It has been a while since senior editors have discussed headlines of leading dailies. Most newspapers on November 17, 2010 carried the news on the Supreme Court questioning Dr Manmohan Singh’s silence on the 2G scam as the lead story, with the exception of The Indian Express. And this came up for quite some discussions in tweets and blogs. exchange4media takes a look at this rare and important development and also does an analysis of the newspaper content on November 17.
The 2G telecom scam has seen A Raja resigning as the Telecom Minister. But taking a strong view on the scam, the Supreme Court has questioned Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s silence on the 2G scam. The SC took this extraordinary step after Dr Singh’s long delay in replying to a request for sanctioning prosecution against A Raja.
Most newspapers carried comprehensive page-one lead coverage of this development, where the Bench comprising Justice GS Singhvi and Justice AK Ganguly questioned the silence of the Prime Minister in the 2G scam, saying: “We find the alleged inaction and silence troubling”.
However, The Indian Express preferred to play up the story on BJP leader Arun Shourie saying: ‘CBI knows who handled 2G bribe money’. The report on SC questioning the Prime Minister didn’t find any mention on the front page barring a pointer, while the report itself was carried on Page 5.
And this didn’t escape the notice of news editors and the online space was abuzz with discussions on the same. Sagarika Ghose, Deputy Editor, CNN-IBN, had tweeted” “Indian Express does not mention SC strictures against PM on front page! Strange?”
Another senior journalist mentioned on his website: “Journalism has turned on its head or what? Times of India, even Hindustan Times, and most papers have screaming banner headlines on the Supreme Court’s comments against Manmohan’s silence on 2G scam. Except The Indian Express, which has buried it on Page 5!”
Meanwhile, The Indian Express maintained that though the SC questioning Prime Minister was not the lead news, the paper had carried a bold pointer to the report prominently on page one and gave due coverage to the development on Page 5. Moreover, the paper insisted that the front page lead story on Arun Shourie’s comments on the 2G scam was an exclusive that others did not have.
On the other hand, other major dailies were full of this development. If Hindustan Times’ headline said ‘SC questions PM silence’, The Times of India’s lead headline asked: ‘Why didn’t PM act on Raja: SC’. Mail Today’s headline was: ‘SC Corners PM on Raja’, while The Hindu’s headline said: ‘Why was PM silent for 16 months’. DNA’s lead headline was: ‘PM in the dock: Why the delay over 2G spectrum complaint? asks SC’.
The Hindi dailies were not far behind on carrying this report comprehensively. Dainik Bhaskar, NaiDunia, Dainik Jagran, Hindustan, Patrika and Amar Ujala (among others), carried the story prominently on their front page.