Amid all the internecine strife over who in the family will (or won’t) get to occupy the editorial gaddi, the 12-member board of directors of The Hindu have managed to adopt a code of editorial values, although Mail Today reports that the new nine-point code has not been unanimously adopted by the board.
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.
Also read: Indian Express vs The Hindu; N. Ram vs N. Ravi
Now it’s Malini Parthasarathy vs ‘The Stalinists’
‘N. Ram is stalling Malini Parthasarathy‘s ascent’
Express declares ceasefire, brothers declare war
Eight years ago it was a 3000 word sermon that was published as the greatest moral compass after ten commandments. Yesterday, thank fully, it was much shorter. Despite the occasional sermons to itself, and gimmicks like appointing a readers editor, the troubles refuses to leave The Hindu.
All of this is old hat; everyone knows the normative values that drive a free press. I want to see The Hindu’s code of conduct instead. I want to see how the board can defend editors who are unabashed apologists for Communism.
It’s hard to mentally reconcile the above with N. Ravi’s accusation *. (
* The Hindu family feud gets ugly, editor N Ravi thrown out – http://tehelka.com/story_main49.asp?filename=Ws210411JOURNALISM.asp ).
What is the real problem with The Hindu?
1. ‘The Hindu’ is traditional news paper catering mainly to middle class Hindu readers.
2. Kasturi Parivar, its owner, is a highly respected family of Tamil Iyengars.
4. Until 1990s, ‘The Hindu’ had been a sober, pro-establishment, conservative news paper, much loved and respected by its loyal readers. (Even though, often ridiculed and sneered at by Left radicals of the time)
5. Most of the members of Kasturi family traditionally kept away from active politics, and the readers apparently respected them for that.
6. However two members broke away from the tradition. N. Ram became a card-holding-member of CPM. Malini Parthasarthy became a Left-Liberal Activist.
7. In 1991, when the old generation led by G.Kasturi stepped down, N.Ravi was made editor, superseding his elder brother N.Ram, so as not to alienate its mainly conservative Hindu readership.
7.N.Ram was given two consolation ‘toys’- ‘Frontline’ & ‘Sportstar’. Ram made Frontline into something like a dull-cross between ‘New Statesman’ & ‘Peoples Democracy’. He made ‘Sportstar’, into a clone of ‘Cricketer’.
8. This arrangement held smoothly and beautifully until Malini Parthasarathy was inducted as Executive Editor by N.Ravi. She swept Ravi away to one corner, and brought editorial department under her control.
9. Malini inducted several of her fellow-activists into the editorial department of ‘The Hindu’.
10. Malini and her team launched a spirited campaign against Hindutva politics. In their eagerness, they often failed to distinguish between Hindutva and Hinduism.
11. The long-time-Hindu-readers of ‘The Hindu’ were outraged. Protests began pouring in. Malini and her team never cared a hoot to their wails.
12. Along the way, Malini and her team managed to rub Puratchi Thalaivi the wrong way. Thaliavi (unllike the typical-Hindu-reader)was not a person to take things lying down. She plotted to send Malini and her family to jail.
13. Kasturi parivar was scared. N.Ram sensed his opportunity. He sneaked his way back into The Hindu. Following the foot-steps of his heroes like Mao, Castro, Sung etc, he made himself the dictator of ‘The Hindu’ (Printer-Publisher-Editor-In-Chief, CMD).
14. The rest as they say is history.
Now, what is (are) the solution(s)?
There are two solutions.
1.Go the whole hog, become an out-and-out Left news paper, tell the vociferously-wailing-traditional-readers to stop wailing and to go to find other pastures.
2.Throw the two-wasps-in-Kasturi-bonnet (Ram and Malini) out and bring some one like K.Venugopal(Editor of ‘Business Line’) to pacify its angry readers. Ram can be sent back to ‘Frontline’. Something like ‘Outlook’ can be launched for Malini.
The choice is Kasturi Parivar’s.
Yeah right! Thanks for an interesting fiction. The Hindu has always been against the anti-national and anti-hindu activities of the sangh parivar even before independence. (It is perhaps you who are having an issue in distinguishing between the perverted hinduism of the sangh – hindutva – and the real hinduism practised by most Hindus).