गरीबी, बेरोजगारी, स्‍वास्‍थ्‍य जैसी वास्‍तविक खबरें मीडिया से गायब हैं : काटजू

प्रेस काउंसिल ऑफ इंडिया के नवनियुक्‍त चेयरमैन जस्टिस एम काटजू बीते दस अक्‍टूबर को मीडिया से मुलाकात की थी. इस दौरान उन्‍हों ने मीडियाकर्मियों से चौथे खम्‍भे के बारे में ढेर सारी बातें कीं. कई सुझाव दिए, कई बातें रखी, मीडियाकर्मियों की बातें भी सुनीं. जस्टिस काटजू ने पत्रकारों की जिम्‍मेदारी पर भी काफी कुछ सुझाव दिए, विचार रखे. इन्‍हीं सुझावों-विचारों को ‘द हिंदू’ ने अपने यहां प्रकाशित किया है.

उसी से साभार लेकर जस्टिस काटजू का वक्‍तव्‍य यहां प्रकाशित किया जा रहा है.

Justice Katju interacts with mediapersons

Friends,

I wish to thank you all for accepting my invitation for this get together and for coming here.

As you know, I have only recently become the Chairman of the Press Council of India. It is a new job for me as I was earlier in the legal world for 40 years, 20 years as a lawyer and 20 years as a Judge.

Now, that I have come into your world I need your guidance, advice and suggestions so that I may be able to perform my duties properly.

I have arranged this get together of media people because I think that the time has now come in this country when some introspection is required by the media. Many people, not only those in authority but even ordinary people, have started saying that the media has become irresponsible, wayward and needs to be reined in.

Only a couple of days back I read in the newspapers that the Union Government has issued some regulations regarding licences for news channels, about which there was a lot of reaction.

Under the Constitution of India freedom of the media is part of the freedom of speech guaranteed by Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution. However, no freedom can be absolute, and reasonable restrictions can be placed on them. One of the basic tasks of the media is to provide truthful and objective information to the people which will enable them to form rational opinions, which is a sine qua non in a democracy. But is the Indian media performing this role properly?

I may only mention certain defects in the functioning of the Indian media today:

(i)The media often twist facts. In this connection, I would like to give an example.

I sat for several months with Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Gyan Sudha Misra in a Bench of the Supreme Court. One day, a leading English newspaper of the country published on its front page a photograph of Hon’ble Justice Misra with the caption “Supreme Court Judge says that her daughters are liabilities”.

This was a totally distorted and fallacious news and that too published in the front page of a leading English newspaper.

The correct facts were that Supreme Court Judges have to disclose their assets and liabilities. Against the liabilities column Justice Misra wrote ‘two daughters to be married’. Strictly speaking it was not necessary to mention this because liabilities means legal liabilities e.g. housing loan, car loan, etc. However, the intention of Justice Misra was obviously to say that she had to spend a lot of money in her daughters’ future marriage. She has three daughters (no son) only one of whom has been married and two are yet to be married. Justice Misra never said nor intended to say that her daughters were liabilities, and the news published was totally false and defamatory with the obvious intention of creating a sensation.

This publication was of tremendous embarrassment and grief not only to Justice Misra but also to members of her family. Did the publisher of this news items ever think how much pain and embarrassment it would cause to Justice Misra and her family? Obviously not. All that the publisher of that news sought was to create a sensation by twisting the correct facts.

Even if Justice Misra had made a mistake in writing “ two daughters to be married” against the column of liabilities, should the media have cashed in on this mistake and totally distorted it without realizing how much pain it was causing to some people? I ask the media people assembled here today to themselves introspect and seek the answer.

(ii)The issue of paid news has become prominent of late. In the 2009 elections, it was a scandal. How to stop this vicious practice needs to be discussed among us. Incidentally, in compliance with the order of the Chief Information Commissioner dated 19.9.2011, we have placed the 71-page report of the Committee consisting of Shri Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Mr. Sreenivas Reddy on our website www.presscouncil.nic.in with the disclaimer that the Press Council had rejected this report in its meeting held on 26.4.2010.

(iii)The media often portrays non issues as real issues while the real issues are sidelined. The real issues in the country are economic, that is the terrible economic conditions in which 80% of our people are living, the poverty, unemployment, lack of housing and medical care etc. Instead of addressing these real issues, the media often tries to divert the attention of the people to non-issues, such as that the wife of a film actor has become pregnant, whether that lady will give birth to a single child or to twins etc. Are these the real issues facing the nation?

