Black Sheep of Indian Journalism Exposed

Chauthi Duniya accessed some documents that lifted the lid off the Pandora’s box of Indian journalism. Some well known names of Indian journalism will be shamed with what has come to light. These documents reveal not only that these mediapersons put journalism to shame but have also sullied their hands with the blood of Indian democracy even while it was being murdered by some very powerful forces. These incriminating documents prove that some of the so-called pillars of Indian journalism buttressed the draconian policies of the government during Emergency and also charged a fee! In this article we are publishing the names of these renowned practitioners of journalism along with the names of the newspapers they worked for and the amount of money they took from the government. Some of them are alive and at the peak of their careers while others have departed. But to not name the latter would be injustice to our sources – the documents of state itself – and we have, therefore, decided to publish all the names.

The drama that will unfold here refers to the dark days of Indian democracy, when on 26 June 1975, Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister of the country clamped Emergency in India. The Constitution was suspended and all those who were even felt to be detractors of the government were interned which included not just the leaders of the Opposition but a plethora of journalists as well. And this fate befell all those who tried to raise their voices in favour of constitutional rights and democracy. A stifling censorship was imposed upon all the publications in the country. Doordarshan became the mouthpiece of the government and proved to be the most effective propaganda machine. To justify, not explain, and to brand all opposition as treason was the main occupation of Doordarshan. All the programmes were aimed at disseminating false (read pro-government) information and to discredit all criticism that came, mainly from journalists. Many among the latter were fighting against the atrocities of Emergency, but some also chose to buckle down before the government.
The billion rupee question: who were those journalists who were sitting in the studios of Doordarshan and misleading the people? When Doordarshan had become the mouthpiece of tyranny and when other media houses were reeling under censorship of the worst kind, would anybody sitting in the studios of Doordarshan be sitting there to critique the actions of the government? Also, why did the people who were the foundations of the fourth estate at that time, lend themselves to be apologists of totalitarianism?

During the Emergency it was the unambiguous policy of Doordarshan to popularise the Twenty- and Five-Point Programmes of the Indira Gandhi government by disseminating false information and spreading canards. For this purpose Doordarshan used to call journalists – making them say what the government wanted the people to believe. Journalistic voices, the ostensible neutrality and pro-people nature of the profession were used to lend credence to the discourse of falsity that the Emergency was. These documents from the Directorate General of Doordarshan carry the names of these journalists, their newspapers and the remuneration that they got for serving the government in the aforesaid fashion.

loading...

The most shocking faces on Doordarshan were those who are considered journalists of the highest order today. Names like Dilip Padgaonkar of the Times of India appeared no less than 7 times, justifying government policies. Later, he went on to become the Editor of the Times of India newspaper. Even today he remains one of the trusted journos of the UPA government. Others like S. Swaminathan Aiyyar of The Times of India, Akshaya Kumar Jain of Navbharat Times, Balraj Mehta of The Indian Express, Gautam Gupta of The Business Standard and G.S. Chawla of Pratap newspaper also joined the bandwagon. Sumer Kaul of The Indian Express appeared 20 times on behalf of the government and received 2000 rupees for rendering his services. Then comes Mr. P. Sharma of The Statesman who appeared 11 times to advocate the cause of the Indira government. He got 1100 rupees. Chetan Chaddha of The Indian Express and G.S. Bhargava of Hindustan Times stand tied at 8 appearances and received 800 rupees each. Also, there were two more journalists who were booked by Doordarshan for a fixed programme; they appeared fortnightly. They were Mahavir Adhikari and Sarika K. Kamaleshwar of Navbharat Times. The documents do not aver how much money they got in exchange for their expertise. G.P. Bhatnagar was the most visible face on Doordarshan during Emergency. He appeared 21 times in favour of the government and received 2100 rupees for rendering his services. Second to him was Satya Suman of Samachar Akhbar who appeared 9 times and got 900 rupees. The sums of money that these people got might appear meagre today but 37 years ago in 1975 when Emergency was imposed, it was substantial.

