Monday, January 03, 2005

Tehelka

This story gave me the goose-pimples. Was watching Vir Sanghvi talk show yesterday on Star World. In conversation with Tarun Tejpal. Tejpal is the founder of Tehelka and comes with a great print media experience (last stint was Outlook, another fav).


Tehelka has literally pushed the boundaries of investigative journalism and is a prominent flag-bearer of public accountability. It has exposed so many scams perpetrated on such a massive scale, that it is scary to imagine that all these underhand dealings would go unnoticed, were it not for the courage of a handful of individuals that is Tehelka. Be it the cricket betting scandal, arms deal scam (which like a tsunami, took so many politicians and army top brass in its wake), Zaheera case..., Tehelka has blown the whistle and how!


Tejpal came across as extremely down to earth, forceful and committed journalist. There was no bravado or arrogance, just the resolve of one who wants to make a positive difference. He spoke of times, when Tehelka was literally hounded, site torn down and their reporters jailed. Their lives were in danger, esp during the arms scam. But Tehelka never gave in.


Tehelka is accused of yellow journalism by some, but Tejpal convinces you completely with his argument. There's is a means to an end. The intention is completely honest and wholly in public interest. In fact, India would be a lesser democracy without Tehelka.


When Tejpal didn't have any money left after the demise of the website (even before, it was hardly commercially viable), he decided not to give up, for that would set a bad precedent for any future voice of dissent. He decided to start a newspaper. And to fund it, there was a call for donations and those donating 1 lakh were to be the founder subscribers. You will be surprised by the list here.

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