Our guest for this episode is a Celebrated Journalist, Managing Editor, Firstpost, and award-winning Indian news anchor Paki Sharma in conversation with Ranveer Allahbadia – A conversation touching upon a wide spectrum of topics. Underlying the importance of self-acceptance, this podcast will nudge you on the road to introspection.
Palki Sharma is the most respected journalist because of her opinion, research, and all-rounded approach to journalism. Some of you might not know her, but through this conversation, you will
“I think as journalists we have more responsibility. We are scrutinized more because we are supposed to serve a purpose and are considered the fourth pillar of democracy. But at the end of the day, we are storytellers.”
“People do categorize or label you. The people who do are entitled to their opinion. In the beginning, it used to bother me, but over the years, I have realized these two things- most of these opinions flow from Twitter. There are just a handful of people who call you out, but they are not the whole of India. So in my view, they shouldn’t be given many opinions, and I also feel all these trolls are failed journalists. You should take criticism seriously but surround yourself with people who give you constructive criticism.”
Challenges While Interviews
“Journalists should always take a stand. When you tell people about what happened and what is your opinions, it is a more honest conversation with the audience. I think people are smart enough to form their own opinion. It is my understanding of how fair journalism should be done.”
“There are certain guests who come to our show who want to have a say in the edit. One of my colleagues had gone abroad to shoot, and the guest was like keep your camera aside. We have a camera team, and they will record and send you the clip after the edit. Sometimes you have to take a stand. Once, I was interviewing a guest and was given a stool, and he was given a huge throne. I said I am leaving because I am not his subject.”
“My challenge is to maintain the six degrees of separation and explain while we can have a civil conversation and be in touch, but I am doing my job, and you are doing your job. I should be able to ask the questions I want, and you can answer them the way you want to.”
“One of the most challenging interviews was with Pervez Musharraf. It was in his house in Dubai. It was one of my first big interviews. You want to be prepared for such interviews. I went with 55 questions, and he gave me his time. I was tense, but the interview went well. For a viewer, it is difficult to relate with the dynamics at play when an interview is being done.”
China And Its Secrets
“If China doesn’t get rid of their president, they are in trouble. He is in his third term. He is unpredictable. China calls itself democratic, but there is limited democracy there. They have made a lot of progress, and the leaders thought that if they give a certain standard of living and economic progress, people won’t ask for political freedom. Then Xi Jinping came to power and slowed consolidated power where no one could question him.”
“In 2019 December, somebody in my team came and said there is some disease spreading in China. I did the story, and two days later, he again updated. We started researching, and things were not adding up. It was jarring to see things happening. In 2020, everyone had family members in the hospital. My children were down with covid. We have lost relatives and family. How can someone get away with this? I am saying that the virus spread and the Chinese government did not warn the world. If the Chinese government doesn’t have anything to hide, why don’t they let people investigate? Why did they destroy the sample and not give access to the laboratory? It can be a bio-weapon or a mistake, I don’t know the truth, but we deserve to know.”
“There is a risk of war between China and Taiwan. The Chinese government wants to do the same as it did with Hong Kong. They are changing their tactics. They are taking a softer approach and playing the victim. The attempt to power grab is still there. We need to become Aatma Nirbhar. I know it is not possible overnight. As a concept, we agree we don’t want Chinese products, but what is the alternative? It will take time.”
“Pakistan is a perpetual nuisance. They are in a bit of a spot. Their traditional support was the US, and now PM Modi is visiting the US, and there are plans of working together. But it wasn’t like that. They always kept India in check before, and they kept promoting Pakistanis. The turning point was the Kargil war. The source of money for Pakistan is drying up. Now Pakistan is dependednt on China. But with China, it is a death trap. Pakistan’s economy is collapsing.”
“China is controlling the beast without feeding more. It doesn’t want it to become like the Taliban or South Korea.”
It was nice meeting Palki Sharma, and hopefully, we will have her back soon.