Panelists grilled Barkha on Radia Tapes on NDTV’s special unedited show. The debate was heated and ended without any conclusion.
Rajat Arora | Delhi | December 1, 2010
Finally the buck stopped on NDTV at 10 pm last night when 4 senior journalists grilled Barkha Dutt on Radia tapes controversy. The temperature of NDTV studio was high as the debate got heated many a times. NDTV claimed that the show was unedited.
During the questioning session, Manu Joseph, Editor, Open Magazine, went into a serious argument with Barkha over a question that why NDTV didn’t report a bigger story in 2009 that how with the help of corporate PR the government is formed in this country. He said this could have been the story of the decade. Barkha refrained to from answering the direct question and said that Radia was only a source of news for her and she was seeking a bigger story. She cross questioned Joseph by saying that it isn’t correct for him to question the editorial decisions and ethics as even the Open Magazine published the raw data without checking with the principal.
The debate once again got heated when Sanjay Baru, Editor, Business Standard said that we can discuss the media ethics on a larger platform but here we should focus on why NDTV didn’t pick up the Radia-journalists conversations story.
Barkha repeatedly said that it was error of judgement and she didn’t handle the conversation with Niira Radia carefully and she has taken a lesson from this episode. Sanjay Baru told Barkha that everyone makes mistakes and now she should say sorry to her audience and move ahead.
In her defense Barkha said, “I think there are serious issues that arise from this conversation. I don’t think that my conversation with Radia had any role to play in cabinet peddling or it was anyway related to A Raja. I cannot answer for anybody else but everybody who is anybody in the world of Indian journalism had talked to Niira radia.”
Answering Manu Joseph’s question Barkha said “I’m a political journalist and she took whatever formation she got about the cabinet forming from anybody who could provide it. I didn’t know about the proxy telecom wars and corporate wars. No one from the journalists involved in this controversy has come to TV and has justified his/her stand."
The twitter world was also filled with the views. Soon after the show Swapan Dasgupta, who was among the panel of editors tweeted “Barkha spoke with emotion and indignation. Expressed regrets over errors of Judgement.”
So, all being said and done, NDTV finally went for an open debate though nothing conclusive came out of that but the channel attempted to put a full stop on the controversy involving Barkha Dutt.
Post script: The questions related to media ethics and editorial judgments still remain unanswered and media, the Fourth pillar of Democracy has to be away from such controversies and must maintain its integrity.
Also read:Counterpoint Called Off, Will The Buck Stop? Open War: Daring OPEN, Defending Barkha, Disregarding Sanghvi Open War: Open Retaliates To NDTV’s Statement On Its Cover Story