Tempers ran high and heated exchanges were witnessed as journalists on Friday debated the issue of media ethics in the background of lobbyist Niira Radia's tapped conversation with leading scribes, published by two weekly magazines.
A suggestion by Editors' Guild President Rajdeep Sardesai that the magazines had violated principles of journalism by publishing raw data and his comment that the journalists concerned were guilty of "professional misjudgement" rather than "professional misconduct" came under attack from media persons gathered in the jam-packed lawns of the Press Club here.
The basic principle of seeking a reaction of the journalists concerned was ignored which is "shock and awe" and "bad" journalism by the magazines in question, said Sardesai, also Editor-in-Chief of a leading TV Channel.
Sardesai's comments evoked sharp reaction from several journalists, one of whom Poornima Joshi of Mail Today, told him,"I find it absolutely disturbing and disheartening that the President of Editors' Guild is not only condoning but also justifying carrying of messages from a corporate to Congress."
Sardesai said he was not making any such attempts. Among those who participated in the discussion were Outlook Editor-in-Chief Vinod Mehta, Prasar Bharti Chairperson Mrinal Pande, veteran journalist Kuldip Nayyar, Sunil Jain of Financial Express.
Mehta, whose magazine also published part of the transcripts of the tapes, replied to Sardesai saying in major exposes like Watergate and Bofors, response is not taken because evidence in the raw material is "so compelling".