Journalism and Democracy are complementary phenomena. There is no scope for freedom of press without genuine democracy and without a free press no democracy can claim to be genuine. During the Indian National Movement the erstwhile freedom fighters had made journalism one of the most potent weapons to fight colonialism. Given this legacy and heritage, journalism without a true concern for people and without the realization of one’s responsibilities is nothing short of farce. Fighting against all forms of exploitative structures is the true essence of journalism. When Indira Gandhi slapped Emergency and suspended democracy it was the duty of every journalist to wage a relentless protest against it. Instead the above mentioned did the opposite. Instead of fighting for restoration of democracy they became the spokespersons of the Congress party and received money too!

The accessed documents have exposed the underbelly of journalism and locate the genesis of the degeneration in journalism that has become so very evident today. These documents are only an introduction to the full text of moral turpitude in journalism. As a result, not just governments but journalism and the media itself stand accused of corruption: the erosion of their legitimacy has been complete. People have started looking at news media as just another facilitator of dominant and entrenched interests. And why not; the people start questioning the legitimacy and veracity of reportage once mediapersons are found to have foundered.

Today big journalists have become big middlemen and the trend has been followed by small time journalists as well. Paid news and advertorials have become a standard and, unfortunately, a standard practice too. In small towns and cities journalists have become extortionists using threats and blackmail.
They also play an active role in the
transfer and posting of government officials. The nature of newspapers and television channels that surfaces during elections is nothing short of prostitution. But where the provenance of all these malpractices and trends lies is clarified by accessed documents. As of today there is no dearth of such journalists who make all kinds of arguments to hide the wrong doings of governments, so much so, that they are ready to even muzzle the voices raised against corruption. This is a sad and sordid state of affairs and these trends have once again endangered democracy. If the integrity and legitimacy of journalism depletes with the same pace as that of the political class then saving democracy will become a Herculean task. We may perhaps be sitting and crying over spilled milk.

This Document was prepared by Directorate General, Doordarshan in reply to Mr. M.V. Desai, Secretary of Press Commission of India. This document clearly states that the main thrust of Doordarshan programming during the period of Emergency was to publicise policies and programmes of the Government and to promote the 5 Point  and 20 Point Programme. The Programmes were also telecast to win support for measures like Constitutional amendments.

The documents provided by Media Studies Group, headed by Anil Chamaria

The Dubious List of ‘HONOUR’

Name of the journal

Name

No.of Times Booked

Total Payment (in rupees)

Times of India

Dilip Padgaonkar

7

700

Times of India

Usha Rai

2

200

Times of India

B.N. Kumar

1

100

Times of India

Dilip Mukherji

6

600

Times of India

Yogendra Bali

6

600

Times of India

S. Swaminathan Iyer

7

700

Times of India

Giri Lal Jain

4

400

Times of India

D.R. Ahuja

3

300

Times of India

Sukumar Jain

1

100

Times of India

Shivdas Bandopadhyaya

1

75

Times of India

Janak Singh

3

225

Economic Times

O.N. Kaul

6

600

Indian Express

Chetan Chaddha

8

800

Indian Express

Sitanshu Das

6

400

Indian Express

Surinder Sood

6

450

Indian Express

Sumer Kaul

20

2000

Indian Express

Balraj Mehta

7

575

Indian Express

H.K. Dua

4

300

Indian Express

Ram Mohan Gupta

1

75

Hindustan Times

Rasid Talib

4

600

Hindustan Times

Yatendra Bhatnagar

4

300

Hindustan Times

G.S. Bhargava

8

800

Hindustan Times

D.R. Ahuja

5

500

Hindustan Times

Jeewan Nair

1

75

Hindustan Times

Raj Gil

2

150

Hindustan Times

Promila Kalhan

1

75

Hindustan Times

Brij Bhardwaj

5

375

Hindu

K.K.  Katyal

4

400

Hindu

S.V. Krishnamurthy

1

75

Financial Express

Kewal Verma

3

300

Financial Express

Chetan Chadha

2

200

Statesman

Jyoti Sanyal

1

75

Statesman

P. Sharma

11

1000

National Herald

Najmul Hussan

3

225

Statesman

Gyanendra Narayan

4

300

Patriot

Profull Roy Chowdhury

3

225

Patriot

R.K. Mishra

1

100

Pioneer

Mehroo Jaffar

1

50

Tribune

G.R. Sethi

2

200

Blitz

Naw Kishore Nautiyal

6

600

Blitz

Bishan Kapur

2

150

Navbharat Times

Akshya Kumar Jain

7

700

Navbharat Times

Sat Soni

1

150

Navbharat Times

S.B. Pathak

2

200

Nav Bharat Times

Mahabir Adhikari

 

