CHURUMURI POLL: Do you trust the media?

As if all the scams involving the legislature, executive and the judiciary weren’t enough, a big blow has been struck against the so-called fourth estate—the media—with tapped conversations allegedly revealing that some of Indian journalism’s biggest names may have crossed the line between legitimate news gathering to lobbying with political parties on behalf of corporate houses.

The voices of Barkha Dutt of NDTV, Vir Sanghvi of Hindustan Times, Prabhu Chawla of the India Today group, and other leading journalism lights—and the tone and tenor of their conversations with Niira Radia, the fixer of the Tatas and Ambanis—show that the first two may have actually played a less-than-innocent part in the reinduction of A.Raja, the disgraced telecom minister at the centre of the mammoth 2G spectrum allocation scam.

The employers of M/s Dutt and Sanghvi have issued boiler-plate denials, although it is the individuals, not the institutions, which stand charged. (Sanghvi has posted a response on his personal website.)  But there is no question that the contents are damaging to the credibility of the journalists concerned given the exalted positions they enjoyed as fair and competent opinion-shapers on national television.

Paradoxically, this moment of shame comes at Indian journalism’s finest hour, when it can legitimately claim to have unearthed the 2G, CWG, Adarsh housing society and the IPL scams. While motives are being attributed at the timing of the expose, the key issue is simple: the stinky stables of media need urgent cleaning up after the paid news, private treaties, medianet and other associated scandals that have tarnished its image in recent months.

At a time when trust in the media is slipping according to a recent survey, do scandals like these help enhance your trust in the media and mediapersons? Or do you think that they are carrying out their own agendas on behalf of hidden puppeteers while keeping you in the dark?

* Disclosures apply

Also read: The TV anchor, the ex-editor and TV personality

Why we didn’t air Niira Radia tapes: two examples

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25 Responses to “CHURUMURI POLL: Do you trust the media?”

  1. Alok Says:

    Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi don’t the media make.

    Let’s not forget that this was also broken by the rest of the media.

  2. Mysore Peshva Says:

    I am not persuaded that your high claim is supported by adequate evidence. I am referring to this claim:

    “[T]his moment of shame comes at Indian journalism’s finest hour, when it can legitimately claim to have unearthed the 2G, CWG, Adarsh housing society and the IPL scams.”

    The evidence, in fact, is in the opposite direction. In India’s democracy, the media, in general, have been chronic and acute underperformers.

  3. DailyBread Says:

    Lady does prostest too much. Henceforth there should be a full disclosure of on whose behalf these folks are speaking/writing and whats the quid pro quo.

  4. Tarlemaga Says:

    Barkhas journalistic approach has deteriorated over time, but then so has most “journalists’ “. We used to see star news as a entertaining movie, but so has NDTV become, only we feel sad about it. Barkha and the other senior journalists literally put words in the respondents mouth and cut the conversation at stages where they can conveniently and cunningly twist it. This is really sad. I think they have all picked up the wrong news channel to immitate (Fox news). I think Prannoy is the only decent journalist going around and possibly Vinod too. Rajdeep……. still like u but looks like u are not too far too. pls control your approach. The conversation between nira and barkha is actually not very uncommon. u must visit any of the pubs / bars and observe the visitors. after a couple of rounds each one knows every big personality in the country and have the ability to control such big personalities. Tha.ts how this conversation sounds.

    The 2nd point is even more disturbing. This is a very big social issue that is emerging. And if we as individuals do not control it now, we could be leading india to a country of lies, deception, low moral values and economically unstable. These deteriorated values will themselves act as economic terrors. Consider this: a huge young population, not enough quality education, migration to cities, not many jobs existing in cities and outside cities, fewer farmers so less agri production and higher demand hence expensive cost of living, low values and high importance of money so tons of wheeler dealers around as this does not require specific education skill sets, a country full of bullshitting wheeler dealers…….. recipe for a disaster and this is not too far in the future

    There is an article, i dont remember the name, where the cal based author talks about how he has been a very bad father since his kids are not prepared for todays world, where money is the core object of power and more importantly the means to getting this money is unimportant.

    The issues that are facing us today, where in even the journalists who are supposed to be the balancing factor in the social strata cannot be trusted, does not reflect good for a good tomorrow. And this just when we are at the tipping point of propelling us towards a key nation in the international arena. Judiciary, Journalists, politicians, the executives and the common man need to re-state core values and listen to your own conscience for a better future of their own next generation

  5. prasad Says:

    There has always been a close link between the Congress, DMK and the NDTV. You can see it in all the programs on NDTV. They are the people who get all the Awards also. NDTV and its correspondents in poor light!

  6. Das Says:

    “Don’t trust Indian media” -Narendra Modi

  7. gjlraj Says:

    Finally churumuri woke up ! Its really saddening to see the silence of mainstream media on this issue, either for the story or against it. Not even one line mention in any of the major dailies and 24/7 news channels. For news starving TV channels this could have been a major breaking news. This kinda points out that the rot is much deeper than Bharka Dutt and Vir Sanghvi.

  8. Ankit Says:

    Oh, I totally trust the Indian media to collude with netas and babus and to participate in the great indian loot fest.

  9. Raghavendra Says:

    Journalists are as corrupt as the soceity they are living in. The only difference is journalists have always shows up superiority complex and folks are really united (there is no opposition party among jounalists unlike among political parties).
    If they can slander somebody’s image on the basis of ‘alleged’ information, Barka gate was a huge news. You did not see a whimper!!. But, they go on preaching the world!!!

  10. Not A Witty Nick Says:

    This only proves why these media persons were awarded the best of civilian awards.