In the Lakme India Fashion Week event, there were 512 accredited journalists covering the event in which models were displaying cotton garments, while the men and women who grew that cotton were killing themselves at a distance of an hour’s flight from Nagpur in the Vidharbha region. Nobody told that story except one or two journalists, locally.

Is this a responsible way for the Indian media to function? Should the media turn a Nelson’s eye to the harsh economic realities facing over 75 per cent of our people, and concentrate on some ‘Potemkin villages’ where all is glamour and show biz? Are not the Indian media behaving much like Queen Marie Antoinette, who said that if the people had no bread, they should eat cake.

No doubt, sometimes the media mentions farmers’ suicides, the rise in the price of essential commodities, and so on, but such coverage is at most 5 to 10 per cent of the total. The bulk of the coverage goes to showing the life of film stars, pop music, fashion parades, cricket and astrology.

(iv)Bomb blasts have taken place near the Delhi High Court, in Bombay, Bangalore etc. Within a few hours of such bomb blasts many T V channels started showing news item that Indian Mujahidin or Jaish-e-Mohammed or Harkatul-jihad-e-islam have sent e-mails or SMS claiming responsibility. The names of such alleged organizations will always be Muslim names. Now an e-mail can be sent by any mischievous person, but by showing this on TV channels and next day in the newspapers the tendency is to brand all Muslims in the country as terrorists and bomb throwers.

The truth is that 99% people of all communities, whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Sikh and of whatever caste or region are good. But the manner in which such news is shown on TV screens and published in the newspapers tend to create the impression that all Muslims are terrorists, and evil, which is totally false. The person who sends such e-mails or SMS obviously wants to create hatred between Hindu and Muslims, which is the old British divide and rule policy continuing even today. Should the media, wittingly or unwittingly, become part of this policy of divide and rule?

I have only referred to some of the defects in the Indian media. No doubt there are defects not only in the media but in other institutions also e.g. the judiciary, bureaucracy etc. but all of us must try to remove these defects.

There are two ways of removing these defects in the media. One is the democratic way, that is by discussions, consultations and persuasion, which is the method I prefer. The other way is by using harsh measures against the media e.g. by imposing heavy fines on the defaulters, stopping Government advertisements for them, suspending their licence etc.

In my opinion, in a democracy, we should first try the first method for rectifying the defects, namely the democratic method. It is for this purpose that I have decided to have regular get togethers with the media, including the electronic media, so that we can all introspect and ourselves find out ways and means of rectifying the defects in the media, rather than this being done by some government authority or external agency.

For this purpose, I propose to have such get togethers, like the one as we are having today, every two or three months, in which we will discuss issues relating to the media and try to think how we can improve the performance of the media so that it may win the respect and confidence of the people of the country.

Such meetings will not be formal meetings of the Press Council of India but only informal get togethers. No doubt, the electronic media is not under the Press Council of India Act, but surely there is nothing wrong in discussing matters relating to media with them also. After all, the ultimate purpose of the print media and the electronic media is the same, and journalistic ethics apply to both.

No doubt, if the media proves incorrigible, harsh measures may be required, but in my opinion that should be resorted to only as a last resort and in extreme situations. Ordinarily, we should first try to resolve the issues by discussion, consultation and self-regulation. That is the approach which should be ordinarily first tried in a democracy. I, therefore, respectfully request the Union Government to kindly defer implementation of its recent decision regarding the news channel license, so that we can ourselves discuss the issue thoroughly and ourselves take corrective measures in this connection.

Till now the function of the Press Council was only adjudication. I intend to make the Press Council an instrument of mediation in addition, which is in my opinion the democratic approach. For this purpose, I need the help and co-operation and advice of all of you.

Presently, India is passing through a transitional period in its history, the transition being from feudal agricultural society to modern industrial society. This is a very painful and agonizing period in history. If you have read the history of Europe from the 16{+t}{+h} to the 19{+t}{+h} Centuries, which was the transitional period there, you will find that this period was accompanied by tremendous turbulence, turmoil, wars, revolutions, social churning, chaos, intellectual ferment etc. It was only after going through this fire that modern society emerged in Europe. Presently, India is going through this fire. We are going through a very painful period in our history, which I think will last for another 20 years or so before modern industrial society emerges in India.

The media too must help society in going through this transitional period as quickly as possible, and by reducing the pain. This, it can do by attacking feudal ideas e.g. casteism and communalism and promoting modern scientific ideas.

