Top 30 who rule the media
—`1984' George Orwell
Here is a list of some top 30 people who rule the Indian print, electronic and interactive media. Your comments are invited about their political and corporate affiliations and where do they stand in your opinion. Also you may add your own suggestions with regard to the same.
1. Amar Singh*, media user (Indian media is no more the same after they received a CD called`Amar Singh ki Amar Kahani'** containing 24-set of conversation of Amar Singh allegedly having talks with Mulayam Singh, Anil Ambani, Bipasha Basu, Jayaprada, Mahima Chowdhry, Prabhu
Chawla and others)
2. Aroon Purie/Prabhu Chawla, Aaj Tak and India Today
3. Samir Jain & Vineet Jain, The Times of India (Bennett Coleman and Company)
4. Rupert Murdoch, Star
5. Prannoy Roy, NDTV
6. Mahendra Mohan Gupta & Sanjay Gupta, Dainik Jagran
7. Raghav Bahl/Rajdeep Sardesai, CNN-IBN
8. Subhash Chandra/Laxmi Goel, Zee
9. Ramesh Chandra Agarwal, Dainik Bhaskar
10. K K Birla/Shobhana Bharatiya, The Hindustan Times
11. N Murali & N Ram, The Hindu (Kasturi and Sons)
12. Mammen Mathew, Malayala Manorama
13. Rajan Raheja/Vinod Mehta, Outlook
14. Ramoji Rao, Eenadu
15. Kalanidhi Maran, Sun
16. Subrata Roy, Sahara
17. M J Akbar, The Asian Age
18 Aveek Sarkar, Ananda Bazar Patrika
19 T N Ninan, Business Standard
20. Ektaa Kapoor, Balaji Telefilms
21. Vivek Goenka & Shekhar Gupta, The Indian Express
22. Bahubali Shah, Gujarat Samachar
23. Ashok Advani, Business India group
24. Ronnie Screwvala, UTV
25. Tarun Tejpal, Tehelka
26. Dr. Gulab Kothari, Rajasthan Patrika
27. Praful Maheswari, Central Chronicle/Navbharat
28. Markand Adhikari, JANMAT (Sri Adhikari Brothers Television Network Limited)
29. Khalid Ansari, MidDay
30. S. K. Arora, IAS & Praveen Kumar Tripathi, IAS, Chairman and Director, Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) (Arora is Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Tripathy is Joint Secretary in the same Ministry )
**The controversial editor who figures most controversially in theAmar Singh tapes, swearing at Congress boss Sonia Gandhi in downright gutter language. Congressmen have reportedly boycotted this newschannel and publication. Both Sonia and Singh had made a big
splash at the same conclave last year. A recent conclave in Delhi organised by this media house was boycotted by the Congress Party, with one exception of Captain Satish Sharma. Will this non-owner editor survive this crises too?.
This editor almost managed to become a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha. A prominent Samajwadi leader enlisted the support of the JD(S) chief Deve Gowda from Karnataka. He had the endorsement from Pramod Mahajan to back his candidature with the surplus votes from the BJP. The big two of the BJP did not oppose his candidature. But when
Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley got wind of it they vehemently opposed it. As a result, the editor has been denied an opportunity to be an MP and in his place BJP-friendly industrialist, Rajeev Chandrashekhar became the MP.
These media people think common man in the street are fools. If they care so much about Breaking News, why didn't they print about the contents of Amar Singh and company. Is it too far fetched to suggest that their (media groups) palms have been greased. Most channels
claimed to have received the CDs, but none aired it.
On February 27, 2006, the Supreme Court directed the electronic and print media not to air or publish the CD/tapes containing Amar Singh's conversations with film stars and industrialists. Singh is Chairman, Uttar Pradesh Development Council (UPDC).
*Singh claims that UPDC is registered under Societies Registration Act and thus did not fall under government. Had that been the case then National Water Development Agency (NWDA), which is also registered as society would not be deemed a government body although it is implementing 120 billion dollar Interlinking of Rivers project of Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India.
It would mean that Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) is also registered under Indian Societies Act Registration Act is not a government body, which is not the case as it is directly administered by the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. And Arora and Tripathy hold two offices of profit in the same way as Amar Singh does.
The order was issued during the hearing of a petition filed by Singh seeking a judicial inquiry into illegal phone tapping. The general restraint order came from a three judge bench comprising Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, Justice C K Thakkar and Justice R V Raveendran which also directed, both the electronic and print media, not to publish or display any unauthorised and illegally tapped telephonic conversations till the matter is heard and guidelines laid down by this court. The order came without hearing the media, including TV news channels and newspapers.
Prashant Bhusan, a public interest lawyer opposed the order, saying right to privacy does not include conversations for illegal dealings. He also submitted that most of the conversations contained in the alleged CD being circulated in TV channels relate to shady deals.
The court adjourned the matter till March 20, directing the Centre as well as the Delhi government to file additional affidavits detailing all the illegal tappings being done by service providers with or without the orders of competent authorities. The court also recorded the statements of Solicitor General G E Vahanvati and Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam saying that they had no objections to general restraint order against the media. The court also issued notices to other service providers. The court dropped the Congress Party's name from the list of respondents.
On March 20, 2006, the Delhi Government informed the Court that it has taken steps to prevent illegal phone tapping during the hearing of Amar Singh's phone tapping case. Additional Solicitor told the court that Delhi Police Commissioner K K Paul has appointed a committee under the Joint Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) to meet twice a month. It would be ensured that service providers would not intercept the phone calls of anyone without written
orders of the officers specially authorised to sign such orders.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Sabharwal, Justice Lakshmanan and Justice Thakker directed the cellular companies to file their affidavits within two weeks detailing the procedure adopted by them to intercept the phone calls and also give details of how many phones were under such illegal surveillance throughout the country.
The court, while adjourning the hearing for four weeks, also granted a week's time to P H Pareekh, counsel for Amar Singh, to file his rejoinder affidavit. Singh is seeking a judicial inquiry into his phone tapping.
The court was also informed that investigation in the case was already over and charge-sheet had been filed against four accused who are in custody. Earlier, the Centre, in its affidavit, submitted that on February 28 this year, a total 3728 lines were under surveillance by all the seven Central Security and Law Enforcement Agencies as per
the Union Home Ministry.
It has been reported that Solicitor General G E Vahanwati, appearing for the Government, told the court that there was not even a single illegal phone tapping as far as the Centre was concerned. During the hearing, the court also indicated that it would consider separately the issue of sting operation by the media to expose corruption and illegal acts among those holding public offices and officials. The court is going to issue guidelines for phone tapping as it involved the privacy of a citizen and can be resorted to only in exceptional circumstances such as national security or communal harmony and that too with the prior permission of the competent authority.