Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Free, Fearless Journalism ...

Free, Fearless Journalism ...: "So, after furious backpedaling for over two years by the Government (which according to rumors may be headed by the Congress party), finally some moves are being made to bring back black money home. Lo and behold, now everybody and their chachaji wants to bring back black money home! Funny thing is, when the black money issue came up just before last elections, everybody and their auntyji said - well, various things.

Anyway, we digress.

As a trailer for supposedly bigger things to come, a number of individuals with accounts in the LGT bank of Liechtenstein, Germany, are being pursued. Tehelka claims it has 'accessed' the list. Now, the original list had 18 names on it, Tehelka published only 15 with much fanfare and over the top triumphalism:

TEHELKA has accessed 16 of the 18 names, of which we are putting out 15 right now. These names include individuals as well as trusts. At this point, we are putting out 15 names without disclosing details like their addresses, the businesses they are involved in and the total money they have stored away in Liechtenstein. Abiding by the basic journalistic principle of proving the accused an opportunity to present their side of story, TEHELKA has approached each of these individuals involved and is awaiting their response. [link]

Now the intriguing question is, why 16? Why not all the 18? As such none of these individuals have been found guilty of any crime yet. So, like the Spectrum scam losses, their guilt is presumptuous. There are three possibilities as to why 16 and not 18:
(a) A metered leak from the Govt (allegedly headed by the Congress party)
(b) Leaked by a whistle-blower with only 16 names
(c) Leaked by a whistle blower, last two names too hot
These are situations which stretch your imagination and push their credibility or perhaps the other way around.

Anyway. Having gotten over that bit about 16/18, we are suddenly faced with a strange situation. If all 16 names had been accessed, why publish only 15? The question perhaps intrigued other individuals as well, Tehelka faced a barrage of queries.
  • 16th name on 'The List' to be out in a few hours...
  • More developments happening on the 16th name... Sorry to make you wait a little longer. Will keep you posted.
  • Sincere apologies. Between developing stories and technological hiccups-- the two big stories planned for the day will have to wait :|
  • No. 16 on the Swindlers List... Out in a few minutes... (This time for real)
  • The 16th name on the Swindlers' List...
This is far more suspenseful than the Oscars and arguably about as entertaining.

These messages indicate the tremendous amount of emotional turmoil Tehelka folks must have been going through. In any case, Tehelka did indeed publish the 16th name on the list, more than 2 days after publishing the first 15.

The 16th name rated a full story of its own for some inexplicable reason, with loads of explanations. The 16th name happens to be a member of a large family run industrial house.

Now, Tehelka can not claim they were waiting for the individual to offer his side of the story, since the other 15 had not been given this opportunity. So, why was this name held up? The guy was too big? The fearless folks of Tehelka, supposedly crusaders for the small guys holds back the one big name on the list? Or is it perhaps religion? Or secularism? Or some other reason? Perhaps we will never know.