Union Minister for Law and Justice Salman Khursheed has said the government would be accused of being ‘insensitive' and there would be a ‘mass movement for the media' if it goes ahead with the investigation of the senior journalists who figure in the Niira Radia tapes.
In an interview with television channel Headlines Today on Monday night, Mr. Khursheed asked anchor Rahul Kanwal why ‘media corruption' should not be investigated by the Lokpal institution under the Team Anna version of the Jan Lok Pal bill.
Mr. Khursheed wanted to know why the Team Anna bill had not called for investigation of corruption in the media and the NGO sector. When the anchor asked what the connection was between the Lokpal Bill and media corruption, the Minister wanted to know if the anchor was suggesting that there was no corruption in the media.
“Do I need to go back to the Niira Radia tapes?” he asked. When he was told that it was no one's case that media was corruption-free and it was the job of the government to investigate the media personalities reportedly figuring in the tapes, Mr. Khursheed argued that if it did so, it would be criticised.
“Now you are asking why the government has not investigated. If we go ahead with the investigation, we would be accused of being insensitive. If we do, there would be a mass moment for the media.”
The Radia tapes controversy relates to the taped and released telephonic conversations between Niira Radia, a corporate lobbyist and a section of politicians, corporates, industrialists, officials, bureaucrats, aides and journalists that were taped by the Income Tax Department during 2008-09.
The Minister argued that there was no rationale for leaving out the office of the President, going by the demand to include the Prime Minister under the purview of the proposed Lokpal.