Reader’s Voice: The Recent Tehelka Scandal and the way it has been handled by Tehelka senior employees Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Chaudhury puts up serious questions on the morals and principles of an organization which has been the whistle blower behind a number of immoral acts across the nation. Is the media losing its credibility?

Tehelka is just a tip of the Ice-Berg,  is what is said by many senior journalists. According to their reading, media today is no more a medium of news and information but a commercial business that thrives on deals with the corrupt and those in power. Tehelka is just a small example that got exposed but many other cases do not get reported, published and surface into public domain. This is what many seniors from media have observed.

Morality Of Today’s Media

The senior most journalists from old school of thoughts think, present day media scene is corrupt to the core because it is owned by many rich and influential people with political connections and power. They can manipulate and manage any situation with the help of media. Be it political, commercial or social and economic  situation, every issue can be managed by sponsored editorials and news. This is an unfolding story about the corrupt media that speaks volumes on the Editorial takes that we keep watching in TV debates and bias news bites. Investigative journalists and corrupt minds working in the media constantly keep claiming high moral positions, however that is is simply a myth today.If not all, very few can claim to be clean, with high moral characters and true to their profession. Honesty and professional integrity are rare commodities in journalism today.

The Tehelka Scandal

Shoma Choudhary and Tarun Tejpal are the classic examples of immoral characters working to expose others in the public space but when caught in the criminal act themselves,  the principles and moral values that they were so far teaching others in the society, not even 1% of that is seen practiced in their personal and professional life. Isn’t that total cheating on people when media turns immoral and corrupt?We all remember, how Shoma Choudhari and Tarun Tejpal used to get sadistic pleasure in exposing others in public life. When their sting operations were widely publicized on national channels continuously 24X7, Shoma Choudhari never thought, popular electronic media is not being fair with the alleged criminals Tehelka exposed? Today, she is taking an opposite position when the crime is committed in her own back yard? Why these double standards? Isn’t it total hypocrisy ? She is getting the taste of her own medicine.

Shoma Chaudhury: Journalist or Prosecutor?

Shoma Chaudhury says that the media is not being fair with her? Today she says, I was personally trying to do justice to the girl who had to go through this traumatic experience in my office and I asked Tarun Tejpal to tender an apology immediately? She says, I got a written apology from Tarun and that I thought satisfied the girl ? So in other words, Shoma Choudhary was acting as a prosecutor, and jury too and passed the judgement on Tarun Tejpal to say sorry and step down for 6 months as a penance for whatever wrong he committed?Excellent justice,  isn’t it?  But wait a minute…

Did she ever pardon those caught on the camera in her sting operations the same way ? All of those whom she exposed  on the national TV channels? Did she ever think that they needed a chance to correct their mistakes?No she did not because she was standing on  high moral grounds then and told the world…. these are the criminals caught in the immoral and corrupt act on the camera and must be sent to gallows for cheating on the society.But today, same Shoma Choudhary is not saying the same  to the world about the crime committed in her own backyard. She is trying her best to cover-up.

And the worst is, she says to media”… You all know only one side of the story but I know the other version of the story too.”  And this is where she tried to give a TWIST to her story by saying, It was all personal affair between two adults, but I  do not wish to get into that part of the story whether it was consensual or non-consensual.This twist by Shoma Choudhary was clearly trying to imply  about the girl’s character and Shoma kept making this claim in the media all the time which was nothing but indirect character assassination of a girl.

When the girl had said in her written complaint how it all happened and how she was even threatened about losing her job, Shoma was trying to act smart in her own defense knowing this was going to backfire on her.  Her Twitter comment that she wouldn’t co-operate with Goa police, or  will not report to police herself was again a desperate last attempt to stop the whole issue getting blown up in her own face.

She was doing all these cover-ups as if nothing serious or big has happened. But she was clearly trying to stop a disgraceful fall of Tehelka as an organization, as she knew well with this episode the flag ship was sinking now. Its moral character is completely demolished.She is not really trying  to save Tarun Tejpal or the Victim, she is  trying to simply secure Tehelka`s future. That she knows well, with this extensive media exposure on this issue, Tehelka has no future and its reputation is completely demolished.But that exposed Shoma Choudhary further and gave us a peep into what is happening in the media industry. How principled media personalities and Media owners are?

Vinod Mehta: Editor-in-chief or Friend?

The other outrageous and damaging act  was by a very senior journalist and Editor-in-chief of Outlook Magazine Vinod Mehta. This is where the so called intellectual community is getting exposed, who otherwise keep airing their views on every issue in the TV debates and consider themselves opinion leaders in the society. Should we listen to their views ? Do they deserve any audience at all ? Are they not trying to be politically correct to save their skin always?

Vinod Mehta, in Times Now debate. when asked his views about  Tehelka episode,  said on the national Channel that he had received an SMS from Tarun Tejpal on his mobile. And he started  reading it out but, rightly so, when he was half way through reading the message  sent by Tejpal, Arnab Goswamy stopped it simply because Vinod Mehta was intently trying to tell the world on national channel that the girl’s character too is questionable according to his friend Tejpal. This was an insulting act and it was shameful that it was a journalist as senior as Mehta was behaving this way. This is how these journalists twist the story line.

Vinod Mehta was clearly trying to give a clean chit to his friend Tejpal by reading out an  SMS sent by him. This could be a well planned move by influential editors. Imagine, a very senior journalist, Editor-in-Chief  talks loosely about something which has serious implications for a criminal case which is being investigated ? How can one be so irresponsible in airing views on a crime committed like rape?an you believe that? But Let me tell you, I am looking at his act differently. You may call it a cynical angle but anything is possible when powerful and influential people are involved.

He was planting the same other version of the story that even Shoma Chaudhary has been trying to spread through media. It surely was planted and circulated to put a pressure on the girl and her family. These are simply pressure tactics used by these highly positioned individuals belonging to the influential community. They don’t care if girl’s life gets ruined in the process.  And Vinod Mehta was doing it to save his close friend, Terun Tejpal.

Has Media Been Politicized?

We really do not know which TV channel, which journalist or which human rights activist is  hired to target politicians like Mr Modi ? Mr Modi has also been targeted for the last ten years only on 2002 riot ? And it is the same gang which is working for political organizations like Congress to destroy their political opponents like Mr Modi. How can people like Vinod Mehta and Kumar Ketkar be trusted with their political views ?  Their leaning towards Congress in the debates can be seen from their comments and views.

And lastly, how can we take TV Channels at face value when they have debates which can be politically set, or orchestrated for political  and monetary considerations? Today, the credibility of the media, journalists, Human rights Activists and political class has taken a beating and is at its lowest. And at the bottom of it is… Corruption at all levels. The responsible citizens of this country must make an educated choice and demand change in the corrupt system. Only civil society can do it if civil society wants to CHANGE INDIA FOR BETTER.

By Ajay Angre

Also See:
Tarun Tejpal to Tehelka: Sexual Assault or Conspiracy?
The Tehelka Scandal

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