Couple of weeks ago, the Times of India brought a story of Rs 10.6 lakh crore coal scam. Of course the readers should definitely be shocked as the figure amounts to more than 10% of India’s GDP. The newspaper claimed the source of its news is a leaked CAG report. Later on events proved that there was no base for the newspaper’s allegations.
And now, rival daily, the Indian Express, conscious of the limitations of producing a high figure scam, really shocked the readers by venturing into a new area- a coup in the country.
The movement of an army armored division and a Para Brigade to the national capital on January 16th, the news paper depicted was a near coup averted.
So far, the government has described the report as baseless. There is no other supportive evidence from any quarters about the coup possibility. But the damage the news has done to the image of the country’s democratic heritage is severe.
Even during the time of extreme uncertainties, the country’s military has kept its tradition of respecting established democracy. Gen V K Singh’s friction with the UPA on the date of birth issue is also not a provocative instance. The activity of the two brigades would have been associated with some other exercise. The government on its part should bring sufficient explanation to bring an end to the unpleasant news.
On the other side, the scam thirsty news paper has crossed the line of responsible journalism. Such news reports without evidence should not be encouraged at the pretext of media freedom. India’s democracy is a cherished asset for the nation and hooligan journalism should not be allowed to malign the asset.
In China, few days ago, some internet sites have reported military coup and the government has adopted severe measures against the producers of the news. There is a symptom among media now to carve revolution stories, especially after the jasmine revolution in the Middle East. Even a daily military routine can be interpreted as a coup. The government should follow strong measures against such senseless depictions.