Shekhar Gupta is himself a journalistic disaster

TheQuint came out with a sting report trying to project that the Sahayak system in the army was being seriously misused.  One of the Sahayaks, through leading questions, was made to say horrible things about the Army.  The concerned Sahayak, whose name and face was exposed in the sting, committed suicide when the video came out.  The journalist at TheQuint not only showed no remorse, but she actually justified her sting.  And the way this justification was carried, clearly shows that the management of TheQuint has supported the journalist, against whom the Army has charged violation of the Official Secrets Act, as well as abetment to suicide.

 In this context, Shekhar Gupta, a supposedly senior journalist based in Lutyen’sDelhi, tweeted:

Charging @TheQuint reporter with Official Secret’s Act and spying is a stupid joke.  It was just a journalistic disaster, and should end era of stings as investigation.

I am not making the above up.  He did tweet the above.

What Shekharji seems to be clueless about is that there is a force called the Internet Hindu.  One of them, Rahul Roushan tweeted:

As if journalist disaster have course corrected the industry.  Radia people’s careers grew, and wheeler dealers too have grown.

Radia refers to the notorious lobbyist, Neera Radia, who used journalists to get the UPA government to do what her clients wanted.  Shekharji was not one of them.  Yet, he felt it necessary to come to the aid of his colleagues, and he replied to Rahulji as follows:

Wrong. Five journalists figures in Radia tapes with varying degrees of culpability.  Each paid in same proportion.  Real Lutyen’s fixers all got away.

Once again, I am not making the above up.  A feature of ‘senior journalists’ in Lutyen’s Delhi is that they have absolute contempt for their readers.  They think that the reader will accept their stupid comments as words of wisdom.  The tragedy is that the reference group of Shekharji would actually say to him that his stupid comments are words of wisdom. And so he goes to sleep thinking that his stupid comments are indeed words of wisdom.  If he had spent a few minutes reading the comments to his tweet from those following him, he would have been seriously disabused.  But it is easy to pretend that the comments do not exist by not reading them.

I have heard many of the tapes of conversation between Neeraji and some journalists.  I can recollect four such persons – Vir Sanghvi, Rajdeep Sardesai, M K Venu, and Barkha Dutt.  I do not know who is the fifth.  In any case, except for Vir Sanghvi, who pretended to take a sort of sabbatical, the others carried on merrily in their jobs.  In fact, Barkhaji actually defended her conversation with Neeraji, saying that she played along with the latter to try and get a story!  Having contempt for their readers/viewers seems to be an essential requirement for being considered as a senior journalist in Lutyen’s Delhi.

Perhaps, Shekharji can inform the people of Bharat who were these five journalists, what was the degree of culpability of each, and what price was paid by each.  Perhaps then the people of Bharat will start to feel that there is a course correction in the industry.

Equally important, Shekharji should also inform the people of Bharat who are the real Lutyen’s fixers who got away.  I would like to suggest to him that having such people around is a serious threat for proper functioning of a democratic Bharat, where justice is not just done, but seen to have been done.

Then there is a comment by Sanjay Dixit to Shekharji’s first tweet above:

You mean law should be applied selectively – with journalists as privileged.

I thought this was a fair question, and many Internet Hindus agreed with it.  And, to my eternal happiness here is Shekharji’s reply:

No. That is why reporter cannot be charged with causing death.  Need fair inquiry into its cause and responsibility.

Happiness, because he confirmed my assessment that ‘having contempt for their readers/viewers seems to be an essential requirement for being considered as a senior journalist in Lutyen’s Delhi’.

The reporter has been charged, not convicted, after a preliminary inquiry.  And Shekharji is absolutely convinced that there has not been a fair inquiry, nor will there be one.  He has already pronounced the judgment in the case, so his subsequent tweets have to conform to the conclusion that he has already arrived at.

It is time that Shekarji, and other senior journalists in Lutyen’s Delhi, realize that they have gone way past their ‘best-by’ dates. They should crawl (figuratively speaking) into the woodwork, and stay there for the rest of their lives.  I think they have made enough in their dishonest method of living, and they will continue to live a lifestyle that this method has provided them.  Of course, they will not be go-to persons that they have so far been when those outside Bharat, and the expatriates in Bharat, want to know about the country and its people.  But then Bharat will be better served, since those wanting to know about the country will no longer be misled, and will take better decisions for themselves.

The people of Bharat will benefit in the process.  But, then, the people of Bharat have never been a concern for Shekarji and his cabal.

Editor’s Note:

For those interested to know more about the journalism practised by Shri Shekhar Gupta, we recommend this in-depth profile on him ‘Capital Reporter – How profit and principle shaped the journalism of Shekhar Gupta’


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About the Author

Ashok Chowgule
Working President (External), Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharat.