From the beginning of the NDA2’s term from May 2014, the NaMo administration has been fairly or unfairly criticized for its media handling. It’s not been too infrequent to come across reporters and editors grumbling about ministers and officials unwilling to talk to them or provide access to information. Does this grievance really stand on its feet? The answer may lie in the personal credibility of reporter/editor and the person they may try to access for a quote or two.
Unfortunately, following the publication of the Radia tapes and expose of several scandals involving so-called bigwigs of the media, poor beat reporters were generally made to pay for the sins of media barons/baronesses and their mercenary editors. When the NDA-2 was ushered in three years ago, the media scene was crowded by the scums of the world in which the poor beat reporters were struggling to survive and do their job honestly. Under pressure from their management, some of them compromised while the majority continued to do their job honestly. While the latter faced some initial difficulties, they soon found their moorings and reverted to their normal functioning. They were also assisted in their job by some of the informed ministers and their officials.
Look at Ministers like Arun Jaitley, Piyush Goyal, Suresh Prabhu, Nirmal Sitharaman, Raj Kumar Singh, and a few others. Can one accuse them of ever being inaccessible or reticent on policy issues? They may or may not give you ‘exclusive’ stories, but they and their senior officials are always accessible for clarifications and explanations. As every reporter knows, in Lutyens Delhi, the door always opens from the top. If one makes an effort to vibe with NDA-2 ministers and keep aside the Left-Islamo-Fascist ideology subscribed to by media bosses, there’s absolutely no obstacle to gathering genuine news and informed analysis.
One has to remember all the time that a reporter’s job is an unenvious one and fraught with difficulties from the word go. Apart from the obstacles encountered in accessing information, there are internal management problems in the publication/broadcast of information on the conduct of big businesses and key political figures. So let’s take it – journalism isn’t an easy trade anyway and that’s the beauty of it.
(By M K Shukla and Rakesh Ranjan)