Before I conclude, I once again repeat my appeal to the Indian Government through the Prime Minister to release Dr. Khalil Chisty who is in Ajmer Jail. He is 80 years old and has not very long to live. He was an eminent virologist in Karachi Medical College and was a Ph.D from Edinburgh University. He is a heart patient and has many other ailments also. He is unable to walk. In the name of humanity I appeal to the Indian Government to release him and allow him to get back to home in Karachi to his wife and daughter who live there. The Pakistan Government honoured my appeal and released Gopal Das from a Pakistani Jail. I am sad that the Indian Government has not yet honoured my appeal made several months ago to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, the Hon’ble Home Minister, and His Excellency the Governor of Rajasthan. In my opinion, the prestige of our country will be increased if Dr. Chisty is released, whereas if he dies in jail, we will be disgraced.

I now wish all of you to give your views. Courtesy : The Hindu

सिद्धार्थ वरदराजन ने संभाला द हिंदू के एडिटर का दायित्‍व

एन रवि, मालिनी पार्थसारथी एवं निर्मला लक्ष्‍मण के संपादकीय विभाग से इस्‍तीफे के बीच सिद्धार्थ वरदराजन ने द हिंदू के नए एडिटर का पद सभाल लिया है. तीनों लोगों ने वरदराजन को संपादक बनाए जाने के फैसले के विरोध में ही अपना इस्‍तीफा दिया था. बोर्ड ने बहुमत के आधार पर सिद्धार्थ वरदराजन को द हिंदू का नया एडिटर बनाया है. फिलहाल वे दिल्‍ली में स्‍ट्रेटैजिक एडिटर थे.

सिद्धार्थ ने अपने जर्नलिस्टिक कॅरियर की शुरुआत 1995 में टाइम्स ऑफ इंडिया अखबार के साथ की थी. सन 2004 में वे टीओआई से इस्‍तीफा देकर द हिंदू पहुंचे. यहां उन्‍हें डिप्‍टी एडिटर बनाया गया. फिलहाल वे एडिटर के रूप में स्ट्रेटेजिक अफेयर्स की जिम्मेदारी निभा रहे थे. लंदन स्कूल ऑफ इकनॉमिक्स और कोलंबिया यूनिवर्सिटी से शिक्षित सिद्धार्थ ने कुछ समय तक न्यूयार्क यूनिवर्सिटी में पढ़ाने का काम भी किया. उसके बाद टाइम्स ऑफ इंडिया से जुड़कर पत्रकार बन गए. वे अब भी कैलिफोर्निया यूनिवर्सिटी के जर्नलिज्‍म डिपार्टमेंट में विजिटिंग प्रोफेसर हैं.

इंटरनेशनल अफेयर्स के जानकार सिद्धार्थ उस समय खासे चर्चा में आए थे जब उनकी गुजरात दंगों पर आधारित पुस्‍तक ‘गुजरात : द मेकिंग ऑफ ए ट्रेजडी’ बाजार में आई थी. 2005 में युनाइटेड नेशन्‍स करेस्‍पांडेंट एसोसिएन ने इन्‍हें एलिजाबेथ न्‍यूफर मेमोरी प्राइज के सिल्‍वर मेडल से नवाजा था. 2010 में सिद्धार्थ को जर्नलिस्‍ट ऑफ द ईयर (प्रिंट) का रामनाथ गोयनका अवार्ड प्रदान किया गया था. सिद्धार्थ को नाटो वार कवर करने का भी गौरव हासिल है.

इस्‍तीफा देने के अलावा और कोई दूसरा रास्‍ता नहीं था : एन रवि

द हिंदू के संपादक एन रवि ने इस्‍तीफा देने के बाद सहयोगियों का आभार जताते हुए कहा है कि सिद्धार्थ वरदराजन के संपादक बनने के बाद मेरे पास संपादक के पद से इस्‍तीफा देने के अलावा और कोई दूसरा रास्‍ता नहीं था. उन्‍होंने अपने सहयोगियों का आभार जताते हुए उनके कार्यकाल में हिंदू को दूसरे नम्‍बर का अंग्रेजी अखबार बनाने पर धन्‍यवाद दिया है.

एन रवि ने कहा है कि वे भले ही एडिटर पद से इस्‍तीफा दे रहे हैं परन्‍तु वे आजीवन डाइरेक्‍टर के पद पर बने रहेंगे. एन रवि द्वारा सहयोगियों को लिखा गया पत्र नीचे.  


Dear colleagues

I write this letter with a deep sense of distress over the unsavoury happenings in the company that we and generations before us have nurtured with great care and dedication.

You are all aware that I have been working in a professional capacity in The Hindu since 1972. The period when I was in charge as Editor between 1991 and 2003 saw the unprecedented expansion in the reach and coverage of The Hindu, and its transformation into a truly national newspaper that engaged in a lively and interesting way with the issues of the day.

The Hindu was then occupying the second position among the English language newspapers in terms of circulation.  The primacy of the editorial side was firmly established, fair coverage and diversity of opinions were ensured and the newspaper stood up to the pressures from governments as well.

It was also a period when people went about their work with total commitment and dedication with little inclination for boardroom politicking.  A fair degree of harmony was established among family members in 2000 which, however, lasted only until 2003.

Recent events have shown that deceit, lack of probity and bad faith have come into the dealings among family members on the board with a clique being formed through exchange of unmerited favours.

The turn of events since September 2009, and particularly since February 2010, have been marked by reneging on commitments made and agreements reached, benefiting from favours but not honouring reciprocal obligations and the vindictive removal of responsibilities from some and handing them to inexperienced and unsuitable family members to humour them and shore up support for a clique.

After having sworn by tradition and continuity for so long, to suddenly seek to remove highly qualified shareholder family members from the posts they have been holding for decades reeks of vindictiveness and the pursuit of colourable personal agendas.

A combination of megalomania and a crass disregard of the values that The Hindu has always stood for has brought the institution to this sorry state. It is shocking that some of the board members should want to run a media institution like a company producing plastic buckets with purely commercial considerations and unethical practices overwhelming editorial interests and values, thereby damaging the credibility of the newspaper.

The whole exercise of removal from posts on the editorial side is sought to be carried out in the guise of professionalisation as if the family shareholders holding positions on the editorial side are not in themselves qualified professionals.

Also, any claim of professionalisation is a sham as the separation of ownership from management is being applied selectively to some shareholders even as some other shareholders including wholly unqualified persons are being allowed to continue in high positions.

Ironically, the board clique that now speaks of professionalisation has been resisting suggestions to frame norms for the selection of family members to different posts and has been continuing to distribute responsibilities as largesses arbitrarily and without regard to qualifications.

The same arbitrary, non-professional procedure was followed even in the case of the appointment of Siddharth Varadarajan: his name was announced for the first time at a board meeting and passed without any discussion in a few minutes.

There were no selection procedures or prior consultation or evaluation of candidates that are normally followed in any well run company. In other words, the start of the so called professionalisation process has itself been carried out in a wholly arbitrary, non-professional way.

You are all aware that the board clique that removed the responsibilities of N. Murali was indicted by the Company Law Board in CP 25 of 2010 as lacking in probity and good faith. The same lack of probity and good faith is on display now in dealing with the reorganization of the editorial side and the actions of the board clique have been challenged in a company petition.

While the SLP before the Supreme Court stands disposed of without a stay but with directions for expedited hearing, the company petition is still pending before the CLB.

In the circumstances, the unseemly hurry in pushing through the appointment of Siddharth Varadarajan as Editor has made my continuance as Editor untenable. I hereby resign as Editor of The Hindu to which post I was designated in 1991.  However, I will continue as a wholetime director.

Sincerely,

N. Ravi

आहत होकर अखबार से इस्‍तीफा दे रही हूं : मालिनी

: अपने सहयोगियों को लिख पत्र : द हिंदू की एक्‍जीक्‍यूटिव एडिटर मालिनी पार्थसारथी ने अपने पद से इस्‍तीफा देने के बाद अपने सहयोगियों को पत्र लिखा है. जिसमें उन्‍होंने अपने इस्‍तीफा देने के कारणों का विस्‍तार से खुलासा किया है. उन्‍होंने कहा है कि ये पत्र वो काफी आहत होकर तथा वेदना के साथ लिख रही हैं.

उन्‍होंने कहा है कि पिछले 28 सालों में इस अखबार की इमानदारी से सेवा की. पूरे विश्‍वास और कमिटमेंट के साथ इस अखबार से जुड़ी रही परन्‍तु आज विषम परिस्थितियों में मुझे अखबार से इस्‍तीफा देना पड़ रहा है यह मेरे लिए बहुत दुखद घड़ी है. नीचे मालिनी पार्थसारथी द्वारा अपने सहयोगियों को लिखा गया पत्र. 


Dear Colleagues,

I am writing this letter with a strong sense of hurt and anguish.

I have served this newspaper for the last 28 years with great earnestness, faith and a real sense of commitment in various capacities, starting as a staff reporter in Madras, and despite tremendous resistance from vested interests in the establishment, strong family and gender prejudice, have managed to make a substantive contribution to this newspaper’s glorious editorial heritage and reputation.

I was proud, as a granddaughter of Kasturi Srinivasan, a great Editor of The Hindu, to have risen through the editorial ranks and established a strong presence in the public arena even as I worked tirelessly to help build on the Hindu’s primary strengths—its editorial integrity and its commitment to journalism in its real sense, telling the news story as it really unfolds, without fear or favour.

In 2003, the strong family jealousies and prejudice intervened to pull away all my editorial responsibilities reflecting in an extremely personal and vindictive hate campaign, tarnishing my reputation, making me out to be ‘extra-constitutional#’ a ‘usurper’ despite my more than two decades of editorial service, my academic qualifications and ground experience and despite the fact that I was an editorial functionary appointed by the Board of Directors.

Battling this tremendously debilitating hate campaign spearheaded by the present editor-in-chief, N. Ram and a cabal which tried every trick in the book to discredit my work for The Hindu, caricaturing me, making stinging references to my past personal difficulties, I still tried to make a contribution these last eight years to the editorial structure.

I spent all my evenings in the newsroom, tried to make constructive interventions only to be overruled and ridiculed in public. Although the daily humiliations were unbearable, I endured all this with the faith in this Board, that ultimately fairness and justice would prevail.

I did believe that this Board believed in equality of opportunity and it would recognise the work I had done for The Hindu but this was clearly not to be.

In bringing in Siddharth Varadarajan, an outsider with no familiarity with the Hindu’s rich editorial inheritance and no particular institutional loyalty, in the guise of ‘professionalising and contemporising’, what is sought to be done is to eliminate qualified successors from the family.

I deeply regret that my legitimate professional aspirations, especially as I had no hidden personal agenda nor any other stake in The Hindu were so belittled and so rudely rebuffed.

I am also deeply worried for the future of the newspaper given the scheme that is being contemplated by a group of directors who want to reduce the role of the Editor to another functionary in the company, sitting along with business side executives, treating the editorial operations as another branch of the corporate banyan tree.

By no  means is this contemporising or professionalising editorial operations. This is only legitimizing the incursions of personal agendas into editorial operations. While being market-friendly is certainly necessary, succumbing to a range of dangerous personal agendas including gross self-promotion is not in the interest of this great newspaper.

I am resigning from the post of executive editor since my continuance has become untenable with the Board seeking to humiliate me by putting a junior professional like Siddharth Varadarajan over me as editor.

I, however, remain a wholetime director of the company.

Sincerely

Malini Parthasarathy

द हिंदू से एन रवि, मालिनी पार्थसारथी एवं निर्मला लक्ष्‍मण का इस्‍तीफा

द हिंदू में वरदराजन को संपादक बनाए जाने का विवाद और ज्‍यादा गहरा गया है. सुप्रीम कोर्ट द्वारा कंपनी ला बोर्ड को इस मामले पर डे बाई डे सुनवाई के आदेश के बाद संपादक एन रवि, एक्‍जीक्‍यूटिव एडिटर मालिनी पार्थसारथी और ज्‍वाइंट एडिटर निर्मला लक्ष्‍मण ने इस्‍तीफा दे दिया है. ये इस्‍तीफा वरदराजन के संपादक बनाए जाने के विरोध में दिया गया है.

कस्‍तूरी एंड संस लिमिटेड (केएसएल) की बोर्ड मीटिंग में तीनों लोगों ने अपना इस्‍तीफा सौंप दिया. हालांकि तीनों लोग केएसएल के आजीवन डाइरेक्‍टर बने रहेंगे. इस साल की शुरुआत में केएसल बोर्ड की मीटिंग में एन रवि, पार्थसारथी एवं केएसएल के सीनियर मैनेजिंग डाइरेक्‍टर एन मुरली ने वरदराजन के संपादक बनाए जाने समेत कई मुद्दों पर एडिटर इन चीफ एन राम का विरोध किया था.

इसके बाद परिवार के कुछ सदस्‍य कंपनी ला बोर्ड चले गए थे. सीएलबी के आदेश को मद्रास हाई कोर्ट के बाद सुप्रीम कोर्ट में चुनौती दी गई थी. जिसके बाद सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने सीएलबी को आदेश दिया कि सीएलबी इस मामले की सुनवाई डे बाई डे करे.

राडिया वाले एक पत्रकार ने माना कि उसका आचरण बड़ा बेईमान है

लोक लेखा समिति (पीएसी) की रिपोर्ट के हवाले से द हिंदू अखबार में एक खबर प्रकाशित हुई है. Scribe admits ‘unprofessional’ work शीर्षक से. J. Balaji लिखित इस खबर में बताया गया है कि राडिया से बातचीत करके फंसे दिग्गज पत्रकारों में से एक ने समिति के आगे स्वीकार किया कि राडिया से बातचीत में जो आचरण था, वह पत्रकारीय नैतिकता के लिहाज से कतई ईमानदार नहीं था. उस पत्रकार ने स्वीकार किया कि उसका आचरण बिलकुल अनप्रोफेशनल था.

द हिंदू में प्रकाशित खबर में यह कहीं नहीं लिखा गया है कि पत्रकार का नाम क्या है, लेकिन हम लोग यहां अंदाजा जरूर लगा सकते हैं कि वो पत्रकार कौन था. ये है संक्षिप्त लिस्ट राडिया से बातचीत करने वालों पत्रकार के नाम की…. Barkha Dutt (NDTV), Vir Sanghvi (Hindustan Times), Prabhu Chawla (then India Today), K. Venugopal (Hindu Business Line), Rahul Joshi (Economic Times), M.K. Venu (then Economic Times), Jaideep Bose (The Times of India), Surajeet Das Gupta (Business Standard), G. Ganapathy Subramaniam (Economic Times), Navika Kumar (Times Now), Jehangir Pocha (NewsX), V. Shankkar Aiyar (then India Today)….

आइए, अब द हिंदू में प्रकाशित खबर पढ़ते हैं-

Scribe admits ‘unprofessional’ work

J. Balaji, NEW DELHI, April 28, 2011

A senior journalist, who was recently caught in the Radia tapes lobbying along with some other journalists for some important persons vis-à-vis 2G spectrum controversy, admitted what they did was “utterly unprofessional.”

The draft report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which went into the spectrum allocation deal, claimed under the heading “role of media and whistleblowers”: “When the committee sought the response of a senior journalist about these taped conversations, he candidly deposed that what they [journalists] did was utterly unprofessional. He conceded that journalists do speak to various sources as it is their job to fathom out and reveal the truth but they ought not to get involved in lobbying for anyone and certainly the taped conversations show that they transgressed the line of propriety – the ‘Lakshman Rekha.’”

The report went on to state that, more so, senior journalists as they were, they knew when they made such a transgression. The committee believed that no journalist who valued self-reputation, credibility and treasured the freedom of the media would ever indulge in an act incompatible with the professional norms of journalistic conduct.

The PAC appreciated the “exemplary professional job” done by some journalists, including those belonging to a news magazine, for exposing the 2G spectrum allocation irregularities.

The committee also congratulated the whistleblowers for their role and recommended that “being the willing and selfless benefactors of the nation, the whistleblowers be extended appropriate and effective statutory protection from harassment, intimidation, demotion, physical or financial harm etc as an integral part of the multi-pronged strategy to bring greater transparency and probity in the conduct of public affairs.”

अब प्रोफेशनल संपादक संभालेगा ‘द हिंदू बिजनेस लाइन’ की बागडोर, तलाश शुरू

हिंदू ग्रुप के बिजनेस अखबार ‘द हिंदू बिजनेस लाइन’ का संपादक अब इस परिवार का सदस्‍य नहीं होगा. इसके लिए अब बाहर से प्रोफेशनल संपादक की तलाश की जाएगी. अगले तीन महीने के अंदर इस बिजनेस अखबार लिए नए संपादक की खोज कर ली जाएगी.  यह निर्णय द हिंदू के बोर्ड ऑफ डाइरेक्‍टर की म‍ीटिंग में लिया गया. इसके लिए अखबार को भी रिस्‍ट्रक्‍चरिंग किया जा रहा है.

132 साल पुराने इस न्‍यूज पेपर के लिए नये तथा प्रोफेशनल संपादकों की तलाश शुरू कर दी गई है. इस अखबार में मैनेजमेंट और एडिटोरियल को भी रिस्‍ट्रचरिंग करने का काम शुरू हो गया है. इस काम को अंजाम देने का जिम्‍मा सौंपा गया है ग्‍लोबल कंसलटेंसी फर्म मैकीन्‍से को. इसका कोड नाम रखा गया है ‘प्रोजेक्‍ट कामधेनु’.

