Tehelka – the people’s paper – India

Linked with our presentation of Tarun Tejpal – India.

And linked with our presentation of For whom the bell tolls.

Tarun Tejpal says: “we, at Tehelka, will carry on our sting operations”. (See an Interview on this Hindustan Times page).

Excerpt: … Tejpal, 38, created Tehelka on a shoestring a year ago with his brother and a journalist colleague, Aniruddha Bahal. Many ordinary Indians, judging from the crowds at Tejpal’s public speeches, regard him as a champion. Tejpal believes he has helped his much maligned profession in India. “The explosion of consumerism since economic liberalization in 1991 created a journalism of public relations,” he complains.

That’s changing. Ever since the bribery scandal, Tehelka has been awash in resumes from journalists, and receives scandal tips daily. Besides the resignations, the defense expose prompted New Delhi to adopt new procurement rules. A Punjab University economics graduate and veteran newspaperman, Tejpal has recruited some of India’s best political columnists. Author V.S. Naipaul is on its board. Says Vinod Mehta, editor of the newsweekly Outlook, where Tejpal once worked: “Tehelka has been an earthquake in Indian politics.”

Finances are a problem, though. The Web site spends $85,000 a month on overhead and staff, but takes in only $8,000 a month in advertising. The defense expose was cut off when Tehelka, after handing over $23,000 to politicians, ran out of money. “So we just went public with the story,” Tejpal says. But in February, broadcaster Zee Telefilms expressed interest in buying a stake. Also, Tejpal is raising money from Indians in the U.S.

After a failed assassination attempt in April, Tejpal is now trailed by six bodyguards from the government. But don’t think he’ll stop raking the muck: “India needs professional dissenters,” he says. (Read the whole article on Business Week online).

Tehelka has come to stand for public interest journalism, exposes to corruption, and courage under fire, amid the tarnished political institutions in India. In the last two years Tehelka has seen everything. Overwhelming goodwill, great fame, and global accolades. It has also faced relentless victimization at the hands of a powerful establishment following its defence expose.

During a press conference, he says to the question of thedoggerel: Sir, if you had known the outcome of your investigations, would u have done things differently? Answer: I choose to believe we would have still gone ahead and broken the story because along with all the harrassment and troubles has also come tremendous goodwill and acclaim from all sections of people across the country.
And pravin: what do u think india needs to improve on to rempve corruption?
Answer: I think the change has to come right from the top because Indians respond to inspired leadership. We need leaders who can show us the way again. Unfortunately, none seem to be in sight. (Read the whole on rediff.com).

links:

All hell broke loose after Tejpal’s reporters caught top officals in the act of accepting bribes. (Read all on Asiaweek).

Meanderings;

Sensuality’s high song;

Border Crossings;

Citizen News.

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