Information is power and disseminating information has its own turbine cycles. So it doesn’t surprise us one bit that journalists -- you know, the cretinous brokers who put on print or air what nobody is supposed to know — are blackmailing people to get a few shekels on the side. The reason for us being outraged could be sourced to the fact that the journos under our moral microscope aren’t real Goenka Prize-winning journalists, but ‘aspiring’ ones. It turns out that 27 people impersonating as journalists or folks working in ‘small’ newspapers have been arrested for various crimes in the last one year. Dear god of all that is fit to print, is nothing sacred anymore?
Take the case of one 'freelance journalist' -- the equivalent of a chit fund manager but dealing with facts. The gent extorted a nice R8 lakh from a businessman after the latter was, well, dilly-dallying with a lady on the sly. But if that sounds like short shrimp compared to what you’ve started to expect these days after the outing of the Niira Radia tapes, there’s the other bloke playing Julian Assange -- but with a price tag -- who’s the editor-founder of a rag called Surag Suspense, where, courtesy a few ‘stringers’ he hired, he found out that there were people making illegal constructions and forcibly occupying land. But the big difference between WikiLeaks posterboy Assange and this 'journo' was that the latter decided to get some money in exchange for withholding the publication of the news about the hanky panky. Yes, this is journalism in the time of A Raja, all right.
Which is a pity since we, white-as-driven-snow journalists who are too honest (read: lazy) to dig up dirt on people and use it to get a nice extension on the flat done, feel disgusted by the rotten apples among us. Perhaps one day, one of the rotters will get in touch with us and ask for our services in the mainstream media. Ha ha [nervous laughter]. Hope you know a joke from a conscientious journalist when you see one.