23 January, 2021

Cut-Rate Democracy

Pay and they will publish you. It’s a short stop to doomsday from here for our media.

Illustration by Sandeep Adhwaryu
Cut-Rate Democracy

Two years ago, when I told some of my more cynical fellow-tribals from the journalistic fraternity that I was about to complete a textbook on media ethics, they smirked. Media ethics? That’s an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, they said glibly. What became apparent to me then was that the image of the journalist in India has taken quite a battering. There are many among the aam admi who still trust the journo more than the hawaldar, the patwari or the magistrate and believe that he or she could articulate (if not redress) their grievances. But these days are disappearing fast.

It is not as if journalists were always glorified as crusaders and those who exposed corruption in high places. In 1981, Ashwini Sarin of the Indian Express broke the law to expose how poor women were being trafficked. He actually ‘purchased’ Kamala. A character based on Sarin was portrayed by Vijay Tendulkar as grasping and ambitious in a play called Kamala, subsequently made into a film. When sued for...



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