Should editors & journalists declare their assets?

Candidates have to declare their assets and liabilities before the elections in a sworn affidavit. Bureaucrats do too, and there is the Lok Ayukta to keep a watch over them. And now Supreme Court judges have joined the ranks of those voluntarily declaring their income.

If they don’t, the media will cry hoarse till they do.

But what about journalists? Should they declare their moveable and immoveable properties, and those of their nearest kin every year, especially given the mind-numbing stories of individual and institutional corruption emanating from the highest levels of the English and language media?

In a recent column, Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta attacked India’s green brigade, calling them “the most retrograde in the history of makind”, and accusing them of stalling the kind of moves the nation has to make to stride forward.

The political scientist Aditya Nigam, a fellow at the Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), has gone for the jugular on the website Kafila.

Nigam writes:

“…It is equally common knowledge that increasingly opinion makers in the media—editors and senior journalists in particular—are known to be making huge amounts of extra income (and other forms of assets like free shares, houses and so on) from sources other than those provided by their employment.

“This self important and self-righteous tribe of people in contemporary India who think they are above every body else and cannot open their mouths without a claiming a moral high ground, also needs to be made accountable.

“We are not suggesting that any particular person is in the pay of anybody else—even though the grapevine has innumerable stories to that effect—of the ultimate moral corruption of most mediapersons. But surely when opinions are expressed as ‘disinterested’ and ‘objective’, the public must have the right to know whether these opinions are actually disinterested. And what better way can there be when politicians have to disclose their incomes, and we are calling upon judges as well to follow suit, that we also demand the same of editors and mediapersons.”

Read the full article: ‘Editors and journalists must declare their assets’

Also read: ‘Owners, editors owning Indian journalism ransom’

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