Saturday, February 9, 2013

Media - The Facilitator of Corruption

Media, especially the Indian media at large, is the greatest facilitator of corruption, and yet they are the one who make so much noise against corruption and the corrupt. Before I proceed further, this is what one of them had to say about them, quite recently.

“……but then, one reason why the game is today left in the wretched condition that the book only partly reveals is that India’s media, exceptional interludes notwithstanding, basically clothes it in glamorous habiliments because it has a vested interest in normal service never being interrupted: segments of it are in the IPL and, collectively, it is more interested in the glamour conferred consensually on it than on the degradations attendant upon the enterprise…….”

This is sports editor of The Statesman talking about corruption in Cricket while reviewing a book on match-fixing. And very ironically, typical of Indian media and unlike The Statesman, this media house also chose to keep its eyes closed when the crunch time came and they were presented with the real explosive and comprehensive stuff on corruption in cricket. International cricket, on date, is the largest or one of the largest organised frauds, the Indian media being its greatest facilitator.

I am not saying this in the coziness of my drawing room. I have written a book conveying so, and have conveyed it directly through an interview published in the Deccan Chronicle and Asian Age dated 27/1/2013. The interview is reproduced below:

Q  What are the revelations we can expect from your book?

A The book conveys to the readers that match-fixing in cricket is not something sporadic, but it is there all the time. To such an extent that men's cricket on the international scene is nothing more than staged drama, ball by ball. Cricket on ground is continuously dictated by the betting and fixing syndicates outside and not only are the officials, cricket experts and commentators in the `know', many other experts assist in misleading the viewing public.

Q Which country do you think is the biggest player in match fixing?

A It is easy to comprehend that with T20 leagues like IPL taking place everywhere, there are no clear demarcations left between countries in this context. Some countries like Pakistan have earned a bad name, but there is no bigger or lesser player. All countries are neck deep in this.

Q Has match fixing reached World Cup levels too?

A Without any doubt. Vinod Kambli, not long ago, talked about fixing during a World Cup match he participated in, years ago. Hawkins (the British author) has written a book detailing suspicion of fixing in a match during the previous World Cup.

Q What prompted you to start this book?

A Four years ago was when I became sure that cricket on TV , between any two teams, was pre-scripted. I tried to share this newfound knowledge with my friends and family members and they told me I was talking crazy . So I understood that I had to explain things in detail for people to start grasping this truth. And then I started writing the book. Today same people tell me, “What is so great about your opinion on match-fixing?

Everyone knows about it.“ But they still don't know its extent and depth. I aim to tell them that through my book.

It took me about three years in completing and then another year in refining and getting published.

Received no moral support from anyone during the writing of this book and getting it published from a reasonable publisher wasn't easy either.

Q Did you face any threats while writing this book?

A No. I never faced any threats because, other than a few ones close to me, nobody had a clue that I was writing such a book. But I did feel scared all the time while trying to keep my book a secret. My family was always discouraging me. But now I realise my fears were ill-founded as those running international cricket are least bothered and feel way too secure in their power. It took them a day in dismissing Kambli's allegations and a minute in dismissing Hawkins' book as nonsense. There is no one to ask them questions. Even Kambli and Hawkins seem to have gone quiet. Not being taken seriously may be a blessing in disguise.

Q Do you want people to stop watching international cricket?

A International cricket is a big source of recreation for the masses. What is happening today is the sum-total result of how things have evolved. It may not be in power of one to change the course of evolution. But one should know the truth. I would simply like people to know and understand what is happening, and will happen for some time. Then it would be up to them whether they watch cricket as staged drama or not.

Q Can match-fixing ever be wiped out?

A No. As long as large-scale betting continues. Hawkins also ends his book on the note that fixing was there and will be there. Also, fixing will remain proportional to the betting going on.

And then I went ahead with the press conference/meet, I had called before publication of this interview, to convey that international men's cricket was no more a game but continuous staged drama. I myself was amazed at what I had set on doing. A non entity had decided to take on the combined might of the cricketing world (that as well controls the world by the look of things). I expected them to devour me. But the Indian media showed its true colour. Most of the big names chose to remain indoors and I am not aware if any of those who attended covered what I had to say.To ignore a truth that they couldn't stand/face/challenge suited them the most and they did just that. 

The above facts prove it beyond doubt once again, at least to my mind, that the Indian media at large is the greatest facilitator of corruption, contrary to the general public opinion about it. Probably it is professional necessity for them as to play staged cricket is for the cricketers.

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