Radiagate Tapes, A Crisis of Credibility – Himachal CM

Shimla: With Radiagate tapes have added fuel to 2G scam controversy, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal speaking at a media seminar said it was a crisis of confidence and credibility that is afflicting all sections of society, which included the media.

At a seminar about ‘Changing face of Indian media’ organized by India Media Center (IMC), Dhumal said that being a soft target, politicians were the first casualty who faced the crisis of creditability even though leaders have to once in five years go back to the electorate and secure a mandate.

Drawing attention to the virus of paid news, the chief minister cited an editorial by Prabhat Joshi ‘Jab Sipahee Chor Ban Gaya’ and said it was a matter of grave concern and creditworthiness of ‘breaking news’ had taken a hit.

Speaking about the leak of Radia tapes, he said that famous media personalities had become a victim to a reverse sting operation, something which the media itself created to justify dubious means as investigative journalism.

He said that while a crisis of confidence and credibility prevailed, the nation was on the rise to claim its just position among the comity of nations.

Mincing no words, Shyam Khosla, senior journalist and founding director of IMC earlier said that media needed to seriously introspect its role under the changing times.

Conflicts have always existed in a plural media, and an empowered press with enabling IT tools needed to draw a line between reporting facts and pandering to commercial interests, he said.

Putting a question mark over the roles of reputed journalists figuring in the Radia tapes related to the telecom scam, Khosla said, it was for every journalist to draw the line between professionalism and lobbying.

He said the media education was falling prey to commercialization and ethics was the first casualty in such teaching shops. Investigative reporting was on the decline and the differentiation between comment and reporting was on the wane.

In the opening lecture, Prakash Louhmi, IMC Himachal chapter said that a free press would not survive without a strong democracy.

He said that the political class was truly worried about the phenomenon of paid news because the person or party with more access to resources placed the others at a disadvantage in a free and fair electoral contest.

From rigging the ballot by the use of muscle power, democracy was under threat of being subverted by rigging mindsets through paid news. Credibility of reputed journalists stood exposed, said Lohumi.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik has nurtured Hill Post for over a decade. A chequered path had him drift from managing family owned apple orchards, to turning a documentary filmmaker, to a journalist - with India’s leading television networks and newspapers, to boot strapping in founding Start-Ups. He lives in Shimla.

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