The trivialization of the debate on the anti-corruption Jan Lokpal bill involving Kiran Bedi in which even the former Chief Justice of India got involved should sadden every Indian whose expectation of strong anti corruption law is receding with each passing day.
In India, we have this ridiculous tendency to paint most international news stories with a desi brush. From NASA space missions to Egyptian protests to insider trading cases; it’s horrendous to read stories that begin with the headline “NRI man,” “Indian-origin woman.” That’s a spin that doesn’t need highlighting the way it is.
A leading English newspaper sent a proposal to Kalmadi for positive coverage of the CWG in November 2009. The entire deal was worth Rs 12.19 crore. The media group wanted an “Official Newspaper” status for its flagship newspaper.
The proposal stated: “We do not solicit any financial assistance from CWG for the above activities apart from the regular advertising support for encouragement.”
The final report of the PCI is so watered down that if one compares it with the draft report, the extent of corruption in the media itself gets exposed.
The most notable difference between the two reports is that while the draft report listed specific instances of paid news with the names of media publications, the final report does not mention even a single name. This, at a time when the entire Indian media is going all-out against the corruption in the Commonwealth Games 2010.
The “paid news” phenomenon has left the parliamentarians of the country worried with senior MPs and even Vice President of India and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari expressing concern over the malpractice. Infact, a lot of politicians across party lines have suggested that exchanging money for “paid news” should be declared as a corrupt practice.
The report, Paid News: How corruption in the Indian media undermines democracy, was prepared by a two member sub-committee of the PCI.