Indian Decade

Should Media Self-Censor?

India’s media has been highly critical of the Commonwealth Games chaos. Is this unpatriotic?

Over the past couple of weeks, the proverbial can of worms has been opened over the Commonwealth Games. Less than two months before they are due to open and as Sanjay has pointed out this week, the already beleaguered event has been hitting the headlines day after day.

I know I’ve written ad nauseam about how the preparations have wreaked havoc in Delhi, and how I’m less than confident about how we’ll appear to the 8,000 athletes and numerous travellers who'll be dropping in when the Games start in October. But as has been well-covered here, it feels like thousands of skeletons are falling out of the closet, and the event has already become a major embarrassment for all of us.

With some justification, our vocal media—especially our seemingly omnipresent TV news—has latched onto the story and each night we’ve been treated to shocking details of shameful inefficiency, corruption and ill intent. Games venues are far from being ready, fraudulent contracts have been handed out to shell companies and gym equipment has been rented out at exorbitant rates.

Indeed, the din has grown so loud in recent days that some believe the media, in the interests of national pride, should ease its attacks until after the Games to help avoid global embarrassment.

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As citizens, all of us have been enraged by the level of rot in the administration of these games. But as journalists, we see it as our duty to highlight the problems so that such mistakes can never happen again. Should our Indian-ness be made to feel at odds with these efforts?