Friday, January 16, 2009

Media Role

My friends and colleagues have poured their anguish in the pages preceding mine. At this moment, I would just like to add a few points :-

• In the not too far away past, when our country was on the throes of bankruptcy and gold had to be pledged, there was only one organization which could stand “sovereign” guarantee to the nation and that is IndianOil. We, as employees had toiled hard to achieve the sovereign guarantor status, and are proud of this fact, and if the effort then constitutes to be termed as terrorists, it is pathetic on the part of misguided media.
• In the last few days, the media has acted as the witness, jury and judge – all rolled in one – and condemned all Oil Sector officers. The famed equality principle was nowhere to be seen or heard. Was the media muzzled and forced to portray one side of the story only? The simple journalistic principle of checking a hypothesis and verifying before reporting as a fact was totally thrown out of the window. Does TRP and revenue cloud the simple act of judgement?
• During the Crude Oil crisis, PSUs were forced to operate their Retail Outlets (ROs) and sell products at Government dictated prices. The effect is there for the entire world to see – with huge losses day after day, and poor balance sheets in addition to downgrading of rating leading to further erosion in value. The private Oil Companies had promptly closed their ROs without any compunction whatsoever.
• Why did the media take the partisan line? Was there pressure from Govt. or the private Oil companies who had made the media toe their line? Is there an insidious design to market their products in the country, when the EOU status, received under great fanfare, is now no more attractive with overseas markets in doldrums?

There are deeper issues than what has been portrayed in the media. A debate on the role of media and other agencies involved or likely to benefit from discrediting of Oil Sector officers is imperative. I am sure we all want the truth to come out and the taint of “terrorist” with which we have been painted, will have to be washed away.


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