I have been in receipt of E-mails very critical of my two articles on the Obiter observations of the Supreme Court regarding the objectionable role of our TV channels in their live coverage of the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai. Some E-mails have been from people I don’t know and some others from people I know and respect----print media journos and officers of the Indian Police Service.
2. Their objection is to my stand that the SC’s critical observations are directed at all TV channels and not at any individual channel or reporter in particular. They have interpreted this as an attempt by me to whitewash the objectionable manner in which Barkha Dutt of NDTV did her live reporting of 26/11.
3. They allege that anybody who was present in Mumbai at that time and had seen the way Barkha bulldozed her way around and live-covered the operations against the Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists from Mumbai would not fail to notice that some of the references made by the SC point the needle of disapproval at her and the NDTV channel without naming them.
4.While strongly backing Barkha on the so-called Radia Tapes issue, I had in the past not hesitated to express my disquiet over the way she covered 26/11. I know that the community of IPS officers----serving and retired--- had been surprised for many months over what they perceived as my reluctance to criticise vehemently and in public Barkha’s coverage of 26/11.
5. In December last, I had attended a reunion of retired IPS officers of the 1961 batch at the National Police Academy at Hyderabad. The theme of the reunion was media and the police. Thereafter, I remember to have written and said that since 26/11 I have not come across a single IPS officer who is not unhappy with her live coverage of 26/11.
5. In the wake of the E-mails, I have re-read the SC’s observations regarding the role of the TV channels in their live coverage of 26/11 and my two articles. I still feel what I wrote in my two articles was well thought out and appropriate to the nature and contents of the Obiter.
6. I had also mentioned in my articles that if the relatives of the victims are able to establish that the examples cited by the SC have been taken from the telecasts of any particular channel or reporter, they could consider filing a damage suit against that channel. ( 30-8-12)