While the entire country stood in solidarity with the ISRO chief K Sivan over the partial failure of India’s ambitious Moon Mission-Chandrayaan 2, at this time of grief, NDTV journalist Pallava Bagla heckled an anxious senior scientist at ISRO who had come out to address the media to explain about the failure in communication of the Vikram Lander.
A video of the press conference is doing the rounds of the Internet where a boorish Bagla can be heard accosting the senior scientist, questioning him coarsely about ISRO chief K Sivan’s absence from the media press-conference and alleging that a ‘junior’ scientist was entrusted with the responsibility of declaring the failure. The distraught scientist appeared bewildered and chose not to respond to Bagla’s shrill assertions.
Soon after the video went viral, the journalist Pallava Bagla drew criticism from several quarters for being inconsiderate and disrespectful of an ISRO scientist, who came out to brief the media about the failure in the communication link, amidst the tumult. Many prominent media personalities and politicians have questioned the ill-conduct of the NDTV journalist and slammed him for his insensitive remarks, especially at a time when the country should rally behind the ISRO. Though Bagla had tendered his apology for the incident, some journalists have still come forward to defend his capricious actions.
However, as soon as the Lutyens’ journalists saw one of the members of their fraternity and a fellow NDTV journalist being condemned for his shameless behaviour, they quickly rushed to his defence, from listing down their personal interaction with the concerned journalist to his ‘journalistic’ achievements to shield him from the barrage of criticism hurled at him for his unsavoury behaviour at the press conference.
NDTV journalist Vishnu Som overlooked Bagla’s follies and acclaimed him as their main man on all things science and space.
— Vishnu Som (@VishnuNDTV) September 6, 2019
One journalist-Vijaita Singh condoned Pallava Bagla’s churlish conduct and pinned the blame on those who questioned him for his rude remarks. In fact, far from holding Bagla in the dock for his supercilious rant, Vijaita painted him as a victim of ‘Lynch mob’ whose only job is to scout for daily outrage and Pallava is their latest victim.
Lynch mob has got their target. कोई न कोई तो चाहिए daily outrage के लिये। This is an organised attack on @pallavabagla
He apologised, but that doesn’t seem to be enough.
— vijaita singh (@vijaita) September 7, 2019
Another Lutyens’ lodestar, Nidhi Razdan, went on to hail Pallava as one of the finest, most experienced journalist in his field. Exonerating Bagla for his inappropriate conduct, Razdan too branded people condemning Bagla’s behaviour as ‘lynch mob’ and stated that since he had apologised, one shouldn’t demand his sacking.
Pallava Bagla is one of the finest, most experienced journalists in the field. His passion for science has been reflected in his body of work over the years. He has apologised for what happened today. To join the lynch mob and demand his sacking is uncalled for https://t.co/Bs5PgzEWnv
— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) September 7, 2019
In a carefully calibrated language, Sadanand Dhume, the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Lutyens’ journalist, obliquely applauded Pallava for expecting to hear from the head of an organisation. Dhume went ahead to intuitively draw a distinction between NDTV and unpatriotism, even when nobody accused NDTV of unpatriotism for Pallava Bagla’s eccentric outburst.
Some folks are sharing this to show up NDTV as unpatriotic. That’s absurd. While a national outpouring of affection for ISRO is understandable—and in some ways even commendable—in no free country would a journalist be chided for expecting to hear from the head of an organization. https://t.co/lMH5OAJ09A
— Sadanand Dhume (@dhume) September 7, 2019
A question on Pallava Bagla’s conduct directly threatens the already battered credibility of the NDTV, which is why NDTV employees and those sympathising with the channel have risen to defend the folly of one of their own. Bagla’s behaviour is a testament to the privilege, haughtiness, arrogance exhibited by Lutyens’ journalists. A symbiotic relationship has been meticulously cultivated by the members where everyone protects or defends the other on his/her mistakes so that the clique continues to enjoy unfettered benefits and action against individuals is discouraged. It is to this end that various NDTV employees and Lutyens’ journalists are taking up the cudgel in defence of Bagla’s crass behaviour, so that tomorrow when they err, other crooks from their coterie has their back.