– Bhoomi Banu
Media has been giving unprecedented coverage to a social movement. Anna Hazare has been projected as Mahatma Gandhi, though he does not match him intellectually. New Delhi correspondent of Suvarna News 24/7 Prashanth Natu, while reporting general mood at Ramlila Maidan just before Anna landed there, explained his viewers how news channels were prepared to cover the event live
Each channel had deployed a camera crane to capture long and wide shots of the gathering with precision. Because the channels wanted to show how many are behind Anna and with that how many are against corruption in the country. And, with that the channels also wanted to convey the public that they are also with Anna in his struggle.
It is high time to look how far our media houses are morally right to raise voice against corruption. Are channels free of corrupt practices? An owner of a media house in Karnataka, who owns a newspaper as well as news channel, sent a letter expressing his support to Anna’s movement to the Freedom Park, where protesters were staging a dharna. Interestingly a reporter covering the event from the Park read out the letter for his viewers and with that officially the channel endorsed its support. The same media mugal in the making had played a major role in welcoming Anna to Bangalore and organizing his events in Bangalore.
It is a well known fact among those covering politics for the past few years that he entered Rajya Sabha as an Independent candidate through unholy means. He had got support of both the JD(S) and BJP votes. And, needless to say he had bought votes for his victory. It is well established fact that if an independent candidate does not purchase votes it is impossible for him to get elected in elections to Rajya Sabha. The MLAs, who got elected after wooing voters, do not vote for others unless they are wooed.
Tell me, what moral rights he has to support Anna? Anna and his team need to understand that their movement has been taken over by corrupt people like him. The other day half a dozen ministers staged a dharna and said they are in support of Anna. Fortunately Yeddyurappa did not take part.
Let us come back to media again. Deccan Herald and Prajavani (Aug 19) carried reports stating that friends of BJP national president Nitin Gadkari were among those got favours from people involved in illegal mining, as per the contents of the Lokayukta report on illegal mining. In the same report both the newspapers have published certain names of people who reportedly received monetary benefits from close associates of mining barons of Bellary. “R.B” and “V.Bhat” are names prominent among those given in the news report. Besides, Press Club has been paid Rs 5 lakh, while “Sanjay Sir” spent some money for journalists of Bangalore. In the name of Deccan Chronicle Rs 25 lakh has been paid. Purpose of money transferred is not mentioned. The news report only replicates the data recovered from a henchman of powerful people in Bellary.
According to the report, R.B was paid Rs 10 lakh, while V.Bhat was paid Rs 75 lakh in two installments in a gap of five days. Any layman in Karnataka media can guess whom these names suggest to. They are popular and known for preaching through their columns. And, yet they have been in support of Anna. There may be many of their colleagues in the field engaged in dubious deals to make money. But neither Anna nor their supporters speak about cleansing the media world, whose corrupt practices end up misleading the public.
Screenshot Courtesy: Deccan Herald.