What’s wrong with Barkha Dutt?
I’ve been watching NDTV for a while and though I am not a fan of their biased view of the world, I used to appreciate them at least for trying to present things in a subtle manner (instead of shouting themselves hoarse like many channels do). During the Mumbai blasts I watched the coverage from my office on the NDTV website, and it was appalling to see Ms. Dutt reporting LIVE from area and disclosing the movements and plans of the troops that were there to try and protect the civilians trapped inside.
I am sure it was detrimental to the efforts that the security forces were making, and certainly the terrorist overlords watching the TV that day could call up the terrorists in the hotel and inform them about the movement and the plans of the security forces. The reporting done by Ms. Dutt of NDTV and others from other channels has been widely criticised (though you won’t hear that on the news, and I don’t have to tell you why). The authorities too were appalled by the way the channels treated the story and that’s been a great factor in the emergence of the electronic media regulation bill that the channels are not crying foul against.
But I think NDTV has lost its marbles. Earlier I saw a report on NDTV criticising the way other channels presented news (as if they’re doing a damn good job of it, not in my book! Nope!), and then I hear that Ms. Barkha and NDTV sent a legal notice to a blogger who had dared to write against the shoddy reporting done by NDTV. Apparently Ms. Dutt threatened to sue a certain Chetan Kunte who had written an article (now deleted) against the shoddy reporting by Ms. Dutt. The article can still be read on Google Cache. Chetan Kunte has tendered an unconditional apology to Ms. Dutt, and we can all tell why. I believe (and that’s just MY belief) that NDTV and Ms. Dutt used pressure tactics – legal notice – to bludgeon Mr. Kunte into submission.
For a channel that purports to stand for ‘free expression’ and whose reporters/anchors can be often seen making negative statements about politicians and issues all and sundry without immediately flashing relevant proof to back up their claim, this act is not only unwarranted, it’s downright heinous. I am now disgusted with NDTV.
I’ve heard in Hindi blogs that NDTV is taking a huge hit in profitability and its senior office holders have had to take salary cuts (is that hear-say again?). First this and now sledging against the other channels… I wonder if the people at NDTV are now so frustrated that they’re taking it out on everybody else?
What’s even more surprising is seeing Ms. Barkha Dutt leaving a facebook comment informing another person who talked about the issue that Mr. Chetan has been sent a legal notice. How interesting. It shows how cranky Ms Dutt is feeling about this.
Ahem… Just to re-affirm so that there’s no doubt about my opinion of the reporting done by NDTV and Ms. Dutt during the Mumbai blast crisis. IT WAS DOWNRIGHT SHODDY JOURNALISM WITHOUT A REGARD TO THE SAFETY OF THE PEOPLE STUCK IN THE HOTELS.
Update: 5:52 PM
I just found a link to an article published on NDTV that talks about the shoddy reporting during Mumbai terror strikes. Yes, Ms. Dutt is mentioned. Apparently NDTV has removed the article, but this copy was saved.