 

Saptahik Hindustan

Manohar Shyam Joshi

5

500

National Herald

Surendra Chaturvedi

2

150

Swatantra Bharat

Ashokji

2

150

Swatantra Bharat

Chandradaya Dixit

2

150

Pratap

G.S. Chawla

7

525

Dinman

Trilok Deep

2

200

Dharamyug

Manmohan Saral

4

400

Mastana Jogi

J.P. Bhatnagar

21

2100

Tej

Vishwabandhu Gupta

1

100

India Press Agency

O.P. Sabharwal

5

500

Drishti ’Hamdard’

Brijender Singh

1

50

Nawan Sahit

Pyara Singh Data

1

50

Aks

Amarjit Singh

1

50

Prerna

M.S. Luthra

1

50

Aarsi

Pritam Singh

1

50

Vikendrit

Prabhjot Kaur

1

75

Trinjan

Niranjan Awatar

1

75

Pankhariyan

Amar Jyoti

1

75

Fateh

Manjit Singh Narang

1

50

Pahredar

Kartar Singh Kanwal

1

50

Lokrang

Tara Singh Komal

1

50

Election Archives

Shiv Lal

4

700

Maharashtra Times

Govind Talwalkar

2

200

Maharashtra Times

V.N. Deodhar

2

200

Free lance

K. Vajpayee

1

100

Free Lance

Kamlakar Kaushik

2

200

Nav Shakti

P.R. Behre

5

500

Maharashtra Times

Chandra Kant Tamhane

4

400

Loksatta

T.S. Kohje

2

200

Free Lance

D.B. Karnik

2

200

Free lance

Harish Bhanot

1

100

Madhuri

Arvind Kumar

2

200

Sarvodana Sadhane

B.A. Patil

1

100

Free Lance

Vishwanath Sachdeva

4

400

Free Press

Ram Trikand

1

100

Free lance

Prabhakar Ranade

2

200

Free Lance

S.R. Tikekar

2

200

Loksatta

Vidyadhar Gokhale

3

300

Free Lance

Yashwant Padhye

4

400

Sarika

Kamleshwar

 

 

Lok Sevak

Ramen Das

2

150

Free Lance

Prasanta Bose

2

150

Business Standard

Gautam Gupta

7

525

Free lance

Ramen Mazumdar

1

100

Ananda Bazar

Tapas Ganguli

3

300

Amrit Bazar

R.N. Bannerjee

1

75

Anand Bazar

Nirmal Sinha

1

75

Free Lance

Satyaranjan Biswas

1

75

Naba Bharti

Jyotirmoy Ghosh

1

75

Basundhra

Sulekha Ghosh

1

75

Anand Bazar

Nikhil Mukherjee

1

100

Dinamalai

V.P. Salsri

1

75

UNI

G. Ranganathan

1

75

Dinamalai

M.S. Viswanathan

1

75

Dinamalai

N.P. Srirangam

1

75

Business Standard

T.S. Srinivasan

1

75

Industrial

S. Viswanathan

1

75

Economist

 

 

 

Dinamalai

M. Rajaram

1

75

Free Lance

Gyanendra Sharma

5

375

Quami Awaz

Ishrat Ali Siddiqui

1

100

Navjivan

K.K. Misra

1

100

National Herald

K. Saxena

2

150

Samachar

Harpal Nayyar

1

75

Aaj

Rajendra Singh

1

100

Iqbal

G.N. Khayal

7

700

Khidmat

N.L. Wattal

6

450

UNI

Bashir Ahmed

5

375

PTI

P.N. Jalali

5

375

Srinagar Times

G.M. Sofi

5

375

Aftab

Sanaullah Bhatt

3

225

Mandir

P.N. Raina

1

75

Hamdard

Maqbool Husaain

1

75

Chinar

M.A. Buch

1

75

Aaina

Shamim Ahmed Shamim

2

150

loading...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *