The recent Niira Radia tapes & her wrong doings have suddenly bought a lot in light. We have people throwing accusations at media & questioning the sanctity of PR as a profession. Responsible journalism for one & PR community acting as lobbyists is the talk of the season.
Somehow according to me it’s not about Journalism & also not about PR. No! No! No! We are all on the wrong track & I will explain why. We are busy seeing the consequences & have still not identified the problem. Discussion forums are cluttered with absolute rubbish with people throwing baseless allegations at the media bodies & PR communities. Just because I belong to the PR community I am not going to defend myself but I am going to state a real reason why this could have happened. (Well, according to me)
The other day a friend called me on a Sunday afternoon & started a usual conversation. Since we both belong to the PR fraternity we usually end up discussing the news for the day. Who could have possibly worked on a which news & which agency doesn’t have the balls to do what. Our tendency also lies in sharing a good piece of edit or an article that either one of us has read in the newspapers. Obviously the last Sunday’s Edits were filled with the curious case of Nira Radia. We eventually got into talking about all the controversies involved therein with Niira Radia being the main talk point. Conversations did drift to Barkha Dutt & Vir Sanghvi but we bounced back to her on & off. Suddenly he asked me "If you were Niira Radia what would you have done?" It got my mind ticking. Seriously. I am in the same profession that she was in probably a decade ago. I am a good orator & can convince well. So by all means I can find myself in her shoes one day! So, what would I do? Well the first thing that I told him was an obviously lame, "I don’t know. I'm not of that level". He replied saying "what will you take to talk? And I seriously started thinking. The conversation made me realize something which I already have known & here it was being proved once again.
So here goes my analysis of Niira Radia's mental state & to all the questions being raised around, also making an attempt to safeguard the PR fraternity & taking a stand as to what would I do if I were her.
As a PR professional, we indulge in a certain level of lobbying by influencing the actions of the media community (mostly) & any other community if need be.
For those who don’t know what lobbying is? Lobbying (also Lobby) is a form of advocacy with the intention of influencing decisions made by legislators and officials in the government by individuals, other legislators, constituents, or Advocacy groups.
Lobbying equivalent for us could be as minute as demanding the questions in advance for an interview or also going to the extent of providing the journalists with the bait to favor our client.
We do this to bring our client in good light. We do this because we get paid to do exactly THIS. A certain level of lobbying is inevitable for us to fill in our stomachs. Probably at that level we don't think it’s about "lobbying" by definition but it is lobbying under the sheets. Every individual may allow himself with a certain amount of restrictions (which may be moral/ethical) and certain amount of flexibility while in a job. It may be independent of the organizations rules & procedures. But one does this to survive. And organizations let them be to retain their talent. There needs to be a certain amount of relentlessness from both the sides.
The real question comes in play when a person has the power to influence the decisions of Powerful people. For example Nira Radia had acquired the power to manipulate the decisions of people sitting in the south block. Its there when your allegations of responsible journalism, responsible governance & responsible lobbying comes into play. When one has the power to influence one must definitely consider allowing himself with certain restrictions about which I spoke in the prior paragraph & that’s exactly where she went wrong. Her addiction to ambition had taken over her work ethics & so she could not see where to stop. The line "Geeli geeli chahat ki jaise "latt" hain re" of the song Marjawaan from the movie Fashion is an apt explanation for the situation. When one gets addicted to ambition & it becomes so big that one stops listening to one’s mind & heart is when you know your need psychological help.
There could be several reasons why she did this but I can think of this one. And probably this one is the most relevant one.
According to me it’s all a game of POWER. It’s particularly rare for a woman to come in power as equivalent to hers. There might be a one Nira Radia in about 100000 women (or more) that becomes a part of corporate world. A very few from the herd make it to the top. Corporate Jungle is a world which is dominated by men of Power & Substance. A world where people think that few women make it to the top. (Which is true!!). Be it the east or the west the ratio of women to men in power is way less than otherwise. If in such an environment a woman has struggled to slowly make it big there are high chances of her mind being clouded with a feeling of superiority & a certain addiction for bad ass ambition. Women in particular have this crazy craving for power. Why? The Minority explains it all. There are times when their ambition becomes so big that takes over their mind & they indulge in activities equivalent to this one. An example of the same in the past could be Monica Bedi indulging into relationship with the famous underworld Don Abu Salem & Mandakini with Dawood. Why could they have done it? Were they in love? No!! Clearly No!! It’s a clear case of Power. Their cases are simpler; they did not make it big in Bollywood & sorted other ways out to reach fame. But a person who has really struggled to the top knows & understands his own market value would be ready to act as an operator for his own script to create an artificial inflation of prices. (Read brand value)
Another example would be the movie Fashion where PC's mind was completely clouded with her ambition & superiority that she could not see the worst coming. Understanding Human behavior can be difficult at times. These are people who have been aware of the force. I have been studying human behavior in terms of invincible power since long. Back then I was unable to affirm what it was & was not possible to think beyond a point. However the innate force of this power in relation with Human behavior has remained pretty constant regardless of the shifts in intellectual thinkings that have taken place. The forms of authority to which such power becomes attached do, on the other hand, vary in accordance to each profession.
So, Conclusion Niira Radia may be good at her work but she needs help.
To answer my friend question, if I were her my ethics would come in play once. Definitely. Whether I curb them or listen to them will be answered if I ever become Nira Radia equivalent.
For those talking ill about my PR community. There’s actually no point of getting PR & Journalism into discussion at all. We are doing our jobs well Let us be. ok?
For my media friends: We may argue that our trust with the media news levels have gone down but the truth is that we will keep reading the news. Media houses & publications will keep creating news & there will be scams like these which will keep coming into limelight on particular “one fine days” every once a while & shake everybody off from their sleep. There will be discussions which will never make sense. Eventually we will forget all & then get back to reading news until again somebody shakes us up.
See the loop?