Friday, April 22, 2011

Swami Agnivesh to Barkha Dutt: Practice what you preach

I have stopped watching NDTV 24*7 for quite a long time now. Like other English news channels in India, NDTV 24*7 is just a hangout place power brokers, lobbyists, and assorted self-important carnies. On the other hand, NDTV India Hindi channel is good. It has three good people - Abhigyan, Ravish and Pankaj, as well as the always-wonderful Vinod Dua, who focus on news and analysis, and not on martketing themselves.

So, this news item about when social activist Swami Agnivesh gets Barkha Dutt to shut up is from another source. When Barkha, the 'star anchor' ('star columnist' and 'star investigative reporter' I get, but 'star-anchor'?) tries to go preacher-mode about the presence of the father-son duo of Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan as the s civil society representatives on the Lokpal drafting committee, it goes like this:

Barkha Dutt asks,
“Swami Agnivesh… you will see that the number of people who had to resign from public office—and many people believe this is a good thing—just because of suspicion or allegations or accusations, I mean, from Shashi Tharoor to Ashok Chavan to Sharad Pawar, there are so many different examples where legally, the allegation has not been proven, but even before the trial has begun, these politicians have stepped aside. Now some people are making the argument that those drafting the Lokpal bill must do the same. How do you respond? Do you believe the same standard must be applied as they are applied to politicians?”

Swami Agnivesh replies,
“Well, Barkhaji, let me put it to you this way. Supposing there is an accusation of corruption on some mediaperson who is an anchor of a very famous TV channel, and if that person is initiating debate after debate on corruption and such [a] person is asked, first get yourself cleared of all these allegations and then only you will have a moral right to start or initiate a debate on corruption, should that person step down? What would be your answer?”?

Related: Why Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt aren't important



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