While having all appreciation for P. Sainath articles, “Politics and the Praetorian Guard” and “The medium, message and the money” (published in The Hindu of November 7 and October 26 respectively) and the newspaper’s editorial, “Journalism for sale” (published on October 31), I think that in all fairness the credit for raising in a very bold manner and for the first time the serious issue of paid news and media purchase during elections should go to the late Prabhash Joshi. He started writing about this malaise in the Hindi daily, Jansatta, of which he was founder Editor. He watched journalism being sold in naked form to candidates in Hindi newspapers in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand during the last Lok Sabha elections. He even started a spirited public campaign on this issue and addressed many public meetings in U.P. and Bihar. Poignantly, he returned to Delhi just two days before his death, after addressing many such meetings in Benaras, Mirzapur, and so on. I think The Hindu, having high journalistic standards, will not mind giving due credit to Prabhash Joshi in this regard, having common cause. I also hope my friends at The Hindu would try to read Prabhash Joshi’s writings about this serious malaise of the Indian electoral system.
Chairperson, Centre of Indian Languages (SLL&CS), JNU, New Delhi