Tuesday, January 31, 2012



The Press Trust of India has reported as follows on January 31,2012:

“In a significant disclosure, the Union government today told the Supreme Court that the Radia tapes broadcast by media organisations were tampered with and the government agencies were not responsible for its leakage.

“Placing a confidential report in a sealed envelope before a bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi, the government said there were eight to ten agencies, including service providers, involved in the tapping of telephonic conversation of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia.

“The bench went through a few initial pages of the report which stated there was tampering with the conversations which were released by media.

“The report says the starting and the end point of the conversation do not match with the original tapes, Justice Singhvi said referring to the report.

“He said the report also says that officers, who had conducted the probe, do not know who has leaked it.

"It is quite possible that someone else has done it," the bench said.

2.It is the final end of the agony sought to be inflicted on Barkha Dutt, the shining TV journalist, by some jealous members of Barkha’s journalistc fraternity and by some Hindutva elements which came together in an unholy alliance to damage her personal and professional reputation, demoralise her and drive her out of TV journalism.

3. Each had its own agenda for their determined pursuit of their attempt to destroy her reputation. If professional jealousy was the driving force of the Media McCarthyism unleashed against her by sections of the journalistic community, her consistent and courageous support to various causes dear to her --- whether in Jammu and Kashmir or Gujarat, whether relating to artist M.F.Hussain or writer Salman Rushdie, whether the human rights of the religious or ethnic minorities--- triggered the irrational rage of the Hindutva elements against her.

4. Even before the Government of India informed the court of its findings regarding the fabrication of the tapes, the insidious campaign against Barkha had failed. Her recent celebrated interviews with Oprah Winfrey, the US TV star, and Salman Rushdie showed---if additional proof was needed--- that her adversaries had miserably failed to tarnish her reputation and to damage her personal and professional morale, which has remained as high as ever.

5. She now has reasons to be gratified by the findings. Barkha, a true professional to her hard core, is not the person who will gloat in public over her personal and professional vindication, but if the members of this unholy alliance have even the slightest trace of decency in them, they at least owe her an apology in public even if she does not ask for it.

6.I am giving below extracts from what I had written about the insidious campaign against her since December 1,2010:

There is nothing inappropriate or unethical in Barkha's writings, reportage and actions. As regards her private conversations with Radia over phone she has explained the background and context and denied any malafide or unethical intention. Her explanation should be accepted instead of trying to fix her through an inquisition. ( 1-12-10)---From my article of December 1,2010, titled “Fixing Barkha Dutt” at http://ramanstrategicanalysis.blogspot.in/2010/11/fixing-barkha-dutt.html

I chose to defend Barkha because I strongly feel that her hard-earned reputation as a young, courageous and successful journalist, is sought to be besmirched----wittingly or unwittingly---- on the basis of an incomplete and motivated narrative. It is incomplete because only about three per cent of the total number of about 5800 intercepts has been made public. This clearly indicates that there has been a careful selection of the intercepts to be leaked to the press. Who made the selection? With what motive? Unless one has answers to these questions, there should be a big question mark over the narrative.—From my article of December 7,2010, titled IT'S DANGEROUS TO DEFEND BARKHA DUTT at http://ramanstrategicanalysis.blogspot.in/2010/12/its-dangerous-to-defend-barkha-dutt.html

Whatever may be the ultimate outcome of the investigation and other enquiries into the Radia tapes, one has strong reasons to believe that this shameful episode represented "Media McCarthyism" of the worst kind in order to tarnish the reputation of Barkha and ridicule and intimidate those supporting her. One would be entitled to expect that the media houses and journalists, who allegedly played a role in fanning this "Media McCarthyism" against Barkha, would now have the grace to apologise to her in public. From my article of April 19,2011, titled BARKHA DUTT : VICTIM OF MEDIA McCARTHYISM ? at http://ramanstrategicanalysis.blogspot.in/2011/04/barkha-dutt-victim-of-media-mccarthyism.html

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )