बेहतरीन मानवीय रिपोर्टिंग के लिए द हिंदू के रिपोर्टर अमन सेठी पुरस्‍कृत

द हिंदू के पत्रकार अमन सेठी को बेहतरीन मानवीय रिपोर्टिंग के लिए आईसीआरसी और प्रेस इंस्‍टीट्यूट ऑफ इंडिया (पीआईआई) ने प्रथम पुरस्‍कार प्रदान किया है. इस पुरस्‍कार के तहत सेठी को 50000 रुपये प्रदान किया गया. उन्‍हें यह पुरस्‍कार छत्‍तीसगढ़ के दंतेवाड़ा में हुए दंगों के बारे में लिखे गए रिपोर्ट पर दिया गया है. दोनों संस्‍थान संयुक्‍त रूप से इस पुरस्‍कार का आयोजन करते हैं.

द्वितीय पुरस्‍कार तहलका मैगजीन के उमर बाबा, तृतीय पुरस्‍कार मलयालम न्‍यूज पेपर राष्‍ट्रीय दीपिका के रेजी जोसेफ तथा सांत्‍वना पुरस्‍कार टाइम्‍स आफ इंडिया के अनूप शर्मा को प्रदान किया गया. इन लोगों को यह पुरस्‍कार अल्‍पसंख्‍यक आयोग के अध्‍यक्ष वजाहत हबीबुल्‍ला, पीआईआई चीफ वी मुरली व रेडक्रास के फ्रेंकोइस स्‍टेम ने प्रदान किया.

उमर को कश्‍मीर घाटी में हुए दंगों की रिपोर्ट पर, जोसेफ को श्रीलंका के तमिल शरणार्थियों के बारे में लिखी गई रिपोर्ट तथा अमित शर्मा को असम के बारे में चार पार्ट में लिखी गई रिपोर्ट पर यह पुरस्‍कार दिया गया है. इस पुरस्‍कार के लिए पत्रकारों का चयन तीन सदस्‍यीय टीम ने किया,‍ जिसमें आईएएनएस के एक्‍जीक्‍यूटिव एडिटर नारायण स्‍वामी, जेएनयू की अनुराधा चिनाय तथा अधिवक्‍ता वीरेंद्र ग्रोवर शामिल थे.

क्षेत्रीय चैनल बेचेगा एनडीटीवी!

समाचार और मनोरंजन क्षेत्र में कारोबार कर रही राष्ट्रीय स्तर की प्रसारक कंपनी एनडीटीवी संभवत: अपने चैनल एनडीटीवी-हिंदू को बेचने की तैयारी कर रही है। यह चैनल एनडीटीवी और चेन्नई मुख्यालय वाले समाचार पत्र समूह दि हिंदू की बराबर हिस्सेदारी वाला संयुक्त उपक्रम है। 2009 के मध्य में जब एनडीटीवी-हिंदू की शुरुआत हुई थी, तब यह चेन्नई का पहला शहर केंद्रित अंग्रेजी समाचार और मनोरंजन चैनल था।

एनडीटीवी से जुड़े 2 निवेश बैंकरों के मुताबिक, पर्याप्त कमाई नहीं होने और 100 क्षेत्रीय चैनलों की जंग में दर्शकों को अपनी ओर खींचने में असफल रहने से 2 साल पुराने इस चैनल को बेचना पड़ रहा है। हालांकि, ये सभी चैनल तमिल भाषा के ही हैं। एनडीटीवी से करीब से जुड़े एक बैंकर ने बताया, ‘बड़ी संख्या में चैनलों के होने के कारण विज्ञापन और दर्शकों की दृष्टि से यह बाजार बेहद प्रतिस्पर्धी है। इस स्थिति में एनडीटीवी-हिंदू के लिए आगे बढऩा मुश्किल लग रहा है।

एनडीटीवी ने इसे बाजार की अफवाह बताते हुए टिप्पणी करने से इनकार कर दिया। बैंकरों ने संभावित बोलीदाता का नाम बताए बिना संकेत किया कि क्षेत्रीय स्तर पर 2 बेहद मजबूत मीडिया घराने चैनल को खरीदने की संभावनाओं का आकलन कर रहे हैं। संपर्क करने पर हिंदू समूह के संपादक एन राम ने कहा कि इस संयुक्त उपक्रम के बारे में बोलने के लिए एनडीटीवी अधिकृत है। एनडीटीवी-हिंदू को इस भरोसे के साथ पेश किया गया था कि भविष्य में समाचार और ज्यादा स्थानीय होते जाएंगे, लेकिन नतीजों को देखते हुए उनका अनुमान काफी हद तक गलत रहा। साभार : बिजनेस स्‍टैंडर्ड

‘द हिंदू’ मैनेजमेंट ने कोड आफ एडिटोरियल वैल्यूज स्वीकार किया

पुराने व प्रतिष्ठित अखबार द हिंदू से खबर है कि 18 अप्रैल को बोर्ड आफ डायरेक्टर्स की बैठक में कोड आफ एडिटोरियल वैल्यूज को स्वीकार किया गया. द हिंदू को प्रकाशित करने वाली कंपनी कस्तूरी एंड संस लिमिटेड के निदेशकों की बैठक में सभी 12 निदेशक मौजूद थे. पर अंदरुनी खबर है कि ये नौ प्वाइंट वाला कोड आफ एडिटोरियल वैल्यूज को सर्वसम्मति से नहीं स्वीकार किया जा सका. द हिंदू ने इन नौ प्वाइंट्स को अखबार व वेबसाइट पर प्रकाशित कर दिया है. आप भी पढ़ें-

This Code of Editorial Values has been adopted by the Board of Directors of Kasturi & Sons Ltd. on April 18, 2011.

1. The greatest asset of The Hindu, founded in September 1878, is trust. Everything we do as a company revolves, and should continue to revolve, round this hard-earned and inestimable long-term asset. The objective of codification of editorial values is to protect and foster the bond of trust between our newspapers and their readers.

2. The Company must continue to protect the integrity of the newspapers it publishes, their editorial content, and the business operations that sustain and help grow the newspapers.

3. Our editorial values are rooted in the guiding principles The Hindu set out with and communicated to its readers in ‘Ourselves,’ the editorial published in its inaugural issue of September 20, 1878. The world has changed but the principles remain vital for us: fairness and justice. The founding editorial also announces the aim of promoting ‘harmony’ and ‘union’ (unity) among the people of India and a secular editorial policy of maintaining the ‘strictest neutrality’ in matters relating to religion while offering fair criticism and comment ‘when religious questions involve interests of a political and social character.’

4. The core editorial values, universally accepted today by all trustworthy newspapers and newspaper-owning companies, are truth-telling, freedom and independence, fairness and justice, good responsible citizenship, humaneness, and commitment to the social good. Practising these values requires, among other things, the Company’s journalists excelling in the professional disciplines, and especially the discipline of verifying everything that is published. It requires our journalists to maintain independence from those they cover, be fair and just in their news coverage, and avoid conflicts of interest. It means being interesting and innovative, and learning and mastering new ways and techniques of storytelling and presentation of editorial content in this digital age so as to engage readers and promote a lively and mutually beneficial conversation with them. Above all, it means the uncompromising practice of editorial integrity. The Company must endeavour to provide in its publications a fair and balanced coverage of competing interests, and to offer the readers diverse, reasonable viewpoints, subject to its editorial judgment.

5. The Company is fully committed to these values, so that the business and editorial departments and actions, while operating by their own distinctive rules, are on the same page. The two sides must work together closely on the basis of mutual respect and cooperation and in the spirit of living these values in a contemporary sense.

6. The Company recognises that good journalism cannot survive, develop, and flourish unless it is viable and commercially successful.

7. Any potential conflict of interest within the Company will be resolved keeping in mind these values. Among other things, this involves raising the standards of transparency and disclosure in accordance with the best contemporary norms and practices in the field.

8. It is necessary to set and communicate internally and to the public clear standards of journalistic integrity and performance, corporate governance, and business practice.

9. There is no wall but there is a firm line between the business operations of the Company and editorial operations and content. Pursuant to the above-mentioned values and objectives, it is necessary to create a professionalism in the editorial functioning independent of Shareholder interference so as to maintain an impartiality, fairness, and objectivity in editorial and journalistic functioning.

”द हिंदू” में ये क्या बवाल हो रहा है!

Dear Yashwantbhai, This link may be of interest to you: http://savethehindu.blogspot.com … The following letter was sent to the employees of The Hindu, the Chennai based newspaper on April-20,2011. Letter from N. Ravi, Editor, on the recent happenings in The Hindu…..

April 20, 2011

Dear colleagues,

Even as we are entering the second, and what might turn out to be a prolonged, phase of conflict and turbulence in the institution, I write to seek your understanding.

In a shocking display of bad faith that has left me deeply anguished, N. Ram and some of the directors at the meeting of the Board on April 18, 2011 have sought to remove me and appoint as editor Siddharth Varadarajan who joined The Hindu in 2004.

You are all aware that I have been working in a wholly professional capacity for several decades ever since I joined the newspaper as a reporter in 1972. During this period, I have been fortunate to enjoy your cooperation and help in taking the newspaper forward. After 1991 when I took over as editor, our team transformed The Hindu from a Chennai-centred daily with just one page of local news to a well recognized national newspaper with extensive local and state coverage spread over four pages, and attractive features. We started a lively engagement with the leading issues of the day with extensive coverage and diverse viewpoints. We sought to uphold editorial integrity, seeking accountability from institutions and public officials without fear or favour.

Though the economy then was not so buoyant as during the later period, between January 1991 and June 2003, the circulation of The Hindu increased from 4,52,918 copies (July-December 1990) to 9,33,458 copies (January-June 2003) or by 4,80,540 copies or 106.1%. In the more recent period, The Hindu has been losing market share, and from being level with the Hindustan Times, it has now fallen far behind that newspaper. Findings from the most recent market survey present a depressing picture of reader perception of unappealing content and a pronounced bias towards the left.

It is a matter of public record that N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, was to retire on May 4, 2010 on turning 65 and I was to take over as Editor-in-Chief under the arrangement agreed upon. However, in a shocking display of bad faith, Ram went on to renege on his commitment to retire and the whole process of editorial succession came to a standstill.

During the conflict created by Ram’s breach of faith, Ram and a group of directors on the Board removed the powers and responsibilities of N. Murali, Managing Director in a vindictive move that was overturned by the Company Law Board, Chennai Bench that also came out with a severe indictment that their action was lacking in probity, good faith and fairness. Barely four months after the indictment, Ram and his group of directors have turned on me with the same lack of probity, good faith and fairness and have sought to remove me and impose a plan of editorial succession that is totally at variance with the longstanding tradition and practice in the institution and is also contrary to the directions of the Company Law Board.

Almost a year past the agreed retirement date, his position having become untenable in the face of the Company Law Board order, Ram seems bent on taking all the editorial directors—most are in their 50s–into retirement with him with a scorched earth policy to ensure that no one in the family succeeds him. Instead of coming up with a succession plan, he and some of the other directors have come up with a plan of wholesale removal. In a sudden change of rules and under the specious plea of separating ownership from management, along with my removal as editor, Nirmala Lakshman is to be forced to “step down” as joint editor and Malini Parthasarathy as executive editor.

Apart from the basic unfairness of the removal, the move seeks to entrench several of the distortions that have crept into the editorial framework since 2003 when Ram was appointed Editor-in-Chief by stealth over the protests of four of us. Among the issues that I have raised with the other directors during the discussions in the Board and outside are: the unmerited coverage of certain political favourites on specific directions; excessive coverage of the activities of the left and some of its leaders; for reasons that are bound to emerge sooner rather than later, turning the newspaper into an apologist for A. Raja through the 2G scam coverage, remaining deafeningly silent on his resignation in the face of mounting evidence even when demanding the resignation of Suresh Kalmadi, Ashok Chavan and Yeddyurappa in similar circumstances; pronounced pro-China tilt, blacking out or downplaying any news that is less than complimentary to the Chinese Communist regime; and contrary to the practice in any mainline newspaper, the Editor-in-Chief indulging in an unceasing self-glorification campaign, publishing his own ribbon cutting pictures and reports of his activities and speeches with a regularity that would put corporate house journals to shame.

The Hindu as an institution had in the past valued its editorial integrity over all else. In the recent period, editorial integrity has been severely compromised and news coverage linked directly to advertising in a way that is little different from paid news. A meaningless distinction has been sought to be made between walls and lines, and the walls between editorial and advertising are sought to be replaced by “lines” between them. Very recently, those of us who were not privy to the deal making learnt to our shock that a major interview with A. Raja in defence of the telecom licensing policy published on May 22, 2010—that was referred to by the Prime Minister in his press conference–involved a direct quid pro quo in the form of a full page, colour advertisement from the Telecom Ministry that was specially and hurriedly cleared by the Minister personally for publication on the same day in The Hindu. The contrast between such a deed and pious editorial declarations including the campaign against paid news cannot be starker. To continue with such practices, the editorial structure is sought to be changed, with the editor being made subordinate to an executive board comprising a majority of business side executives. The undermining of the primacy of the editorial function is an attack on the very soul of The Hindu. In the context of these distortions that have crept into actual practice, the high sounding code of editorial values that is sought to be publicised now would seem no more than empty rhetoric.

This round of turbulence comes at a time when all manner of investors are looking to gain influence and control over the media, and competition is increasing with newspapers striving to attract the attention of readers through better, more contemporary and enriched content. As part of the journalistic team, all of you have contributed so much to the growth of The Hindu and are vitally interested in the task of moving forward in a highly competitive environment even while observing the highest standards of editorial integrity. I feel strongly that when a distorted picture has emerged based on selective leaks, information on the happenings cannot be restricted to the confines of the boardroom and all the journalists as stakeholders need to be taken into confidence.

It is in this spirit that I am sharing my views with you all. I also write to you with the confidence that the unfair and untenable move will not be allowed to prevail. In the task of upholding the editorial principles that are so dear to all of us, I appeal for your support and understanding.

Yours sincerely,
N. Ravi

द हिंदू ने दाम बढ़ाया, हिंदुस्‍तान टाइम्‍स की कमर टूटी

चार हजार सर्कुलेशन के बावजूद दिल्ली से आने वाले अंग्रेजी दैनिक द हिंदू ने मंगलवार से अपना दाम पचास पैसे और बढ़ाकर कवर प्राइस चार रुपये कर दिया है। यह जानते हुए भी कि लखनऊ से आ रहे टाइम्स आफ इंडिया की ओर से 395 रुपये में पूरे नौ माह तक अखबार पढ़ाने की स्कीम आ गयी है, हिंदू ने यह हिम्मत की है। पर टाइम्स आफ इंडिया की वजह से हिंदुस्तान टाइम्स की कमर टूट गयी है।

इस समय टाइम्स आफ इंडिया की ओर से 45 रुपये में पूरे माह अखबार पढ़ाने की योजना पाठकों के सामने है और ग्राहक इस अखबार को लेने के लिए व्यग्रता दिखाने लगे हैं। इस समय हिंदुस्तान टाइम्स 111 रुपये पूरे माह का पड़ रहा है। ये दोनों ही अखबार यहां लखनऊ से छपकर आते हैं। इसी तरह इलाहाबाद में अमर उजाला की ओर से शनिवार-रविवार का अखबार दो रुपये कर देने से जागरण और हिंदुस्तान अखबार पर असर पड़ना शुरु हो गया है। बाकी दिन अमर उजाला का दाम साढ़े तीन रुपये ही है। अमर उजाला ने काटो-चिपकाओ स्कीम भी रख छोड़ी है इससे ग्राहक भी जुड़ रहे हैं। दूसरी ओर उसने शनिवार और रविवार को दो रुपये का अखबार देकर वितरकों को भी मात्र 95 पैसे में अखबार उठाने की योजना चलाई है।

इलाहाबाद में सहारा के वाराणसी से पहुंचने पर जोरदार जंग छि़ड़ने की अटकलें लगायी जा रही हैं। क्योंकि इस अखबार ने बनारस में अपना दाम घटाकर दो रुपये कवर प्राइस और वितरक कमीशन एक रुपया पांच पैसे के अलावा वितरकों के लिए कुछ और स्कीम भी चला रखी है। यहां अखबारों की बिक्री घटने का असर यह है कि हिंदुस्तान के जीएम लेवल के लोग भी सेंटरों पर दिखने लगे हैं। साभार : पूर्वांचलदीप

Shekhar, this is not fair…

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?

-Neeraj Bhushan

राम भड़के तो एक्सप्रेस वाले पीछे पड़े

एक्सप्रेस समूह वाले तो एन. राम और ‘दी हिंदू’ अखबार के पीछे पड़ गए लगते हैं. कुछ लोग कह रहे हैं कि देश में अंग्रेजी में दो ही सर्वाधिक प्रतिष्ठित अखबार हैं, एक ‘दी हिंदू’ और दूसरा ‘दी इंडियन एक्सप्रेस’. इन अखबारों के जो सर्वाधिक चर्चित दो नाम हैं वे हैं- इंडियन एक्सप्रेस के एडिटर इन चीफ शेखर गुप्ता और ‘दी हिंदू’ के एडिटर इन चीफ एन. राम. शेखर गुप्ता और एन. राम में अगर तुलना की जाए तो कई मामलों में एन. राम लोकप्रियता में बाजी मारते दिखते हैं. दिल्ली में न रहने के बावजूद, चेन्नई से दी हिंदू की कमान संभाले एन. राम की खरी-खरी लंबे समय तक पाठकों तक पहुंच रही है. वे सिर्फ अखबार के एडिटर इन चीफ ही नहीं हैं बल्कि पब्लिशर व डायरेक्टर भी हैं.

यही बात उन्हें दूसरे मालिकों से अलग करती है क्योंकि देश में एन. राम जैसा कोई और अखबार मालिक नहीं है जो इतना प्रखर पत्रकार भी हो. चर्चा है कि इसी वजह से एक्सप्रेस ग्रुप अब एन. राम और दी हिंदू को निशाने पर लेकर इनकी छीछालेदर करने पर उतारू है.  आमतौर पर मीडिया हाउसों के बीच एक अघोषित किस्म का अनैतिक गठजोड़ होता है कि अपने घर-परिवार में उठा-पटक की खबरें किसी हालत में नहीं छापेंगे. लेकिन यदा-कदा यह अघोषित अनैतिक समझौता टूट भी जाता है. एक्सप्रेस समूह दी हिंदू व एन. राम के परिवार में मची हलचल को प्रमुखता से पब्लिश कर अपने अखबार की छवि मजबूत व पड़ोसी की छवि कमजोर करने में सफलता पाई है. पर जानकारों का कहना है कि एन. राम इतनी आसानी से इंडियन एक्सप्रेस को फिलहाल लीड नहीं लेने देंगे.  

सूत्रों का कहना है कि अभी तक की जो स्थिति है उसमें इंडियन एक्सप्रेस के लोग ‘ दी हिंदू’ व एन. राम को अपनी रणनीति के जाल में फंसाने में कामयाब हो गए हैं. एन. राम ने जिस तरह से एक्सप्रेस समूह के अखबारों को मानहानि के दायरे में लपेटने की धमकी दी है, उससे एन. राम की छवि बिगड़ी है. इंडियन एक्सप्रेस की रणनीति यही थी. इससे एक्सप्रेस को डबल फायदा हुआ है. एक तो वे यह फिर साबित करने में सफल रहे हैं कि वे किसी भी तरह की बड़ी खबर, चाहे मीडिया के अंदर की ही कोई बड़ी खबर क्यों न हो, प्रकाशित करने की हिम्मत रखते हैं. दूसरे, एन. राम की धमकी को आज पहले पन्ने पर छापकर एक्सप्रेस ने एन. राम की ‘छोटी सोच’ का प्रदर्शन तो कर ही दिया, यही काम खुद ‘दी हिंदू’ ने भी किया है. ‘दी हिंदू’ के पहले पन्ने पर भी एन. राम द्वारा इंडियन एक्सप्रेस के खिलाफ मानहानि का मुकदमा करने की बात प्रकाशित हुई है. इससे पाठकों तक यह बात पहुंच रही है कि आप दूसरों के खिलाफ कुछ भी छापें, वो तो सही लेकिन अगर आपके अंदर की हलचल को किसी ने छाप दिया तो उसे आपने गलत करार दिया, यह कौन सा प्रोफेशनल रवैया है?

