Army bashing: A new found journalistic ethic?

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Ganesh2691, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. Ganesh2691

    Ganesh2691 Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Messages:
    216
    Likes Received:
    297
    A national newspaper came out with a scoop insinuating that a routine troop movement around Delhi was an Army coup in the making. A top secret letter addressed to the Prime Minister by General VK Singh, the then Army Chief was leaked to the press and attempts were made to implicate the Chief himself for the leak. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) who was ordered to investigate the matter has gone silent as if they had lost all their investigative skills!! The sanctity attached to a classified privileged communication from the Army Chief to the Prime Minister relating to national security was thus thrown to the winds.

    Another newspaper came up with a front page story captioned “Generals home in on capital prime plot” Are the defence services officers meant to be thrown into a remote areas only throughout their life? Not long ago (1970s) the Cantonment area referred to in article was a remote area. Is it their fault if the area flourishes to become a posh area? Beyond the Daula Kuan circle (A roundabout existed then) an auto rickshaw would demand 50 rupees extra as it would be difficult for him to find return passenger.

    If one had hoped that our newspaper czars would have learnt from these experiences, it was a mistaken optimism. The pity is, everyone involved in these outrageous exclusives got away without any reproof!

    A leading newspaper has come up with yet another dubious report harming the reputation of an individual officer. An article titled “Senior Army general shunted after charges of irregularity”, smacks of disgraceful mudslinging against a senior officer of the Indian Army without presenting any valid substance. Take a look at it and the motive would be more than evident. The report could have been planted for some extraneous considerations or mischievous intents but it has cast a doubt on the credibility and the journalistic ethics followed by one of the leading newspapers of the country.
    The officer concerned is Lt Gen JP Nehra and not Lt Gen JP Mehra as reported. Obviously the reporter did not even consider it necessary to check on the correct name of the officer leave alone the facts. The editor concerned could have verified the facts but he too failed to discharge his responsibility. What was the tearing hurry for publishing the story without proper verification? Is this the way newspapers are expected to function?

    The theory that the Adjutant General (AG) was transferred “abruptly” is absurd. Today in the Indian Army, even Corps Commanders who are commanders of field formations are transferred in about a year. AG is merely a staff appointment and therefore transferring the incumbent in less than a year and a half is nothing abnormal. Lt Gen Nehra was appointed AG, a Principle Staff Officer (PSO) by General VK Singh. It is possible that the present incumbent wishes to have an officer of his choice in his place. As the Chief, he is well within his right to seek a change.

    The newspaper alleges that a Ministry of Defence (MOD) source has said that the “ministry top brass was briefed by the Army leadership about the alleged irregularities and sought its approval for moving him out”. Since the case pertains to the AG, a PSO and a very senior officer, if at all any military leadership had briefed the ministry top brass, it cannot be anyone but the Chief. “Moving out” for committing irregularities? Guess where the officer was moved out – right within the same headquarters as the Deputy Chief of the Army Staff (DCOAS), an appointment which deals with important issues connected with operations. The punishment is as mystifying as the allegation itself.

    The report claims serious allegations of “misappropriations in the Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO), Ex – Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) etc”. The author has not clarified what that “etc.” meant. The report goes on further to state that “internal enquiries have found serious problems with the way the schemes were implemented and have indicated the possibility of massive irregularities”. What exactly is the reporter meaning? Is he suggesting shortcomings in implementation of the schemes or is he talking about “massive irregularities”?

    The reporter probably is unaware that AWHO and ECHS have a serving senior officer each as the head and are designated as Managing Directors (MD). The responsibility to run these organisations rests squarely on the MDs and not the AG. So if the so called internal inquiries found flaws in implementation, details of which the author has not specified, the blame for faulty implementation will fall unequivocally on the MDs.

    The author has brought about yet another angle to his story by alleging that the AWHO projects have been “delayed around the country and in many cases serious misappropriation allegations have surfaced.” Yes, AWHO has a number of Projects running simultaneously throughout the country under different Project Directors. It is possible that there are some delays, shortcomings or corruption cases in some of the projects. If it is so, would the culpability fall on the Project Director, the MD who is the final implementing authority, the DG Welfare under whom the AWHO works or the AG who oversees AWHO’s work? It is here that the intention behind the story stands exposed.

    The author ought to have known that all decisions pertaining to AWHO are taken by an Executive Committee consisting of the AG as the Chairman, with the Quartermaster General, and the Engineer in Chief both PSOs as members. These decisions are ratified by a Board of Governors consisting of Major Generals in Charge of Administration of all the Commands.

    In the case of ECHS, the allegation is that “implementation of the scheme was marked by serious questions of propriety” What it means or implies is anybody’s guess. It may be relevant to mention here that funds for ECHS and the financial sanctions are accorded by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the organisation is run by its MD. How is the AG involved in irregularities?

    The reporter has meandered around using expressions such as implementation shortcomings, massive irregularities, delays and propriety without being specific. If indeed something was seriously wrong, why was he evasive? Obviously, he was either not sure of the facts or the aim was to essentially discredit the officer. The authenticity, credibility and the motive behind the story are therefore suspect and questionable. The point is, a national newspaper cannot make allegations based on rumors and hearsays, breech all journalistic norms and propriety to discredit an individual and go scot free.

    The story further suggests that the Army’s effort to play down the allegations reflect the eagerness of Army Chief not to attract unwanted and negative attention to his service after the tumultuous tenure of his predecessor Gen VK Singh. He further goes on to allude that the Chief is quietly trying to clean up various wings of the Army. Army Chiefs are not pussies. They have the mandate and the authority to be forthright and clean up things if there is a need. If the current Chief is in any way different, I am not aware of it.

    The author and the newspaper perhaps are not aware or sensitive to the damage that they have done to the Army in the process. Just imagine the effect it will have on the troops and how it will affect officer man relationship. The Indian Army needs no enemy or traitors from across the borders!!

    The Defence Minister and the Chief are the only two individuals who are privy to the reasons for the move of the General Officer from the post of AG to DCOAS. Whatever be the reason, to avoid damage to the institution one of them will have to come out and clarify the matter without any delay.


    Army bashing: A new found journalistic ethic? | idrw.org
     
    maomao likes this.
  2.  
  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    It is a fertile field for journalists to comment on the military and give issues a centrifugal spin that will be swallowed hook, line and sinker since the Indian public is so unaware of the inner workings of the military!
     
  4. Patriot

    Patriot Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,760
    Likes Received:
    538
    Location:
    Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
    At present, Journalism & ethics in our country is like oil & water never go together. It is just business & it's color is yellowi-sh..

    I have not seen impartial TV chanel & newspaper so far, if any please suggest. Though there are very few oldies who are doing their duty as good journos.
     
    maomao likes this.
  5. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,891
    Likes Received:
    824
    Location:
    Forget It....Trace my IP if you can
    Can a report/analysis be truly impartial ?
    If it indeed is impartial, it is just reporting facts as they are, & that is no analysis.
    The moment one starts to relate facts together in order to reach some sort of conclusion, it become an analysis.
    Depending on where one stands, or where one is coming from, the analysis may sound neutral or biased to one or the other.

    After all, "There is YOUR TRUTH & there is MY TRUTH. There is no ABSOLUTE TRUTH" : yet another interpretation of Theory of Relativity :cool2:
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    However, it must SELL!

    Mirch masala
     
  7. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,891
    Likes Received:
    824
    Location:
    Forget It....Trace my IP if you can
    :laugh: Well, that's a fact, not bothered by any relativity theory...
     

Share This Page