A Deafening Silence

A leading Odia daily did the utterly laughable by choosing to omit the name of the BJD in the list of recipients of the electoral bond provided in an agency copy!

Graphical Image on Electoral Bonds

On the day the Supreme Court rejected the State Bank of India (SBI) plea seeking an extension of the deadline to submit the details of the electoral bond scheme to the Election Commission of India (ECI) till June 30, I got a call from a local television channel in the evening for a ‘phono’ on the release of the rules under the Citizens’ (Amendment) Act (CAA), of all things! As a hard-nosed hack in his fourth decade in journalism, I could immediately make out that the Narendra Modi government had suddenly dusted off the long-forgotten file on CAA in a scarcely-veiled diversionary tactic to shift the attention away from the Big Story of the day {maybe even the month!): the landmark SC ruling on the electoral bond issue. I even teased the man who had called, asking him; “Why don’t you take a phono on the electoral bond instead?” The man just smiled demurely and I chose not to embarrass him any further by pressing the point.

But if the ‘coverage’ – the near-absence of it, to be more precise – of the issue in the mainstream media in the days and weeks since then (March 11) is anything to go by, it seems the Modi government need not have gone to such great lengths to ensure that the issue did not stay in the spotlight. The ‘mainstream’ media would have done what it wanted anyway! Had it not been for a bunch of enterprising journalists – mostly operating in the online space – we would still be groping in the dark and wracking our brains trying to join the dots, follow the money trail and establishing the quid pro quo.