इंडियन एक्सप्रेस में आज भी दी हिंदू परिवार में एन. राम के उत्तराधिकार को लेकर मचे घमासान के बारे में कई जानकारियों व तथ्यों का खुलासा किया गया है. एन. राम से संबंधित दो खबरें इंडियन एक्सप्रेस के पहले पन्ने पर प्रकाशित हुई हैं. इन खबरों को हम इंडियन एक्सप्रेस की वेबसाइट से साभार लेकर यहां प्रकाशित कर रहे हैं, साथ में इन खबरों के साथ इंडियन एक्सप्रेस की वेबसाइट में आए कुछ कमेंट्स भी दे रहे हैं ताकि यह समझा जा सके कि पाठक दो मीडिया हाउसों की लड़ाई को किस रूप में ले रहे हैं.   


The Hindu war in the open: Ram strips Murali of powers, he says won’t quit

Archna Shukla

Mar 26, 2010,  New Delhi : Battlelines have been drawn for what could be a protracted dispute among board members of Kasturi & Sons, the publisher of The Hindu and The Hindu Business Line.

Stripped of his powers by publisher and group Editor-in-Chief N Ram, Managing Director and his brother N Murali has hit back saying that he will not quit. And that he would try to “make Ram see reason and retire as Editor-in-Chief as committed by him in September 2009 and ensure a smooth transition.”

Ram, incidentally, has denied that he made such a commitment.

“Some members of the Board of Directors have been trying to systematically undermine and erode my authority and responsibilities and rights and obligations,” Murali wrote in an email to “colleagues” in the company today. “I will not allow that to happen.”

Murali, as The Indian Express reported today, is said to have proposed a retirement age for members of the board — one of the hot-button issues that polarised the board.

The board is split with one faction proposing that all directors retire at 65. Ram turns 65 in May. The other faction is opposed to the proposal.

Murali was blunt in his email: “At the Board meeting on 20th March, some Directors subjected me to utter humiliation and attempted disempowerment. I will resist all attempts to deny me my rights, responsibilities and duties as the Managing Director.”

When contacted by The Indian Express, Murali said his email was in response to a circular sent by Ram to heads of departments announcing a change in his designation and his role.

“The circular was sent announcing my re-designation as senior managing director whereas I am currently the managing director. Along with this, all my powers were substantially and purportedly removed. My post has been given to another board member,” said Murali. “My responsibilities have been farmed out to some other members on the board.”

While Murali declined to name the new appointee, sources said K Balaji, the younger brother of K Venugopal, currently the joint editor of The Hindu Business Line, has been appointed as managing director in place of Murali by the faction supporting Ram.

In an email response to The Indian Express yesterday, Ram had declined to comment on Balaji’s appointment saying it was an “internal” matter of the board of directors.

Meanwhile, some members of the board posted messages on Twitter indicating their stand in the fight. Responding to a message from Ram on his decision to initiate defamatory proceedings, civil and criminal, against The Indian Express and The Financial Express, N Ravi, his younger brother and also a board member, said: “When The Hindu has taken a strong stand against criminal defamation, to use it as a threat to silence journalists does seem strange.”

Another board member Malini Parthasarathy said in her message: “As journalists, why should we be afraid of public scrutiny?”

Besides the proposed retirement age, another bone of contention among the family members is the appointment of two children of two board members in senior editorial positions in the US and Europe.

Sources in the group said the anti-Ram faction raised objections to the manner in which these appointments were made. Ram, in his email response yesterday, maintained “any appointment of a relative of a Director that needed approval by both the Board of Directors and Shareholders before going to the central government was approved unanimously, without a murmur of dissent by any Director or Shareholder.”

Sources in the company, however, said that three shareholders of the company expressed their concerns. They are Murali’s children Kanta and Krishna and Ravi’s daughter Aparna.

In fact, in a strongly worded letter to board members, all three of them questioned the manner in which family members were appointed. They wrote: “It is essential that the Board considers issues of corporate governance and the appointment of family members seriously. To point out the obvious, the business cannot accommodate every member of the family, particularly when there are no institutional mechanisms in place to prevent the receipt of unjustifiably large entitlements over a long period of time. Each of us, whether in the previous, current or next generation, has received and continues to receive tremendous benefits from Kasturi and Sons, which far outweigh those received by non-family employees. It is high time that we recognize that our privileges are derived primarily from the contributions and loyalty of over 3500 non-family employees. Each one of us has, in some way or the other, abused their loyalty, trust and contribution.

