(S. Ravi Seshu)
Eenadu owner Ch.Ramoji Rao’s decision to start district editions (mini/tabloid) in 1989 is said to have diluted the spirit of journalistic professionalism as he roped in untrained people to produce news at a micro level. These part-time journalists, referred to as stringers/collaborators, were more than trained professional journalists. Since they were underpaid (according to the online account), many of them started joining the black sheep with bureaucrats, politicians and criminals to further corrupt the system. Journalism later lost its luster and people began to hate the profession and those who practiced it.
Here’s a classic case to understand how Eenadu is responsible, albeit indirectly, for the rise of a ‘journalist’ who was allegedly in touch with the dreaded mob, Don Nayeem. He tried to start a news channel, I10, in the name of the renegade and supposedly included in the solutions. Watch the newspaper clipping published in Eenadu to know what the police are saying about Hariprasad Reddy, the journalist in the case.
Born in Miryalaguda village of Nalgonda district, Hariprasad Reddy entered the pious field of journalism through Eenadu as a Nalgonda village contributor without any training. “Eenadu hired him without checking his credentials. A journalist of the time must have been impressed by Hari’s gift of gab. Hari contacted a woman over the phone and soon befriended her. He was arrested in his suicide case,” a senior journalist, witnessing his meteoric rise, told telugu360.com.
Shortly after his release from prison, another popular news channel, TV-9, named him as Miryalaguda’s harilari. “Hari used his caste tag to get this job, which is crucial at the divisional level. He used to give wonderful scrolls and stories to the agony of other reporters. When we saw the scrolls sent to my Hari, we used to get slapped by our superiors,” recalled a TV reporter. Later, I- He joined News and 6 TV as a neighborhood reporter.
A controversial editor of a Telugu news channel, who was caught accepting a bribe at the TV-9 office, allegedly encouraged Hari even though he was in other channels. “This corrupt editor entertained Hari with the help of an ex-Maoist who was by then involved in illegal activities. Hari was involved in the transfer of some ground-level police officials,” said another journalist. Hari’s close relationship with a TRS leader, with Nayeem’s support, was known to journalists based in Nalgonda.
“He was encouraged by this leader who belongs to Hari’s caste. As the police said, we all know that Hari did Ganesh navarathrulu in Nayeem’s name and spent a good amount of money. It is known that this gang was involved in the killing of former Maoist Konapuri Ramulu of Nalgonda,” said a Nalgonda media outlet. The house warming event hosted by Hari was attended by many of Nayeem’s henchmen, who recently built a palatial house.
Recently, Hari was promoted to the CEO of I10 channel and opened an office in Banjara Hills and practically started his operations using the money allegedly given by Nayeem. “It has become too late for Nayeem’s mouthpiece and human rights activists, who were lying down under the don’s threats, started shaking to receive the journalist’s phone calls. As soon as Nayeem was killed in police firing on August 8, Hari left the Hyderabad office and disappeared,” said a source.
The Nalgonda police picked up Hari last week and took enough information from him before showing his arrest. For unknown reasons, the police did not produce Hari before the media outside the practice. Hari is the first journalist to be arrested in the case and more will follow, it is known.