Media

The Wire or The Liar? Old habits die hard

Habits indeed are tough to change, and if the habit is that of lying, lying by none other than journalists of The Wire, we know they will stay! The Wire and its constituents will go to any extent to prove they are speaking the truth. But a lie does not become a truth merely because a journalist speaks it. Among the many lies spoken by Siddharth Varadarajan and Venu, a few of them are such which deeply hurt my nationalistic sentiments and I want answers from him. He, Sidharth Bhatia & MK Venu has put to tatters – my nation’s trust in fair journalism.

It is not an exaggeration when twitterati calls The Wire as liar. We know what the not-so-honourable men (‘The Wire’) have done. I have taken the time to do my research when I write this, unlike them. It is funny how The Liar..err..The Wire has spun one lie after other. As rightly said, when the public’s right to know is threatened, and when the rights of free speech and free press are at risk, all of the other liberties we hold dear are endangered. Famous journalist Shalini Singh, while she was with ‘The Hindu’ under the ‘not so able’ leadership of Mr. Varadarajan, broke the news of Vadra Scam in 2012, building on the evidence provided by Rohini Singh, a colleague of Siddharth Varadarajan. But the then editor of ‘The Hindu’ took 7 long months to carry out the story. Why?

While he was conveniently sitting on the story, Ms. Shalini Singh sought permission to give the story along with the documents to Mr. Prashant Bhushan who was at that time involved with “India Against Corruption”. None of the several opportunities available with ‘The Hindu’ under the ‘(not so) able leadership’ of Siddharth Varadarajan were taken until Mr. Prashant Bhushan’s press conference happened!

The ouster of Varadarajan from the editorial board of the Hindu does not seem to have taught him a thing or two about integrity. I call it ouster because there are news to prove this. Siddharth Varadarajan and CEO Arun Anant were accused of diverging from the “core values” of the Hindu. There was recurrent violations and defiance of the code of editorial values of The Hindu under Varadarajan’s leadership.  N. Ram, chairman of Kasturi & Sons and Ravi’s (the current editor-in-chief) brother said “There was editorialisation in the guise of news and manipulation of news coverage”. Varadarajan’s tenure also saw “loaded items on politicians” and “pieces that should have appeared in the edit pages and not as news stories”. After a stormy board meeting of The Hindu, Varadarajan was re-designated as the contributing editor and senior columnist at the daily while Anant was removed from his post as the chief executive officer of KSL. All directors of the board admitted to “problems” under the leadership of Varadarajan and Anant.

Significantly, his appointment was challenged by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy who filed a petition in the Delhi High Court contending Varadarajan’s ineligibility for the job as he is US citizen. He is an American citizen and has been living and working in India for the past 17 years through a Residential permit and PIO Card. In his petition, Swamy argued that the editor of a newspaper must be an Indian citizen because the Supreme Court has said that news items published in a newspaper “cause far-reaching consequences in an individual and country’s life.”

The Wire under their leadership continues to write poorly researched articles and backing it not with facts and data but rhetoric and conjectures. We know how they targeted Arnab Goswami (we all know who he is) and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament. Reason? Because Arnab exposed too many of his friends in the left. I was scrolling on twitter when I came across a tweet where a gentleman echoed my thoughts.

So the repeat was with ‘The Wire’ writing an un-researched article on Amit Shah’s son, Jay Shah. It was indeed low on facts and high on innuendo. They even gave a spin to RSS leader Dattatreya’s statement on Jay Shah’s allegations. In a particular video on self proclaimed media watchdog Newslaundry, while Siddharth Varadarajan was the Editor of The Hindu, he said – “reporting of corporate affairs was our weakness” on being asked as to why they didn’t report the 2G scam as the other media houses were doing. What he meant was it was his leadership under which the team somehow did not understand corporate affairs. The legacy indeed continues at ‘The Wire’ where they did a poor reporting of the corporate matters on Jay Shah case and had to reap the consequences of what they sowed – a defamation claim of a whooping INR 100 Crores. Citing prima facie case, the court has now summoned the reporters, editors. Varadarajan had himself said “conducting due diligence on any material you get is what responsible editors do”, but ‘The Wire’, to popularise themselves, do what they love to do – Repeat – publish fake news – retract fake news and claim ‘brave journos under threat’….We get what you’re trying to do, Wire! Arnab, please note!

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