The only instance one had of speaking to the Dilip Sardesai went wrong one evening about six years back at the Wankhede Stadium. My photographer stepped inside the boundary line and tried clicking pictures of an under14 or 16 cricket team even before they could finish and step out and Sardesai, upright as ever, just blew off his top.
I stepped in to apologise but he went on his rant on how media is trying to make superstars of raw minds and corrupting them and their careers. And like his son Rajdeep today, I said: “Apology given. take it and chill” or words to that effect.
Early this morning, much as one would like to concur with the BBC’s online correspondent, the talk of this crisis on Indian media’s credibility still sounded like stretching things too far.
Agreed, in this race for getting the exclusive tag on virtually every story, the yellow journalism and moral standards in general have slipped in large doses. And barring the example of Vir Sanghvi, the rest of the protagonists in the tapes saga are still in the grey area between black and white.
But Rajdeep Sardesai’s defence of them put him as a marked man and one thought, forget media credbility, this man is certainly damaging the credibility of the whole Indian media by virtue of his position as president of the Editors Guild of India.
The u-turn on the BJP’s sting operation last year was probably the first sign of the rot with the editor-in-chief of CNN-IBN but trying to broker peace between the so-called media bigwigs and the common man in the audience and going to the extent of even faking twitter feeds in support has tipped the balance.
Any talk of outside intervention to monitor such issues will be opposed as attempts to strangle the freedom of the press but how does one draw the line when the organisation which is supposed to be the self-appointed watchdog on corrupt practices in the Indian media is headed by a man whose own credibility has gone for a toss.
It is time for a change of guard, even if it is for a token show, at the EGI before everyone paints the whole Indian media in the same tainted brush like the BBC attempted today.
Fudging tweets may be look like an innocuous crime but in spirit, the damage has been done to the integrity of another media bigwig. Sardesai has clearly joined the club of corrupt who have broken the fragile glass cover on ethical standards of journalism. He has crossed the boundary line.