अब इस अखबार के लिए बाहर से एक बड़े नाम की तलाश शुरू हो गई है. परन्‍तु बताया जा रहा है कि फिलहाल अखबार से जुड़े कुछ नाम भी संपादक बनने की दौड़ में शामिल हैं. जिन नामों को लेकर सबसे ज्‍यादा चर्चा है उनमें संपथ कुमार और बिजनेस लाइन के एसोसिएट एडिटर श्रीनिवास राघवन का नाम भी शामिल है.

‘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

Blocking out bloggers

The blocking of a blogging website, even if only for a short period, raises the disturbing question of curbs imposed on free speech in India through executive fiat. There is a clear pattern of Internet censorship that is inconsistent with constitutional guarantees on freedom of expression. It is also at odds with citizen aspirations in the age of new media.

What is worrying is that the rules governing online publication are being tinkered with periodically to facilitate such filtering. This is done under the Information Technology Act, 2000. The Department of Information Technology recently published the draft Information Technology (Due diligence observed by intermediaries guidelines) Rules, 2011 that specifically mark bloggers for scrutiny, and require intermediaries such as service providers not to themselves host or publish any information.

Evidently, this can be interpreted to cover blogs and other websites. What is worse, the rules propose to authorise the intermediaries to remove access to ‘infringing’ material if they themselves have actual knowledge or are asked to do so by a mandated authority. These are retrogressive provisions that weaken constitutional freedoms and the parent law. As it stands, the IT Act merely requires the intermediary to exercise due diligence and does not talk of not hosting or publishing information. Ideally, the only criterion online publications should have to meet is compliance with the general laws of the land.

The emergence of the WikiLeaks phenomenon and the use of online tools in North Africa and West Asia to inform and organise people underscore the power of citizen publishing. This is a new reality governments must learn to live with. Conflicts are bound to arise if the rules for online publication are modified specifically to prevent such publication. For instance, draft rule 3(2)(a) for intermediaries requires the user not to publish or display information that belongs to another person.

Potentially, secret documents ferreted out by investigative journalists or whistleblowers in the public interest may be interpreted to belong to a third party — and blocked from the public domain. It is inconceivable that such a restriction could be applied to traditional media, which have a robust record of exposing corruption in high places. What all this makes clear is the need for wide public debate on any move to impose restrictions on online publishing. It is unacceptable that access to some websites is blocked through executive orders issued by technical bodies such as the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, with no explanation on why such action was taken.

((द हिंदू में प्रकाशित संपादकीय))

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.

इंडियन एक्सप्रेस पर मुकदमा ठोकेंगे एन. राम

इंडियन एक्सप्रेस में 'द हिंदू' के बारे में प्रकाशित खबरअंग्रेजी के दो बड़े अखबारों ‘इंडियन एक्सप्रेस’ और ‘द हिंदू’ में आपस में ही भिड़ंत हो गई है. ‘द हिंदू’ को संचालित करने वाली कंपनी ‘कस्तूरी एंड संस लिमिटेड’ में पब्लिशर और ग्रुप एडिटर इन चीफ एन. राम के रिटायर होने के बाद उनकी जगह लेने के लिए अंदरखाने मची उथल-पुथल से संबंधित खबर प्रकाशित करने वाले एक्सप्रेस समूह के दो अखबारों ‘द इंडियन एक्सप्रेस’ और ‘फाइनेंसियल एक्सप्रेस’ पर एन. राम ने मानहानि का मुकदमा ठोंकने का फैसला किया है. एन. राम के इस निर्णय के बारे में एक खबर द हिंदू की आफिसियल वेबसाइट पर रिलीज कर दी गई है.

इस खबर के मुताबिक कस्तूरी एंड संस लिमिटेड में उठापटक की खबर लिखने वाली इंडियन एक्सप्रेस की सीनियर एडिटर अर्चना शुक्ला समेत एक्सप्रेस समूह के सभी बड़े पदों पर काबिज लोगों के खिलाफ मुकदमा किया जाएगा. चेन्नई से जारी अपने एक लिखित वक्तव्य में एन. राम ने कहा है- “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 Ms Shukla.”

द हिंदू की आधिकारिक वेबसाइट पर इस संबंध में प्रकाशित पूरी खबर यूं है-


N. Ram to sue Indian Express and Financial Express writer, Editor-in-Chief, and Publisher for defamation

N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu and Group publications and Director of Kasturi & Sons Limited, has decided to launch 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 “highly defamatory material.” This relates to news stories published in The Indian Express and The Financial Express of March 25, 2010 purporting to be reports on Mr. Ram’s role and actions in relation to developments within the newspaper group and the company.

“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,” Mr. Ram said in a statement issued in Chennai today. “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.”

