Investigative Journalism In India
The credit to start investigative journalism goes to magazines. The period between 1973 to 1980, which encompasses the challenge to Mrs. Gandhi witnessed such momentous events as the emergency, the Janata government and Mrs. Gandhi?s return to power. It was so packed with political drama that it politicised the entire nation. The journalists were drawn into this fray as never before and many youngsters joined the profession and offered to take risks. This period saw a magazine boom. The magazine took to investigative reporting to quench the thirst of people who were curious to know as to what was happening behind-the scene. In the initial stages, the conservative dailies merely reacted and published follow-up stories. As a result of a formidable challenge from the magazines, the circulation of the dailies fell and they were left with no alternative but to catch up with them. The Indian Express, The Hindu and The Statesman gradually began to shed off their conservatism. The investigative reports published by the Indian Express and the Hindu on the Bofors gun scandal are landmarks in Indian journalism. The reports contributed a great deal to the ?Waterloo? of the Congress Party in the 1989 general elections. Although, in recent years, the Indian press has been quite vibrant and combative as compared to the press in the world today, yet what has been done in the field of investigative journalism touches only the tip of the iceberg. The press in India is owned by the industrialists who do not encourage investigative reporting for fear of government harassment. The way the government dealt with the Indian Express, The Statesman and The Hindu is a sufficient proof of this. Another constraint on investigative journalism is the presence of all-pervading Officials Secrets Act. To encourage investigative reporting, right to information is a must. There is also a need to create an atmosphere where the press can function freely. Investigative journalism assumes action against those who are expose, but in India such exposures had no impact on government.
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