Media, Corruption, Morality, Awards – the Long and Short of it


After a round of chats with several politicians and mediapesons towards the beginning of the weekend, what came to light was real education.

As November 1, 2011 draws closer – why, it happens even months ahead – lobbying begins for the supposedly ‘coveted’ Rajyotsava awards. The list prepared under the Yeddyurappa regime may have gone for a toss. The present CM may have his own favourites.

Media, awards and morality

What is shocking is the way some of the men and women in the media have tried to lobby for this award. At least four names are being mentioned, who have been lobbying hard to be in the list of awards since last year.  The lobby includes money-launderers masquerading as philanthropists also.

A bit of study into their background, antecedents and personal life was quite a revelation. Media-owners, editors and lower-rung journos leading immoral life and indulging in ‘extracurricular’ activites in private, those who have exploited women working in their office, those who keep making ‘couch’ proposals inviting the female staff to their homes – these are the ones who keep pontificating from the housetops regarding probity in public life, marital loyalty, protection of personal privacy and the like. And they are the ones who hanker after awards.

After all, they need to couch their black deeds with outer gloss of respectablity with awards and recognition. Some of these so-called editors, who otherwise would not be able to write even a decent paragraph, those who have well-paid freelancers to ghost-write editorials and socially relevant write-ups for them, are being recognized with awards. And to speak of the calibre of the kind of organizations that institute or confer these awards leaves much to be desired.

Media and corruption

While on the subject of corruption in the media, the recent Lokayukta report exposed two big names from the Karnataka journalism. The Bellary Reddy’s entertainment list carried two prominent names, which could not be missed by anyone. Except for the Deccan Herald group, no one else published the news. Was it not serious enough? Or is it that everyone is ‘nanga’ in the King’s ‘hamam’?

While one of them has been held in high esteem by his weekly’s readers as being a paragon of virtue and ethics, the other heads a group of newspapers owned by a politician who has been spearheading a campaign for the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Why speak about the ‘paid’ news at the national level? It happens everywhere, in Bangalore, Mangalore and Bellary and everywhere.  Some journos, who are expected to be the conscience-keepers of the nation and who are normally thought to be crusaders against corruption, have obtained housing sites in Bangalore by devious means.

And if anyone thinks it does not happen elsewhere, one has only to attend the press meets of corporates in some other cities when a lavish spread is offered with booze too flowing liberally. A couple of electronic media journos have bought sleek cars and others have received free homes or land with the right links. Those who received the largesse may not only have the heart to admit it.

When the Fourth Estate is dominated by fifth columnists of this kind, God save our country.

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Author: Narendra K Shenoy- Bangalore