‘द हिंदू’ में घमासान, कौन होगा नया एन. राम!

एन. राम
एन. राम
पब्लिशर व ग्रुप एडिटर इन चीफ के रिटायर होने की संभावना देख उनकी कुर्सी के लिए परिजनों में जंग : इंडियन एक्सप्रेस में आज प्रकाशित खबर से देश के सर्वाधिक पुराने व सर्वाधिक प्रतिष्ठित अखबारों में से एक ‘द हिंदू’ को संचालित करने वाली कंपनी ”कस्तूरी एंड संस लिमिटेड” के कर्ताधर्ताओं में अखबार पर नियंत्रण को लेकर ‘महाभारत’ होने की जानकारी मिली है. अंग्रेजी दैनिक ‘द हिंदू’ व अंग्रेजी बिजनेस डेली ‘द हिंदू बिजनेस लाइन’ के पब्लिशर व ग्रुप एडिटर इन चीफ एन. राम अपनी बढ़ती उम्र के कारण रिटायर होने वाले हैं. यह संभावना देख उनके परिजन एन. राम की कुर्सी हथियाने के लिए दांव-पेंच चल रहे हैं. पूरी स्टोरी ये है…

Battle for control breaks out in ”The Hindu” very divided family

Archna Shukla

New Delhi : A bitter battle has broken out among family members for control of one of the country’s oldest and most respected media companies, Kasturi & Sons Ltd, the publisher of the 132-year-old English newspaper The Hindu and business daily The Hindu Business Line.

At the heart of this battle is the proposed retirement of publisher and the group Editor-in-Chief N Ram and his decision to dig his heels in.

The first casualty in the battle is N Murali, Ram’s younger brother and the company’s managing director. He was divested of his powers this week and replaced with K Balaji, a member of the extended family and also a board member. According to people close to the developments, the board is split, one group supporting Ram and the other seeking his retirement.

The sources claimed that at a meeting held last September, Murali, who also looked after administrative processes at the company, proposed governance norms for retirement of family members on the board.

“While the retirement age for all employees at Kasturi is 60 years, there was no such stipulation for board members. It was proposed by Murali that 65 years be set as the retirement age for board members,” said the sources.

The Kasturi board of directors has 12 members, descending from four cousins — G Narasimhan (father of N Ram, N Ravi, N Murali); S Parthasarathy (father of Malini Parthasarathy, Nirmala Lakshman and Nalini Krishnan); S Rangarajan (father of Ramesh Rangarajan, Vijaya Arun and Akila Iyengar) and G Kasturi (father of K Balaji, K Venugopal and Lakshmi Srinath).

According to the faction opposed to Ram, all members at the meeting agreed to the proposal and Ram, who turns 65 this May, was identified as the first member to step down from the board followed by Murali and N Ravi, who will turn 65 in August 2011 and 2013 respectively.

It was also decided, these sources said, that after Ram’s retirement, Ravi would take over as Editor-in-Chief of the group while Malini Parthasarathy would be appointed the editor of The Hindu and Venugopal the editor of The Hindu Business Line.

In a follow-up meeting held in February, however, Ram is said to have declined to give up the positions he holds across the company, including the board membership, the sources said.

However, in an email response, Ram said: “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.”

On whether he had agreed to give up all positions in May this year, he said that was “completely, utterly wrong.”

Prior to the meeting in February, Ram is said to have recruited two family members in the company: Narayan Lakshman, son of Nirmala Lakshman; and Vidya Ram, his daughter.

A PhD from London School of Economics, Narayan was hired as the Washington correspondent of The Hindu whereas Vidya, a graduate from the Columbia School of Journalism, was appointed the European correspondent of The Hindu Business Line.

This was strongly objected to by Murali, Ravi and Malini Parthasarthy, among other members, who alleged that these appointments were made without the board’s consent and proper governance norms were not adhered to.

They also pointed out several alleged financial irregularities in the way in which Kasturi’s resources, financial as well as editorial, were used to further the interests of some board members.

The family members had another stormy meeting on March 20 where the issue of retirement and, also, the norms for induction of family members on the board were supposed to be discussed. “Instead of these issues, the pro-Ram faction targeted Murali alleging he was trying to tarnish the image of the company,” a source said.

Murali was eventually removed from the position of the MD. A formal announcement to this effect, however, has not been made as yet.

Meanwhile, Ram declined to comment on whether the board had decided to divest Murali of his powers saying it was an internal matter of the company.

On allegations of irregularities in appointments of family members, he said: “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.” (साभार : दी इंडियन एक्सप्रेस)