Shocker: Headlines Today steals Hardnews Scoop

Published: May 9, 2009 - 12:30 Updated: May 15, 2009 - 16:14

<p><em>Headlines Today</em>, the TV channel of the <em>India Today</em> group, ran a<em> Hardnews </em>exclusive projecting it as their own story -- thus defying all journalistic ethics<br />&nbsp;<br />The<em> Hardnews</em> expose on Indian authorities allegedly submitting <strong>forged</strong> documents to the Swiss government in the $ 8 billion Hassan Ali Khan <em>Hawala </em>case is spawning a new breed of plagiarists.<br /><br /><em>Hardnews</em> in its print edition of May 01, 2009, had done an on-the-spot and detailed investigation on the Swiss bank accounts and controversy--from Switzerland. Consequently, as a follow-up, when <em>Hardnews</em> posted its big scoop on its website, <em> </em>(May 06, 2009), it also sent out a press release to news agencies, newspapers and TV channels. Some of the channels, including <em>India Today </em>group's <em>Headlines Today</em>, showed keen interest in reporting on this story and sought time from our Editor and author of the scoop, Sanjay Kapoor, for an interview. Then seemingly there was a rethink -- results of which were seen a few days later -- and the reporters of the channel did not show up for the interview after dilly dallying for two days.<br /><br />On May 8, <em>The Hindu</em> from Chennai took cognisance of the <em>Hardnews</em>' scoop. Later in the evening, <em>Headlines Today</em> came out with a shocker. All their prevarications of the last few days then fell in place. Boasting as a <em>Headlines Today</em> "exclusive", the channel desperate for a genuine headline, <strong>appropriated</strong> our Swiss Bank story. And, did they give credit to <em>Hardnews</em> for this expose? We did not hear it. </p>
<p>If there was a case of ethics in journalism touching its nadir, then there could be no better example than this. <br />Journalists are aghast at this brazen plagiarism. No journalist with pride or a media organisation that has integrity would have indulged in such a practice. So brazen has been this media group and so contemptuous they are of an independent group like <em>Hardnews</em> that they compounded their felony by crediting the same story to itself in their tabloid, <em>Mail Today (</em>of the<em> India Today </em>group<em>)</em>. To reiterate, even <em>Mail Today</em> was sent the same press release on May 6. But, its editor chose to ignore it for petty journalistic reasons. This only proves that deep pockets and big money-muscle need not often work in synthesis with high quality or ethical journalism.</p>
<p>It is not surprising why <em>Headlines Today </em>chose to behave like this. Desperate for TRPs and credibility, they hijacked a genuine scoop of a small media organisation that they thought would not have the resources to protest. Also, they felt that BJP would pat them on their back for lending a hand to their hypocritical campaign to get black money back from Swiss banks.</p>
<p><em>Headlines Today </em>does not realise what they have parroted in their channel borrowing from the original <em>Hardnews</em> scoop is just a trailer of more that will appear in the pages of the<em> Hardnews</em> magazine and on its website. We may be small, but we are not <em>Hardnews</em> for nothing. Watch out for more action.<br /><input id="jsProxy" onclick="jsCall();" type="hidden" /></p>

Headlines Today, the TV channel of the India Today group, ran a Hardnews exclusive projecting it as their own story -- thus defying all journalistic ethics
Hardnews Bureau

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