Should editors & journalists declare their assets?

Candidates have to declare their assets and liabilities before the elections in a sworn affidavit. Bureaucrats do too, and there is the Lok Ayukta to keep a watch over them. And now Supreme Court judges have joined the ranks of those voluntarily declaring their income.

If they don’t, the media will cry hoarse till they do.

But what about journalists? Should they declare their moveable and immoveable properties, and those of their nearest kin every year, especially given the mind-numbing stories of individual and institutional corruption emanating from the highest levels of the English and language media?

In a recent column, Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta attacked India’s green brigade, calling them “the most retrograde in the history of makind”, and accusing them of stalling the kind of moves the nation has to make to stride forward.

The political scientist Aditya Nigam, a fellow at the Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), has gone for the jugular on the website Kafila.

Nigam writes:

“…It is equally common knowledge that increasingly opinion makers in the media—editors and senior journalists in particular—are known to be making huge amounts of extra income (and other forms of assets like free shares, houses and so on) from sources other than those provided by their employment.

“This self important and self-righteous tribe of people in contemporary India who think they are above every body else and cannot open their mouths without a claiming a moral high ground, also needs to be made accountable.

“We are not suggesting that any particular person is in the pay of anybody else—even though the grapevine has innumerable stories to that effect—of the ultimate moral corruption of most mediapersons. But surely when opinions are expressed as ‘disinterested’ and ‘objective’, the public must have the right to know whether these opinions are actually disinterested. And what better way can there be when politicians have to disclose their incomes, and we are calling upon judges as well to follow suit, that we also demand the same of editors and mediapersons.”

Read the full article: ‘Editors and journalists must declare their assets’

Also read: ‘Owners, editors owning Indian journalism ransom’

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14 Responses to “Should editors & journalists declare their assets?”

  1. Hosa-Belaku Says:

    Yes, yesssss….of course. I know for a fact that financial journalists are asked to disclose the shares they hold. But it is absolutely necessary for all journalists to disclose their assets. I am sure there would be many with assets disproportionate to their known sources of income.

    However, my suscipion is that it may not necessarily be editors alone who may be somewhat comfortable (indeed, they are quite highly paid), it is those who are on the field who accept favors.

    In fact, it was felt that really sincere political journalists should not even apply for the government accommodation that was provided some years ago. How can someone report objectively on government policies if they accept houses and sites on discretionary quota?

    On the other hand I know for a fact and I deeply respect some journalists from the states who have hesitated to avail train reservations (for family trips) and those much sought after LPG coupons from MPs. At the same time, concessional airfare and plane tickets were a scam, I suspect before the cheap-fare airlines came into being.

    Of course if you were to ask journos to declare their TRUE assets (story-yielding sources) or if media stopped airing stories that do not attribute the information to a named source, half the media-driven/sponsored/plugs that we call news stories would never see the light of day.

  2. Yella OK Says:

    Do the journalists and editors really care? Except if there is income tax evasion, who will hold them responsible and how?

    We have seen the padma offerings by the congress and the oh-you-are-so-great kind of interviews in return from these padma recipeints. So, does not matter.

    Judges should declare their assets because people still believe they are honest and any doubts to the contrary will be removed. In the case of these padma recipients, there is no such issue. So, who cares?

  3. Coffee Addict Says:

    They must! They must do it!

  4. Gouri Satya Says:

    Besides journalists in the print media, even those in the electronic media should declare their assets.

  5. rajkiran Says:

    YESSSSSS !!!! … There is huge corruption in Media…. Journalists MUST declare their assets!!

  6. anony Says:

    Yes they should declare. we will then know how much churumuri and its journalist editor KP has made.

  7. harini calamur Says:

    yes.
    i think it needs to go beyond declaring assets – they need to start declaring interest.
    for example – company x paid for the travel, boarding and lodging of our journalist in the writing of this feature
    or we got a free gizmo – for us to keep – before we reviewed it.
    or indeed, our esteemed news company owns x% of the shares of the company on whose performance we have written this report !!

    :) the proverbial shit will hit the ceiling

  8. Andy Says:

    Expect Churumuri to ask brilliant questions ! Congrats..

    Yes, this will be the right thing to do…

  9. Not A Witty Nick Says:

    What good would that do, as if the figures would be real and unfudged!

    BTW, why doesn’t the commie-ness of the journalist fraternity extend to unions? ;-)

  10. boring journalist Says:

    What has happenned to all those who have declared assets? Nothing. There is not even a semblance of enquiry or theverification of theclaims made. Though the figures furnished appear blatantly false with lot of coverup going on, nobody has bothered to verifythe same.
    What is the fun in declaration of the assets, if there is no matching effort to verify the veracity.
    Same thing will happen even if the journalists are made to declare the assets.
    It will be an eyewash and nothing else.

  11. Mahesh Says:

    Last week editor of tamil magazine Junior Vikatan was removed from the post by AnandaVikatan group due to wealth disproportionate to known sources of income. Please report on that as well.

  12. SL Says:

    At best our journalists are sloppy, otherwise they are bas****s..And their sloppiness is beinging a bad name to democracy. They only work for salary. They have no courage of conviction and they are only good at sucking up to their masters. These journalists along with the politicans have made a mockery of democracy and I only have seen these journalists help our corrupt politicans promote demagoguery. The term Democracy is used by the media and politicians to confuse people and create an illusion that we are a great nation when we are anything but that.

  13. InfyGoonda Says:

    Indians are egg headed. Trying to solve the same problem again and again.
    Babus asking for grease money, Neta buying votes, Real estate being expensive, Fathers paying dowry, Fake currency business and now journalists making extra income.. have root in the same system failure. Make taxation mandatory man. Make it mandatory to file IT returns for every one like they do elsewhere and then publish the IT returns of all the above and bounce the balls of those indulging in corruption.

  14. ರಾಮು ಕೆ Says:

    Earlier they used to discuss journalist as lesser paid fourth piller of democracy. Now things are changed/changing…at least for Editors whether managing or executive or Chief or resident…

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