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Business-Standard's double standards - worse than Tata's?

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Since I read almost all editorials carried by Business Standard, read their (Mr T N Ninnan's?) take today on Tata's Rs 15 cr remark as well. To quote the editorial:

Mr. Tata has neither been brave nor has he served the cause of good governance. His tangential remarks this week ... make him look smaller.

However, few years ago, sometime after UP state elections, same space had carried serious but anonymous takes on "rates of corruption" in northern states. Context clearly was UP, though it was referred to as northern state. Attack was on the clearance infrastructure projects, PPPs etc, and the editorial (it may have been T N Ninnan's sunday piece, not sure) carried an explicit comment like this:

Industrialist friends tell me that rate for getting clearance for projects in a prominent northern state has now gone from double to triple digit crores of rupees.

Above is not verbatim, as I do not have the clipping saved. But what do the large media houses, who are in the know "all the time" do? Bunch of us at Praja, doing quarter-ass unintentionally journalistic activities in our spare time only hear enough of these things, what would be the volume of information with large media houses!? Are they also afraid like us (ordinary citizens, small time groups like Praja)?

When Mr Tata is afriad to risk wounds, when large media houses are afraid to go beyond anonymous mentions, what signals would the ordinary givers like us take?


silkboard's picture

media and corruption - different thing

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As many know, media too is not clean themselves. Who they pick to attack, and why they prefer some people to praise or criticize gets questioned at times. But, I must clarify thaT this is only to accuse business standard of double standards, not anything else. When it comes to picking the personalities and issues to analyze, I find them better than many others.

silkboard's picture

Barkha Datt etc etc

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Thanks to a timely reminder from IDS, watched Barkha Datt defend herself on her own channel. My God, was that an attack or defense. HAving gone through the tapes, I must say that her "I was merely stringing along a source" defense doesn't seem to hold much water.

But then, what was wrong if she was merely playing a messenger. Nothing at all if there was no money being exchanged or accepted, or if the news stories on her channel were not being edited to support the arguments she may be passing along.

I stopped watching news channels couple of years ago, esp after all channels settled for the very cheap and easy to organize "5 experts come to the studio and talk" format. There is a difference between news and discussion. And there are better formats (this website is an attempt) for doing discussions.

Anyway back to the fascinating fallouts of radia tapes, media twist has been interesting. When the journalist know so much, and have the power to get away even if they pass un-proven verdicts (they have, on many occasions), how do they decide what to keep and what to pass on.

kbsyed61's picture

Holier than thou!

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This phenomenon is called "Holier than Thou" attitude. I am not holding any brief for Burkahs or Tatas here.

Every person representing their constituency would tell that they have not done anything wrong. Didn't Tata telling us that? Didn't Mallya defended the exorbitantly high price rise in airline ticket? Basically everybody defends their turf.

Having said that, aren't we also being hypocritical in pointing fingers others while we have also remained mute spectators to everyday news of MPs/MLAs filing false affidavits to garner BDA Sites under G quota. Aren't we being selective in glossing over such corrupt practices? Shouldn't we file PIL to stop this misappropriation of public assets?

My parents lived their life in a rented place due to constraints in buying a house site from non-BDA sources while hoping to get a BDA allotment. Starting from Matadhalli/RT Nagar layout in 70s, they tried applying for BDA site several times, i.e 3-4 times atleast. Finally they lost their hope and stop applying for it altogether.

What is BDA? It is nothing but a den of corruption, run for kiths and kins of of netas, Babus and their friends. We hardly discuss anything of these here on this site.

Aren't we selective?



kbsyed61's picture

MP Rajeev Chandrashekar's open letter to Ratan Tata!

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Courtesy - IBNLive

"... There are several other questions that deserve answers, including why a group like Tata with its sterling character and reputation requires outside lobbyists to lobby on their behalf! That, in itself, is enough to shatter one's confidence!

I reiterate that this letter is not meant to tarnish or disrespect or distract from the many achievements of the Tata Group including the acquisition of International Brands like Land Rover, Jaguar and its increasingly global footprint. But I believe, on behalf of many erstwhile supporters of the Tata group, that it is my duty to seek and spotlight the truth. The Tata Group has a responsibility, and indeed, owes it to its many admirers in India to actually live up to its image of ethical conduct, otherwise your statements and actions will seem to be hypocrisy – something that's already available in plenty in our public and corporate life. ..."

idontspam's picture


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 Judges are corrupt, Politicians are corrupt, Babus are corrupt. Law makers are corrupt, Law enforcers are corrupt. Abuse in the name of democracy. Banana Republic no doubt. Everybody wants to take public money and put it in their bank to feed their children. Our children be damned. Whats this affliction called? 

