How did the 1992 scam show us the true power of Journalism?

India Nov 28, 2020

When was the last time in India when a journalist exposed an incident as big as the 1992 financial scam? Or when was the last time the Indian media exposed something truly significant and saved hundreds of lives from ruin? Do these crimes not happen in India anymore or do our media turn a blind eye to these issues?

The web series “Scam 1992- a Harshad Mehta story” is the story of one of the biggest financial scams in India, exposed by the journalist Sucheta Dalal with the help of her partner Debashish Basu. What was the scam and what does it teach us?

The scam:

The chain of events that caused the scam began when Harshad Mehta, a well-established stockbroker decided to try his hands on the money market. In simple terms, the money market is the channel through which financial institutions raise funds for a short period. Before the great scam, this system was severely flawed and the government institutions did not have much power over it. The core of the money market transactions was based on trust between institutions and brokers. Harshad Mehta cunningly made use of its loopholes. He would make use of the money kept with him in confidence by the Banks and inject the capital in the stock market to earn a profit.  This shot the stock market to more than a thousand points, giving him the title of “The Big Bull”

Who brought it out?

While other brokers wondered about the unknown source of Harshad’s funds, Sucheta Dalal a financial journalist followed his activities with all her might and eventually exposed him. The irregularities of the banking system were unacceptable to her and she took it as her duty to expose such activities to the government authority. The 1992 incident highlights the power and importance of such righteous and fearless journalists. She hasn’t revealed the name of her sources to date.

Such episodes throw light on the power of our media. Even today some journalists try their best to bring out the truth before the public. However, our media is not as free as it used to be. India ranks 142nd out of 180 countries in the Press Freedom Index. In 2019 around 25 journalists reportedly died for their work.

Journalism is a noble profession that brings forward the truth and becomes the voice of the oppressed. Sweden, one of the top-ranked countries with for free press has several instances when their media exposed financial and even political criminals.

Media is known as the 4th pillar of democracy as it is the medium of communication between the people and the government. It is not just the responsibility of the journalists to convey the right information without any biases but the audience as the consumer also needs to choose their content wisely and encourage true journalism.

This article has been written by Sakshi Baoker for The Paradigm

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