इंडिया टुडे समूह के अंग्रेजी अखबार मेल टुडे ने एक रिपोर्ट प्रकाशित की है. इस रिपोर्ट में बताया गया है कि चिटफंडियों के तूफान की चपेट में आकर पश्चिम बंगाल में कम से कम 2450 मीडियाकर्मी अपनी नौकरी गंवा चुके हैं, जिसमें पत्रकार तथा गैर पत्रकार दोनों शामिल हैं. इसमें सुदीप्तो सेन के मीडिया समूह के अलावा एक और चिटफंड कंपनी टॉवर समूह भी शामिल है.
टॉवर समूह का अखबार प्रात्यिकी को भी बंद कर दिया गया है. इस समूह के भी कई पत्रकार बेरोजगार हो गए हैं. इन मामलों पर इंडियन एक्सप्रेस के एडिटर इन चीफ शेखर गुप्ता लिखते हैं….
“But why are we complaining? Why are we being so protective of what only we see as our turf? There is nothing in the law to stop anybody from owning media. And sure enough, the biggest business houses in India have tried their hand with the media and retreated with burnt fingers and singed balance sheets.
“The Ambanis (Observer Group), Vijaypat Singhania (The Indian Post), L.M. Thapar (The Pioneer), Sanjay Dalmia (Sunday Mail), Lalit Suri (Delhi Midday), are like a rollcall of the captains of Indian industry who failed in the media business.
“They failed, you’d say, because they did not, deep down, respect the media, or journalists. Many of them saw themselves as victims of poorly paid, dimwit journalists employed by people who called themselves media barons but were barons of what was a boutique business compared to theirs.
“But there is a difference between then and now, and between them and the state-level businessmen investing in the media now. They failed because they did not respect journalism. The current lot are setting up or buying up media mainly because they do not respect journalism, because they think all journalists are available, if not for sale then for hire, as lawfully paid employees.
“If you have a couple of news channels and newspapers, a few well known (and well connected) journalists as your employees, give them a fat pay cheque, a Merc, and they solve your problem of access and power. They also get you respect, as you get to speak to, and rub shoulders with top politicians, even intellectuals, at awards and events organised by your media group.
“It is the cheapest ticket to clout, protection and a competitive edge.
“A bit like, to steal the immortal line Shashi Kapoor spoke to his wayward “brother” Amitabh Bachchan in Yash Chopra‘s Deewar (mere paas maa hai), tere paas police, SEBI, RBI, CBI, kuchch bhi ho, mere paas media hai.
“Remember how Gopal Kanda defied Delhi Police to arrest him rather than have him present himself grandly for surrender? The police put up scores of checkpoints to look for him, but he arrived in style, riding an OB van of STV, a channel known to be “close” to him. Which cop would dare to look inside an OB van?”