The stereotypical image of the Indian journalist is of a lean, mean, hungry-looking, bespectacled jholawala, with a bag slung around his scrawny neck. But that’s just for public consumption. In reality, journalists and media houses are clearly rolling in cash, not always procured in the business of peddling words.
In the 2G spectrum allocation scam, that has already seen a Union minister and several corporate honchos go behind bars, several famous scribes have found themselves on the infamous Niira Radia tapes, at least one journalist’s house has been raided, and a TV channel has been named as the recipient of the bribe money.
In other words, the lean, mean, hungry-looking, bespectacled jholawala with a bag slung around his scrawny neck, has arrived in the post-liberalised India—as an influence-peddler, monetising his access and business card.
Despite the strongarm tactics adopted by Ratan Tata‘s Tata Sons against The Times of India group with obvious commercial implications, The Economic Times continues to lead the way in its coverage of the scam. This time, Rohini Singh shines the light on the burgeoning breed of middlemen-journalists, for whom the accreditation card is, well, a gift that continues to give.
Newspaper image: courtesy The Economic Times