November 20, 2010

Go after them

Despite plenty of other things I need to do, I've been listening to a few of the famous tapes. Just a few so far, and I'm not sure I will listen to them all. Or want to, for that matter -- there's been a lot of fluff to wade through before getting to the more telltale nuggets.

Some initial reactions:

There's something unsettling about listening to conversations that the participants assumed were private. Something unsettling about the easy way so many people talk about the ways of power. It's not surprising. Because if you stop to think about it, like it or not this is how politics must always have proceeded -- and will always proceed -- in a vast diverse country. But it is unsettling nevertheless.

But for me, the most disturbing moment so far is the casual, almost throwaway way that two women speak about instigating the Shiv Sena to attack business rivals. Here's a part of their conversation:

"You're going to have the Shiv Sena after you next."


"That's what's going to happen, because they went after them, so you're going to have the same Shiv Sainiks coming after you saying you can't do that."

"I'll see how I can use the other group to get a message across to Uddhav, in order to say ke go after them instead."


"I'll tell them to tell Uddhav to go after them."

There's also a reference to how "both sides" have paid the Sena.

You have to listen for some ten minutes to get to it, but it's there in this tape. It's there all right, this exchange that is as clear a commentary on Indian democracy as you can get.


Anonymous said...

i almost thought these were the Open stings you were talking abt, i havent finished reading them yet. is it a season of stings?

could be that by weird coincidence i hit their site as they were breaking the story. its getting more traction in the media now.

i withdraw any implication or imputation from my earlier comment that the media are trying to bury the story. pls let me know what you think abt those tapes.

i couldnt open the link on this post (no QT player). will google it.


Dilip D'Souza said...

Both Open and Outlook carry transcripts and audio links of these tapes, from the tapping of Nira Radia's phone(s). Some of the audio links don't have transcripts, like the one on this post.

Anonymous said...

thx Dilip. sorry to post again "live commentary" style but *some* part of the "sting" seems to be 'normal' journalism they way they cultivate sources and pump them for info.

i have no illusions; *some* of it may involve posing as having more clout/ connections than one actually does and if not lying at least allowing the other party to reach conclusions about yourself that are not strictly or factually true.

that's my first cut reaction to the story, if authenticated, that implicates a prominent TV anchor on a leading news channel.

its not flattering in the least but is better than the impression cast by some of the statements on the transcript, allegedly made by this anchor.

havent gotten to the Sena tapes or whatever you are alluding to.

i will get back to this thread maybe in a day or two.


Anonymous said...

Is it constitutional/legal for the IT Department/CBI to tape calls of individuals? Did they get a court approval? Is Union Ministry entitled to approve such tapping? Under what circumstances? What is the legality of that. Even if legal, is it constitutional?

Are my calls being taped by the IT department? Are yours? under what pretext? under what circumstances.

Anonymous said...

In the unlikely event that anybody is actually interested in my views on this :-) I have commented on it at Bhagwad J Park's blog on the post abt "bias in Indian media" and dont have the energy or drive to go thru it again.

But a quick summary:

1. its unclear that any laws were broken or rights violated except those of the ppl tapped.

2. there is still a trust issue and a misuse of position issue.

3. "stringing along a source for info" is the actual official defence.

4. i will continue to watch news shows by the anchor in question because:
4a) i am okay with flawed ppl generally
4b) she has very many interesting things to say
4c) honestly it also helps that her political positions as I see them are not too far from mine

5. but notwithstanding (4) i will be quite wary of what she says now. more scrutiny. she now operates from a position of bias, and has lost considerable cover of 'neutrality' that I accorded her in the past.


Anonymous said...

In that case, Jai -

I will indulge in counter propaganda on Dcubed's blog space and encourage people to watch this

A Structural Compulsion to Lie: The media and 'paid news' in the age of inequality - A Talk by P Sainath
Speaker's Hall, Constitution Club, Rafi Marg New Delhi
On Friday September 24, 2010, time: 3pm
Chair: Prof. Romila Thapar
Organised by The Delhi Union of Journalists, Delhi Media Research Center &
Popular Education & Action Center

and also read this:

The above to helped me in not being surprised or shocked by the incident. I understand the incident to be a structural, systemic and functional requirement of corporate media. I am not sure if its legal for Barkha Dutt to act in any other way from the way she did.

I am however quite concerned about the tapping and privacy issues.

Jai_C said...

I didnt catch the import of anon's comment but have read (now) the paid news story by Sainath on countercurrents. i trust this talk will be something similar.

and finally, finally, close to a week down, indians who are not on the net may be able to know that something is happening out there about some tapes. today my newspaper has carried an article on it. There is a bland line that states "since many journalists are involved most newspapers and TV media are not covering it".

There is an accompanying editorial that while calling for a JPC into the 2G scam also mentions the tapes. It coyly talks about industrialists and "power dealers" magnates and "others". It still fights shy of naming the hallowed profession of these dealers and others.

No such qualms about saying industrialists or businessmen of course :-) and Dilip wonders why we have a problem with saying "elite".


Anonymous said...

Its probably deader than a dodo.

Notwithstanding individual pieces on blogs hosted by newspaper websites that dont make it to print on their editions anywhere that refer to the stink and the "Soviet silence" and even the Hindu that mentioned it has done a wishy-washy job at best.

But here are articles by Manu Joseph and Hartosh Singh Bal, in the open mag.


Dilip D'Souza said...

Saw the Joseph/Bal articles a few days ago. Thx for links.

Shivam Vij is spearheading an effort to get all the Radia tapes transcribed. See Reading Radia.

I have some thoughts on all this (well, some of it), not getting the time to put up a post. I hope soon.