June 12, 2021
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Paid News & The Hindu Divided Family

Paid News & The Hindu Divided Family

The letter from Mr N. Ravi, Editor, on the recent happenings in The Hindu is best read in the context of this old blog-post. While most of it is about internal family politics about editorial control of the newspaper, the following paragraph has got many tongues wagging:

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.

A sample tweet:

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