Manish Tewari – Media Messiah

Why in heaven’s name should journalists not want to follow Manish Tewari’s pearls of wisdom?

ByRajyasree Sen
Manish Tewari – Media Messiah
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Oh dear. Poor Manish Tewari. Always making news for the wrong reasons. First, he called Anna Hazare “corrupt from head to toe” way back in August 14, 2011. Then he apologised in writing stating – “I reiterate my regrets” to Hazare after receiving a legal notice from Hazare in September of the same year. Two years later, he claimed that he was a victim of a planned – but not executed – acid attack. And now he’s back in the news for claiming that “the media industry could think about at least having a common exam…Like you have a bar exam, like you have a medical exam or exams which are conducted by other professional bodies, which then issue a license, which enables you to pursue your profession”.

It’s only fair that Tewari should have such concern for the media industry and want to bring it back on track – going by the fact that none of his pearls of wisdom would ever have reached the ears and eyes of the unsuspecting common man if weren’t for this ever-vigilant media – who reports his every word and action without hesitation. What’s worth noting is that Tewari instead of shooting the messenger, is being far more altruistic. He simply wants to train them.

Some truisms seem to pop out when you realise what Tewari is asking for. One is that Tewari is a responsible soul. He obviously wants to spare the unsuspecting public from ruing the political class we have to live with every time we read about their antics and diplomatic blustering. For this to happen, we should not be subjected to blind unrestrained reportage on the behaviour of Tewari and his ilk. And such judicious reporting can only happen by skilled labour – as proposed by Tewari. Here is a truly selfless man, although a bit of a drama queen going by his recent faux acid attack fiasco.

Tewari is of course following in the footsteps of another great visionary and thinker, Markandey Katju, who is the Chairman of the Press Council of India. Katju had proposed the setting up of a committee to determine minimum qualifications for a journalist. Of course, Katju is qualified to be heading the Press Council of India thanks to his great journalism experience and journalism qualifications. Oh wait a minute, must have got the wrong man. This one is a lawyer and an ex-judge, but why should that stop him from heading and setting rules for the PRESS council of India. How infantile of me to think that the same rules apply for those who rule and those who they set rules for. See, this is what my journalistic training got me – illogical and linear rational thought.

Anyway, to give Tewari his due, like all good leaders he must be wanting to lead by example. Therefore, if he wants journalists to be trained to maintain some standards, the direct corollary is that he must also believe that only those qualified and trained to run the government should be doing so. After all what’s good for the goose, must be good for the gander. So one should only rightly expect that Tewari and his colleagues must have also undergone some professional training in Politics and in the respective fields they hold Cabinet portfolios in. After all, one must practice what one preaches.

Here’s a quick run through of Tewari and his Cabinet colleagues and how well-trained they are to run their respective portfolios.

And just in case you think all is well with the world because the lord and purveyor of the journalistic world is actually a closet trained journalist, think again. The Chairman of the Press Council of India is merely an LLB from Allahabad University. Hmmm.

Oh Manish. How you weaken your case. Is this what law school taught you? It’s always wise to cover one’s own tracks and posterior before telling others what to do. So while I’m all for training journalists and having guidelines for them, before asking them to take this mass common exam (and do tell us who’s setting the questions and correcting the papers), maybe the people who are deciding the laws which govern the land could take some training in their respective portfolios. I hear that there are some great distance learning programmes offered by the aptly-named Indira Gandhi National Open University. You and your governing friends won’t even need to attend class.

It’s always so much easier to follow those who lead by example, don’t you agree Mr Tewari?

All educational qualification data has been taken from government websites, including and the personal websites of the ministers.


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