Naveen's picture

It had to come

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Accusations against Tatas had been due at some point after Radia tapes. Rajeev Chandrashekar seems to have taken on the Tata house !

It's really sad that one of the best known corporates in the country, or perhaps the best known corporate house has stooped to such low levels when matters involve it's business interests.


cheap and easy to organize "5 experts come to the studio and talk" format.

SB - Our media is no better than our politicians. They have mastered the art of bringing all the slandering /hate mongering /criticism between parties out into the open much more easily & right into "living rooms". The sickening thing is that almost every news channel does almost exactly the same now. The variety of coverage that was available previously has been lost.

idontspam's picture

 I think to put ourselves to

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 I think to put ourselves to shame so we can take corrective action we should call ourselves The thieving & stealing republic of India

vvr's picture

Quid Pro Quo?

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SB said,

"But then, what was wrong if she was merely playing a messenger. Nothing at all if there was no money being exchanged or accepted, or if the news stories on her channel were not being edited to support the arguments she may be passing along"

There is a tacit understanding that when such favors are granted that there is something expected in return.  With BD, I do not know enough to know if there is any  such thing. But it is commonly known in journalistic circles that she is on a power/ego trip. Money might not have exchanged hands.

On the other hand, NDTV is in deep financial trouble and there are veiled accusations  that they have made all sorts of shady financial deals. The fact that the company's finances are in deep doodoo does not stop the principles from living like modern day emperors. The only way one can find out if there is a quid pro quo is to follow the money. But the media does not have the appetite to investigate itself, barring a few exceptions.

One of the others that got embroiled in this mess (VS) lives a 7-star life style that is somehow not commensutrate with his job as a mere newspaper editor. When he is in Mumbai, he lives in one of the best suites at the Taj Mahal hotel (as he himself proudly proclaimed in the Taj Hotel in-house glossie) and the executive chef himself prepares a special meal for him. He is not ashamed to admit that such star treatment extends to his 18-year old son. If there is no quid pro quo between VS and the Tatas (with Radia acting as a conduit), I will shave my head.

And then there is an editor of a newspaper that sells a mere 20,000 copies and is running at a loss. This guy has a fleet of half a dozen or more luxury cars.

I often visit a sibling in Delhi (herself a senior editor of a national paper with 35+ years experience and with easy access to such luminaries as the PM) and her entire building is populated with various people like herself. These homes are your very very basic 2 or 3 bedroom apartments in a very middle class neighborhood. Apparently, that and their Maruti 800s are all these folks can afford in their senior editor salaries.

There is no doubt that "all editors are equal but some are more equal than the others". It is not just newspaper editors, we are creating an entire class of people that are completely disconnected with the reality of our country and they might as well be living in Monte Carlo.

It is sad to see  all aspects of our society rotting like this. Even more disturbing is this trend to flaunt one's ill-gotten wealth with no fear of retribution. God save our (Banana) republic.



idontspam's picture

...and now the 4th estate

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 okay let me add some journalists are corrupt to the list of corrupt people in the comment above. All estates covered?

kbsyed61's picture

Include the academicians also!

idontspam's picture

From Matrix the movie

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 Morpheus: You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. 

The rabbit hole runs pretty deep, the more we know the more disgusted we will be. Are we the Obama certified superpower afterall? 

Ravi_D's picture

@IDS: We are a superpower after all....

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.... wielding an enormous corruption weapon embedded in its ~1 billion odd residents (save some children)!

kbsyed61's picture

Tata's response to MP Rajeev Chandrashekar!

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IDS, the affliction is called "Sab Nange hein is Hamaam Mein - All are naked in this bathroom"

Now it is turn of Mr. Tata to throw sum mud on MP Rajeev Chdrashekar and his patron party (Party with difference).

Mr. Tata wrote to Rajeev " ...You and many others have focused your attention on Ms. Radia as a corporate lobbyist. I would like to draw your attention to the following-

You parked yourself at the Taj Mahal Hotel Delhi, for several months since 2002 which was the centre of operations for you to prevent entry of VVLL Limited Mobility and CDMA as well as to interact with the polity and bureaucracy and with other operators to forge telecom policy of your choice. You did this in your own capacity as also as President of COAI.

You also constantly solicited support of CII.

Would you not consider this as an endeavor to influence or subvert policy? To influence politicians or solicit support from selected corporates? l take it that in your view this would not constitute lobbying..." comment guidelines

Posting Guidelines apply for comments as well. No foul language, hate mongering or personal attacks. If criticizing third person or an authority, you must be fact based, as constructive as possible, and use gentle words. Avoid going off-topic no matter how nice your comment is. Moderators reserve the right to either edit or simply delete comments that don't meet these guidelines. If you are nice enough to realize you violated the guidelines, please save Moderators some time by editing and fixing yourself. Thanks!

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