“The inequitable and arbitrary system that currently exists is not only unfair to non-family employees but to shareholders as a class as well. If there is ever any intention of instituting sound and modern corporate governance practices and discontinuing the feudal system that exists, then issues such as the ones we have raised need to be addressed squarely, honestly and without fear or favour.”

इस खबर पर अब तक आए कमेंट्स इस प्रकार हैं….

Badrinath : It is very disheartening to know that a reputed media group is under trouble. The Hindu should set an example to transperancy to which it has stood for all along and set an example of good corporate governance. In best interest of the pillar of democracy Ram should shed his responsibilities as Editor-In-Chief irrespective of such an ssurance was given or not. Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion.

insiders : When Ram grooms his own dynasty in his backyard “the hindu” why would he speak aginst Karunanidhis growing dynasty in Tamilnadu. Instead of criticising it he was heaping praise Karunanidhi family for the past years. In this way he completely muddied the credibility which “The Hindu” was enjoying among readers. Now all readers would conclude the reason. Moreover Ram’s daughter is a jounalistic beginner with no experience of proper interpretations and opinionising. What is the legitimate argument for appointment of her as european correspondent. Can ram justify this filthy imposition of greed on the heads of readers of “The Hindu”???

ajay : I don’t think it is the job of the Indian Express to report on another newspaper’s internal matters.

S.Sridharan : After Ram took over as Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu the reports are rather biased.He seems to be lobbying for the party in power especially in TN,to stay in power.The paper painstakingly nurtured by Kasturi brothers and known for excellent editorial and impartial reports has gone into the hands of self seekers.

Sidharth : It is in the interest of The Hindu newspaper if Mr. Ram quits at the earliest. He has done so much damage to the reputation of the news paper by playing partisan politics -inside and outside the news paper. People who have been supporting The Hindu are now deserting it. It will be very difficult for the news paper group to remain valid if the current spat continues or Mr. Ram continues. Mr. N Ram should start learn the art of truth. Of late his actions are like a perfect schemer.

S.N.Iyer : The HIndu is perhaps the only credible newspaper in India. It will be unfortunate if N.Ram engineers a coup and tries to get rid of those who have built the paper. Although Mr N.Ram doesnt seem to influence editorial policies at present. it will be unfortunate if he is trying to get his own views projected by those whom he is backing in the new set up. MKany Companies in the South hyave gone down over a period of time due the succession problem and I sincerely hope that N.Ram and N.Murali sort out their differences withot affecting the future of their publications.

Indian : N. Ram has fallen and how does he. He has shown in recent past that he would do anything to please the temple bhaat and his family, which is ruling chennai at present. The same N. Ram would lick Ms. Jaya’s feet when she was in power. In short , This Kalyugi Ram would follow whoever is in power, and this behaviour is also seen in his recent power tussle for The Hindu. Anyways, why his Newspaper named “The Hindu”? When all he would do is to try to humiliate Hindus and India over every issue. This Guy is doomed like his Worlds Most Secular pal MFH. May be time for him to shift to Qatar too.

avid follower : The Hindu, in any case, was never a member of the ‘free press’nor a big representative of people’s views.It had never taken cudgels on behalf of citizens and raised its voice against the govt in power,central or state, the rare exception being the Bofors scadal when Arun Shourie( then out of Express) and Chitra helped Ram do the investigative report. I recall attending a two hour lecture by this guy Ram at Rani Seethai Hall in Mount Road, two weeks after Tianenmen Square massacre, calling the entire thing a ‘Western conspiracy ‘ and justifying the Chinese army’s action against its students. He supported CEC Chawla blindly,Dalai Lama is an untouchable,Karunanidhi & family are darlings…Except for sports coverage, columns on music and dance ( and crossword perhaps!),this paper is a rag and could just as well be Xinhua news agency report. I won’t shed half a tear if were to close down.

S.S.Rangan : It is a typical power struggle within the family. That it did not happen all these years in the case of The Hindu was a big surprise. The news that N.Ram – a champion of freedom of expression by journalists – is planning to take Indian Express for defamatory , is hilarious! At 65 Ram should gracefully quit and plan to settle down either in Tibet, a place he visits often to write about the ‘glorious’ developments under CHina or in Qatar, where his bosom pal M.F.H. has settled down. Ram can enjoy his retired life in total peace in either of these two places!

