>Again online media brings important breaking news to the fore. Usually this happens due to technical reasons.. Where people tweet news and it goes viral, before traditional media can boradcast it. This time however its not the technology that is the cause for traditional medias silence over the matter. Twitter has been abuzz about this for more than three days. BarkhaGate has been continuously trending on the Indian twitter trends and often other names like Sanghavi have been seen.

The Matter

Open (and Outlook) magazines released phone conversations between N Radia (suspected to have a hand in the telecom scam) and media house biggies.. Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghavi and others.

Hear the tapes.

These tapes clearly show conversations where the reporters and Radia are talking about sensitive matters and how it could be shown to the people via their media channels, lobbying for governments and more.

This cannot lead to fair news coverage
This was my first thought when I heard these tapes.. when the reporters are so involved with ‘the news events’ they really cannot be giving any sort of ‘fair coverage’ to the events.

Traditional Media biting its own tail
I was also thinking that the media houses are in a soup.. as can be clearly seen by the way they have clammed up about all these tapes and such. It seems B Dutt and Vir Sanghavi are giving some replies on twitter itself, but nothing has been reported in the main news channels (papers or TV). The thing is that if the matter is only trending on Twitter for days.. a large public mass will remain ignorant to these developments unless some newspaper or TV broadcasts it.

To be cool the traditional media for long have been publicizing every small thing about Twitter I dunno why, probably to be in on the ‘big thing’ thats happening abroad or because the celebs are now on Twitter… they probably never thought of such a scenario haha They are biting their own tail when they give publicity to the online media because as online media becomes more powerful and more of the ‘mass’ , the offline media loses power in society.

Journalists to keep a distance from actual event
This incident also raises deep questions about ‘What is role of journalists/reporters?’ ‘how involved can they get in an event?’ as they are also supposed to be covering it. Often such examples as below are cited where journalists act totally crass over only ‘covering’ an event and not taking part in it.

Can a bigshot journo/reporter who has many contacts high up, choose to use them or should they just keep covering events, situations and not take part in it. I feel between fairly covering an event and taking part in it, so as to become biased the line is very thin. Every journalist needs to make their own call.. but if tapes like these come out surely it will shake faith of people in media, if they had any faith in the first case 😀