New Delhi: Kins of politicians have all the rights as individuals to choose different career paths, including journalism, and vice versa.
But Sunday’s announcement by Mamata Banerjee’s party Trinamool Congress naming senior journalist Sagarika Ghose as Rajya Sabha candidate reignited the debate over the propriety of journalists accepting political posts after claiming to be true professionals in criticising some parties.
The Times of India consulting editor Ghose is the wife of veteran journalist and India Today consulting editor Rajdeep Sardesai and the couple is known for their fierce critique of the Narendra Modi government and the ideologies of BJP-RSS.
Ghose herself is the daughter of a former bureaucrat Bhaskar Ghose, who had served as the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting between 1993–1995, and Director General of Doordarshan between 1986–1988.
BJP, TMC’s fierce opponent in West Bengal, took the opportunity to attack the duo.
BJP IT cell chief and Bengal co-in-charge Amit Malviya posted a video on X commenting that Rajdeep Sardesai’s efforts have been rewarded.
“But it is good that these cretins are getting exposed. If India has to prosper, Indian media needs conscientious journalists too,” Malviya commented.
As quoted above, the couple has been open critiques of the BJP and the Modi government.
No matter how much they claim to be impartial, people accuse that their bias was quite open in public and that stands true for the journalists on the other side including Arnab Goswami who are eligible to be rewarded with Rajya Sabha seats.
Ashutosh, the former colleague of Sardesai and Ghose, was rewarded a Lok Sabha ticket from Aam Aadmi Party for using IBN7 to support Arvind Kejriwal. He, however, lost his security in the elections and now runs his digital news platform Satya Hindi.
There are several such examples.
Weren’t all exposed over the past decade? Perhaps yes.
Sardesai has been on TV and more visible in comparison to his wife. This makes him the prime target for what his wife does.
Does the announcement of Ghose’s candidature change anything?
NewsDrum is not in a position to comment on whether TOI would accept the allegations that Ghose used the newspaper to target Modi-BJP-RSS for over a decade and it would continue to publish her editorials/columns going forward.
For Sardesai, he will continue to claim that what he is doing is journalism. A section of the people Sardesai represents will continue to believe his claims of 'true journalism'.
On television, he is one of the few journalists who are left to present the other side of the views or question the ruling BJP. This adds credibility to India Today TV as a news channel offering opposite views.
Sardesai’s old article headlined “Kumar Ketkar’s nomination reveals the dangers of letting journalists become lawmakers” and Ghose’s tweet in the same year stating that she would never accept Rajya Sabha's seat went viral with people questioning their double-speak and hypocrisy.
What this teaches the current and future generations in journalism or otherwise is that one should never claim a high moral ground when no one is sure about the future unless they are thick-skinned like politicians.
Now that Ghose has embarked on her political journey, there is no doubt that she would have got the prerequisites long back.