    I don’t buy Ms Dutt’s argument that she was only sharing the information, on the contrary she was creating new information by acting as an emissary of the congress. I would have admired her, if she had acted a postman to the congress of Gandhi’s time, not any time afterward!

  11. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    The urge to peddle influence gained by access to people in power, I would assume, is natural. Journalists are supposed to be able to use this access to serve the readers/viewers.

    Journalism in India is compromised at every level, ever medium.

  12. Tarlemaga Says:

    Vir Sanghvi using 4 letter words against Anil Amban and also taking sides in the family dispute.

    I always new this, as I worked in TOI for a while, but not a journalist, but as a support staff.

  13. Narayana Says:

    2G scam did not get unearthed by media. It was success of 3G that made 2G scam tumble out. The reason for 3G success is not benevolence of great leaders in Delhi but a simple downgrade of India’s rating by Moody’s six months before the auction. Moody had pointed out growing fiscal deficit and economists had warned a repeat of 1991 with more dire consequences. Probably that downgrade sent shivers down the spines of perpetrator of great rape of Bharat Mata in 1991 and made him press for free and fair auction to buttress government revenue and bring down fiscal deficit.
    Indians have to protest en masse and stop paying taxes!! Unless we demand we do not get!!On your tax returns show an arbitrary loss to you because of slipshod 2G auction and declare zero income next June.

  14. Ram Says:

    “Don’t trust Indian media” -Narendra Modi////

    But Modi trusts ETV???

  15. twistleton Says:

    Socio-economic hierarchies pervade all manner of institutions, not even the media is sacrosanct.

    Technology and material prosperity do not modernity make. Shining sets and fantastic production values does not guarantee integrity and authenticity of the news reports.

    In fact only under extremely perilous conditions does journalism regain any of its former glory. The rest of the time “it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

  16. Complex Says:


    You have a point there though Pioneer’s journalist was the one who pursued the case doggedly.

    Another example which bolsters your point.

    UPA is going on massive disinvestment, only they are calling it IPOs(Coal India, NMDC, NHPC etc)

  17. karihaida Says:

    3G auction and Moody’s is a bit of stretch isn’t it. As if fiscal deficit matters to any gov’t :)
    Agree with you about giving credit to the media for unearthing anything. Indian media is as corrupt as they come. Just look at CWG scam.. it is almost ready to be given a quiet burial and the less said about Adarsh scam the better. At least some clown among the numerous channels could run a countdown of how many days Kalmadi and his chamchas have been roaming free… like that clown Olberman, just to keep reminding the authorities and the people.

  18. midil class Says:

    Every institution is decaying in our country. Now media too is no exception. Over the years, they too have fallen for the money, glamour, power, socalled TRP etc. and have failed miserably. Sometimes, it is simply disgusting to read some of the magazines and watch some of the channels.

  19. mounaprasad Says:

    National Media esp ELM are doing a great disservice to their profession and to the people. If at all any decency and honesty is remaining (if at all) you can only find it in Vernacular press. ELM news reports and analysis should be taken with a bucket of salt and is only good for entertainment. Barkha and Vir have been suspected in the past for colluding with the ruling party…but now it has been conclusively proved.

    My guess is, these 2 worthies will be in line for some Padma award next time around for serving the first family and its interests. They will join the long list of eminent Padma awardees Rajdeep, Akshay Kumar, Abhishek, Saif Ali Khan etc.

  20. Curry Hurry Says:

    Rumor is that Radia and her media touts have now switched over to Blackberry.

  21. Narayana Says:

    No need to conduct this poll. Media just proved that it is not trustworthy. Why no mention of Radia tapes in the mainstream?

  22. mounaprasad Says:

    When NDA was in power, they had filed a FERA violation case against NDTV. However, it was given a silent burial after some time. I wonder why? Later the rusted Loh Purush of NDA was feted by NDTV and named man of the year…I wonder if there was a quid pro quo involved here?

  23. twistleton Says:

    More like you scratch my back and i’ll leave yours well alone :D

  24. Venkataraman Chandrasekhar Says:

    Dear Churumuri,

    This is not a comment but an attempt to contact you guys. If this is not welcome, please just disregard this. Thanks.

    I have been living in the US for about 40 years after graduating from IISc Bangalore. I enjoy my visits to your site.

    A friend of mine who has been living in the US for several years has recently decided to move back to India, to take part in what she calls “positive politics” in Bangalore. I am wondering whether you can help her. The following are some ways you could help her:

    1. If you know of people with similar interests, you could introduce them to her. (She does have one contact that I know of — Rajeev Gowda.)

    2. You could give her some publicity by interviewing her on your site.

    I think very highly of her. She has a B.E. degree followed by an MBA from the US. She has always danced to a different drummer and has shown a strong interest in socially worthwhile causes. Below are her contact details, in the form of an email from her. Please feel free to contact her directly. Thanks.

    She also reminds me of another acquaintance of mine called S.R.Hiremath, who returned to India after an MBA and several years of working in the US. I have lost contact with him. As far as know, he and his American wife have done exemplary work in India, with his India Development Service. If you have contact information for him, I would like that also.

    Dear all,

    Just wanted to let you know that I have resigned my current job at USAC and will be moving to India by end of this month. Some of you know that I have been thinking and talking about the idea of trying to engage in politics in India for years — and finally I have taken a real/concrete first step.

    I will be in touch. I have included my contact info below.

    More later,
    Shanthala Damle

    Google Voice: (202) 525-7158

  25. krishna Says:

    Have you ever wondered about the absolute control DMK and its ppl have on the media in Tamilnadu Not a single channel or paper has the guts to discuss the 2G scam and the medias dubious role in it. God save this place of many temples. The most vocal ppl are the most timid of the lot.

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