The latest CAG report on CWG scam raises some uncomfortable questions with regard to the Indian media. The Power Post, in a post on August 26, 2010, revealed how various top media outlets competed with each other to grab the 'deal' for providing 'positive media coverage' to the CWG 2010.
A very happy and a prosperous 2011 to all the readers of Canary Trap. As we enter a new year, we bring you the top 10 posts of 2010 from different categories (Corruption, Politics, Security and Intelligence, History, Media Analysis).
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.
Documents available with Canary Trap reveal that CBI DIG Vineet Agarwal had sought call detail records of Nira Radia and some other middlemen from Directorate General of Income Tax through a letter on November 16, 2009. The CBI inquiry so far has completely shocked the government. As a result, the man leading the investigations into the scam was transferred. Is the removal of Vineet Agarwal a part of the government's efforts to bury the inconvenient facts that has emerged from the inquiry till now?