations in this instance, as they relate to me, are entirely slanderous and not backed by a shred of evidence."

Thus begins Barkha's response (in her words, her final word) to the Mediagate, more popularly known as #mediamafia #barkhagate, debate going on.

"The same exacting standards" means that she gets grilled the exact same way she and her ilk do on TV (often times, smirking at politicians for the exact same kind of response above). Instead she just choose to write and then call it the "final word". Am reminded of unilateral ceasefire! What kind of standards does this set? (Update on Dec.1: Last night NDTV asked for journos to question Barkha. Watch the show and decide for yourself who got grilled.)

Before I ask more, let me say this - Yes Barkha the tapes have nothing to prove that you lobbied for Raja or for that matter any individual. So there is no debate there.

Now, Barkha then goes on to say.

The few, short conversations took place in the backdrop of cabinet formation in 2009, when the DMK had stormed out of the UPA coalition over portfolio allocation.

And at a later point says this:

"What should I tell them," was in response to her repeatedly saying to me over several different phone calls, that if I happened to talk to anyone in the Congress, I should ask them to talk the DMK chief directly.

Quick question Barkha - were there "few" calls or were there "several" calls? The "two separate sentences " -"Oh God, What should I tell them", were uttered not in response to "can you pass the message", but almost voluntarily upon hearing Baalu's mess up. Why were you the first person to broach the topic of passing the message? Did you give out such vibes in your "few several" calls before too? Did Radia know that she can rely on you to pass the message (because in a conversation with A. Raja, she says she spoke to you and you have agreed to pass the message). Or are we to assume that the PR lobbyist of the Tata's and Ambani's is so stupid as to have believed you when you have not acted on such promises previously too?

Like asked in the previous blog, by "humouring of the source", did you mean to say you lied to her? Does NDTV's ethical policy (if it has one) allow any employee to lie (humour) a source to extract any kind of information? And no - all journalists do it is not the answer I am looking for.

The next main important question that many other folks in the media have asked too. If you knew that the PR lobbyist of Tata's and Ambanis is very much trying to get some portfolios in the Cabinet - did you NOT find that as newsworthy? Or did you find it so, and decided to kill it so as to not lose the source? Over the past 1 year, at no point of time have you felt that this was not newsworthy? Investigative worthy?

Later you say this too - Anyone who has bothered to read the entire transcript of these conversations instead of just the headline, would notice that the conversation is essentially a journalist soliciting information from one of the many people plugged in - something all journalists do as part of news gathering

Yes Barkha - I have "bothered" to read and re-read the entire tapes. I heard and re-heard the tapes - just to come out of the shock. And no - it doesn't sound like you were "sourcing information" or "humouring a source". By merely saying, "anyone would understand" you are just insinuating those who are disagreeing and asking pointed questions.

"While a genuine debate on media ethics is always welcome in the quest for self improvement.."

Thus ends her "final word". Barkha - I have asked this question multiple times before too - what is stopping you from starting that genuine debate? What efforts have you made to bring about this quest? And no - 140 character debates on twitter or a 45 minutes "We the people" does not count as "genuine debate". Regret to say this but your "final word" is anything but that.

PS: Earlier questions to her here.


adarsh shetty said...

u r doing a gr8 work dude...hats off 2 u....

Sudhir said...

Thanks Adarsh :)

Himanshu Mehta said...

Caesar's wife must be above suspicion. Journalists need not just be fair but also be seen as such.

prashhanthkpp said...

Sudhirji, been following till D17: Not found one bit of a response nor I presume will there be one. #Barkha, after consolidating her seat without any dire consequence with #NDTV (a job lost with NDTV will set her in peril 'cause no other media house will employ her under the circumstance), will now continue to brag about all that she efficiently did till date. I recall her rhetoric: "if not excellent, I am a good political journalist"! Well, such self assessment and servile flattery is what BARKHA is all about. NDTV has reduced itself to being a awkward employer of Barkha. It has deteriorated in its choice of news quality and declined to minimum viewership. Its huge debts and drastically falling share value is nearly ensuring its death. Sonia Singh, the MD, may be a CON Politician's wife, but ultimate doom of the channel is just around the corner unless significantly drastic measures are not adopted, first of which must be #FIREBARKHA!

Thank you Sir and do keep the vigil. It is indeed people like you that keeps media in perspective.

Tarun said...

Barkha and Vir left many questions unanswered. Rather tried giving arguments (without conviction in their voice) which noone would believe. But they will get a clean chit, like Radia seems to have gotten from CBI

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