N.Krishnan : The episode shows Ram in his true colours.The so-called projection of him as a very liberal journalist has turned out to be facade. His highly biased and self-opinionated views on various issues, are well known.

a citizen : I can only pity this modern ram who has created a big problem to himself and to his friends. He should have sorted out the internal problems. Now it is open he must cleverly solve the issue.

a citizen : when we go through the details-if they are true- i am sure Mr.Ram is getting into further troubled waters. I think he should immediately forgo his ego and sort out the internal problems in the interest of THE HINDU.

Krishna : This guy N Ram dare to crisize everyone. He always pat his own back by journalistic standard. Now why he is threatning other Journo? Power has changed this Ram as Ravana.


इंडियन एक्सप्रेस में आज छपी दूसरी खबर…

Will sue The Indian Express, The Financial Express: Ram

Mar 26, 2010,  New Delhi : Responding to a report in The Financial Express and The Indian Express today about the battle in The Hindu boardroom, The Hindu, in a statement on its website, said that its Editor-in-Chief N Ram “has decided to launch defamatory proceedings, civil and criminal” against Senior Editor Archna Shukla (the reporter), the Editor-in-Chief, Editors, and Publisher of The Indian Express and The Financial Express responsible for the publication of “highly defamatory material”.

“This relates to news stories published in The Indian Express and The Financial Express… purporting to be reports on Mr Ram’s role and actions in relation to developments within the newspaper group and the company”, the statement said.

The statement quoted Ram as saying that the 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”.

Ram added: “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 Ms Shukla.”

In a statement, The Express Group said today:

“The report, ‘Battle for control breaks out in The Hindu very divided family’, (The Indian Express, The Financial Express, March 25, 2010) is based on information received from multiple and high-level credible sources.

“All facts were verified and cross-checked to the highest standards of accuracy and fairness that The Express Group holds itself to. We believe our report was neither malicious nor defamatory.

“We have great regard for The Hindu as an institution and for its Editor-in-Chief N Ram as a journalist and editor for their commitment to principled journalism.

“We stand by our report and the reporter.”

Here, in full, is the email exchange between Shukla and Ram.

Shukla’s e-mail:

Mr Ram:

This is with regard to reports doing the rounds that there is a sort of power tussle going on at The Hindu. I have gathered the following information and I will appreciate if you could comment on them.

1. I have gathered that in a board meeting in September last year, it was decided among board members that you will step down as editor-in-chief of the group in May this year when you turn 65. Is this correct?

2. I am told that you have decided against stepping down and while some members are supporting your decision, some, including Mr Ravi, Ms Malini Parthasarathy and Mr Murali, are against this decision. Is this correct?

3. Has The Hindu board stipulated a retirement age for board members and also, the editor-in-chief or can one hold these positions for as long as he or she has the support of the board?

4. I am told that you and some other members of the board have decided to divest Mr Murali of his powers and instead make Mr Balaji the MD. What are the reasons behind the removal of Mr Murali?

5. I am told that Mr Murali was opposed to the induction of the children of some of the family members hired at very high salaries and that led to unpleasantness among members and finally, his ouster. Is this correct?

I have to file my story today. I will appreciate if you could respond to this email at your earliest convenience or allow me to call you on your phone.

Ram’s response:

Here are my answers to your five questions. They are on the record:

Answer to Q1: Completely, utterly wrong.

Answer to Q2: No comment because it is at present an internal matter of the Board of Directors of Kasturi & Sons Limited.

Answer to Q3: No retirement age has been stipulated for Directors or the Editor-in-Chief or Editor etc. No retirement age is stipulated in the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Company.

Answer to Q4: No comment for the reason mentioned in the answer to Q2. If any relevant decision is communicated down the line in the Company, you will know.

Answer to Q5: Totally wrong, as the written record will show. Any appointment of a relative of a Director that needed approval by both the Board of Directors and Shareholders before going to the central government was approved unanimously, without a murmur of dissent by any Director or Shareholder.

Every one of the 12 Directors of the Company approved every such appointment. To describe the relevant salaries as “very high” would be laughable; in fact, if the precise numbers were revealed, the salaries or remuneration would be characterised as “rather low.” They are similar to what other foreign correspondents of our newspaper Group get.

Best.

N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The Hindu and Group publications.