Load-Shedding At The Telegraph
Why did Kolkata’s largest-read English newspaper decide to black out all news of the Kejriwal allegations against Reliance?
Every news channel and newspaper worth its salt has been discussing, reporting, analysing and sometimes denouncing the allegations made against Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance by Arvind Kejriwal. Everyone that is, other than The Telegraph. It’s bad enough that there were no newspapers in Calcutta or as we like to call it, Kolkata, for the four days of the Durga pujo. So it really started feeling like you were sitting in a black hole. But now, when the papers are back up and running, Kolkata’s largest-circulated English newspaper seems to have decided to indulge in a little gate-keeping.
So if you were dependent on The Telegraph for keeping up to date with current affairs in the country, more fool you. While even the Reliance-funded Network 18 was reporting on Arvind Kejriwal’s allegations against Reliance, The Telegraph has still not printed one single word on the matter.
The argument that news of the press conference which took place on October 31st wasn’t reported on November 1st because the paper might have put their news pages to bed early doesn’t hold. Simply because on November 2nd, the paper carried the news of the gas price hike being put on hold – on their front page. An announcement which had been made at 11pm on November 1st, the night before.
Even if they disagreed with the allegations or maybe felt bad that poor Mukesh bhai was being picked on by Kejriwal, they should have at least reported on the matter – even if as a snippet – on November 2nd. The reporters and the news desk surely must have been awake then. But no such luck. While they did report on Bata profit growing by 5% and even had a story on Bond babes – no word on RIL, Mukesh Ambani or Kejriwal.
So what’s the reason? Lazy journalism? Gate-keeping? Misplaced loyalties? Whatever it be, the function of a newspaper is to report the news. Not black it out – unless it will result in communal unrest or incite violence. And even that would require censorship and not gate-keeping. Nothing can explain the sudden silence from the usually hawk-eyed The Telegraph. Maybe the editorial team could light a “hurricane lamp” as we’d use in the days of power-cuts and load-shedding in Calcutta, and throw some light on the matter.