Friday, 22 November 2013

Media’s dhande-wale and dhande-walian

Here is what Tehelka's Shoma Chaudhury actually meant by "internal matter" as regards the sexual assault complaint against Tarun Tejpal.

Being a "media" is not just a notional commonality between those who procure sexual services for their customers and those who bring "news" to the public.

Pimping of various kinds comes naturally to India's mass "media" worthies - i.e. billionaire owners and their highly paid agents who describe themselves by such important-sounding appellations as "editor", "managing editor", "executive editor", etc. 

Pimps are often the consumers of the kind of services they provide their customers. 

Shoma Chaudhary --- Tehelka's "managing editor" who has just shown to the world her "managing" skills by "managing" for 10 days to remain unaware of the complaint of sexual assault made by an intern against owner-cum-"editor" Tarun Tejpal while each member of the staff (and very likely several persons outside the organization) knew about it --- told Headlines Today on Friday that there was no dearth of cases of sexual offences being committed in "media" organizations like hers.

"Such things have been happening in other media organizations even as we speak... I know it because colleagues keep calling (to inform me of such cases)."

Really? So why hasn't Tehelka been reporting all those cases of sexual offences within "media" organizations?

That question should immediately sound to us as naive -- as naive as wondering why Tehelka failed to put Vishakha Judgement guidelines in place.

Shoma Chaudhary has, obviously, a special instinct for the "ecosystem", which is not something to take issue with and report on, but something to adapt to. She wouldn't have survived long in the "media", let alone become a "managing editor", without such a special instinct.

Besides, Tehelka has been too busy ensnaring the BJP to have time to turn its gaze inwards. Who can forget 'Operation West End', the 2001 sting that marred the NDA government and that Tarun Tejpal described as revealing the "food chain" in granting of defence contracts. (Has that "food chain" disappeared since NDA bowed out in 2004? Another naive question.)

Here is an excerpt from Tehelka website, laying out the "fact-sheet" of 'Operation West End' and its aftermath.

"Finally, in another desperate attempt to discredit Tehelka and its investigation, in August 2001, some of the Tehelka transcripts that had been submitted to the Army Court of Inquiry and the Venkataswami Commission were leaked to the press. These transcripts related to army officers sexually compromising themselves with female companions provided by Tehelka journalists posing as arms dealers.
In terms of corruption, this is on par with the serious charges of bribery and misuse of power. By indulging in sexual encounters with female companions arranged by people they believed were arms dealers - that too in exchange for official favours from them - these army officers had severely compromised their official positions. Holding high designations in sensitive fields like ordnance and procurement, they had shown themselves not only to be of low moral standing, but had made themselves vulnerable to blackmail. Thereby potentially compromising national security."

As I said, pimping comes naturally to the "media" worthies and Shoma Chaudhury has always had her special instinct about her.

Here is what Tarun Tejpal reportedly said in 2011 at 'Think' (the event whose latest edition provided the backdrop to the alleged incident of sexual assault involving him and the intern).

“Now you are in Goa, drink as much as you want… eat and sleep well with anyone you think of, but get ready to arrive early because we have a packed house.”

Media pimps inhabit an elite and 'incestuous' world -- (no sexual pun intended even though, given Shoma Chaudhuray's revelation, nothing can be ruled out) -- consisting of a few "prestigious" companies where they condition each other in pimping and promote each other on mutually beneficial basis.

Tarun Tejpal, for example, worked with India Today and Outlook before starting Tehelka in the year 2000, according to Wikipedia.

Shoma Chaudhary too worked, unsurprisingly, with India Today and Outlook before joining Tehelka.

Most of these "prestigious" companies run their "most powerful" rankings which sometimes feature their own kind.
Tejpal, for example, was named in 2001 by Business Week (a foreign publication) "as amongst the 50 leaders at the forefront of change in Asia", according to the Wikipedia.

"Later in 2009, the (same) magazine named him amongst, 'India's 50 Most Powerful People 2009'.

Bear in mind that "pimping" by the "media" covers the widest sense of the term, subsuming, of course, the narrow, literal sense.

Take Shekhar Gupta, the part-owner and "editor" of The India Express (who, by the way, had also worked with India Today and currently appears regularly on NDTV as does Shoma Chaudhury).

The following is what Frontline -- which magazine, by the way, is published by an organization that belongs to the same elite and 'incestuous' world I am discussing here, despite its pretensions -- wrote, some time ago, about Shekhar Gupta-run Indian Express.

"The chief sponsor of the Indian Express group's 2011 Ramnath Goenka Awards for excellence in journalism, including ethics in journalism, was the Jaypee Group.
This group of companies has major interests in building dams, both for the Narmada river and in the northeastern region.
“Coincidentally”, a few months earlier Indian Express had mounted major campaigns against anti-dam campaigners in both places, particularly in the northeastern region, and in favour of large hydro projects in the region (which were also to be contracted to the Jaypee Group).
Another sponsor of this event was the seed company Mahyco Monsanto, which produces genetically modified (GM) seeds. Once again, it emerges that Indian Express produced a number of articles and reports in favour of GM crops before that."

Remember Radia Tapes and NDTV's Barkha Dutt's, "What should I tell them? Tell me what should I tell them?"
("Theek hai, not a problem. That’s not a problem, I’ll talk to Azad -- I’ll talk to Azad right after I get out of RCR [Race Course Road, the PM's residence]).

Sincere pimping is invariably rewarded.

Why, for instance, should Prannoy Roy's and Barkha Dutt's NDTV ever get into trouble, even if the company is involved in malpractices to raise funds, as The Sunday Guardian reported some time ago?

(The article has since disappeared from The Sunday Guardian website. Muscle flexing? Quite possible. Media pimps can be pretty ruthless - even in 'fixing' the most powerless, as the report on the following link shows.)

Here is some more on NDTV's deeds on Wikipedia, which I'd never imagine as anything other than a few scraps that made it to the public domain.

"Allegation of corruption and criminal conspiracy"
(On 20 January 1998 Central Bureau of Investigation filed cases against New Delhi Television (NDTV) managing director Prannoy Roy...)

"Commonwealth Games Contract"
(CAG alleged that while awarding contracts worth Rs 37.8 million for production & broadcasting of commercials for promoting CWG-2010 to NDTV & CNN-IBN...)

Now we know what Shoma Chaudhury meant by the phrase "internal matter" -- as she did in her preliminary comment on the sexual assault case; don't we?

Crime? IPC? Sections 376 and 354?

You got to be joking!!! That's for ordinary, Hindi-speaking riff-raff!

This guy is an owner-cum-"editor" and speaks English!

Now, if your son or daughter plans to become a journalist, tell them what matters most is getting your 'instinct' right, just like Shoma Chaudhury's.

Let them learn from media's dhande-wale and dhande-walian -- and they'll scale the heights of pimping.  

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