The war has started. It’s between ‘The Hindu’ and ‘The Indian Express’ newspapers, this time. While I am strongly questioning the retiring age of M.K.Razdan, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of news agency Press Trust of India, a similar sword now hangs before another top gun in the Indian media. The Indian Express published a bottom story, throwing this serious question before N.Ram, the Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu and Group Publications and Director of Kasturi & Sons Ltd., with his photo captioned “No retirement age: N.Ram”.
Ram now says he is launching defamatory proceedings, civil and criminal, against Archna Shukla, Senior Editor, The Indian Express, the Editor-in-Chief, Editors, and Publisher of The Indian Express and The Financial Express and others responsible for the publication of what he called a “highly defamatory material”.
His outburst comes apropos the news published in ‘The Indian Express’ and ‘The Financial Express’ dated March 25, 2010, purporting to be reports on Ram’s role and actions in relation to developments within the newspaper group and the company.
An angry Ram thus quickly issued a statement in Chennai today, saying: “These reports are riddled with demonstrable falsehoods and defamatory assertions, some of them attributed to unnamed sources, made with reckless and malicious disregard for the facts and the truth”.
“And this despite the professional courtesy I extended to the journalist and the newspapers by responding precisely and factually to five specific questions emailed to me on March 24 by Shukla.”
Interestingly, both ‘The Hindu” and “The Indian Express” have representation in the 14-member strong Board of Directors of PTI. While Hindu is represented by Ram’s brother N.Ravi, Indian Express has its Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta in the PTI Board.
Isn’t Shekhar Gupta, whose Indian Express has published the ‘defamatory’ story against Hindu’s Ram questioning his retirement age, himself blind, deaf and dumb? When I started writing my PTI Diary, about three months back, I emailed him its link detailing what’s all going on in PTI. But he is yet to respond to that.
Isn’t Shekhar Gupta aware that the company (read PTI) where he is a Director also has a more than 65-year-old M.K.Razdan as its CEO & Editor-in-Chief while all its other employees retire at 60?
Isn’t Shekhar Gupta also in the knowledge of the fact that Razdan, in recent times, has also been distributing unmerited job extensions to his stooges?