A “group of retired officers of the Indian armed forces” has written to Thomson Reuters, flagging concerns over the political motivations of its “India partner”, Asian News International (ANI), in its coverage of a veterans’ memorandum to the President of India.
Below is the full text of the email, sent on April 23, with the subject line reading: “Complaint against Asian News International: an investee company of Thomson Reuters”.
It is addressed to M/s Steve Adler, Michael Friedenberg, Joel Ivoryharte, Heather Carpenter, and Jamie Austin.
The “from” address contains only the name of the email sender Maj Priyadarshi Chowdhary. It is not clear how many signatories to the original petition to the President (which has swelled from 156 to 422) are party to the complaint on ANI.
Dear Mr Adler, Mr Friedenberg, Ms Carpenter, Mr Austin and Mr Ivory-Harte,
My name is Maj Priyadarshi Chowdhury, SC (Retd) and I am writing on behalf of a group of retired officers of the Indian armed forces, to share our concern and anger over the recent conduct of Asian News International (ANI), with which Thomson Reuters has both an investor relationship and strategic partnership over editorial content.
The context of this complaint is ANI’s recent reporting on our petition, signed by over 150 military veterans, and addressed to the President of India, to protest the appropriation of the armed forces into political campaigning.
In this context, serious questions arise about ANI’s motives and practices in reporting the alleged denials by some senior officers that they had ever signed the letter.
Two recent stories lays bare the matter:
I would be grateful if you read it to the end, including the brief note on ANI’s National Security Editor and his public political stance. We believe that ANI has acted at the behest of India’s ruling party to manipulate quotes and defame our honourable intentions. In our opinion, ANI’s conduct tantamounts to being perfidious with a view to influence the ongoing elections, in India, in a biased manner.
In order for us to plan our further action, could you please inform us as to:
1) How Thomson Reuters evaluates the editorial practices of its strategic partners, to the end of assuring journalistic balance and editorial quality?
2) Whether Thomson Reuters evaluated or examined the practices, political affiliations, and reputation of ANI prior to expanding its strategic partnership in June 2018?
3) Regarding the above, if so, what was Thomson Reuters’ finding about ANI? If not, on what basis does Reuters evaluate the quality and validity of editorial material received from its partners?
4) Whether Thomson Reuters believes that ANI’s motivated misreporting of our genuine and Constitutional appeal meets its own standards for editorial propriety. It is upto Thomson Reuters to evaluate whether such conduct by an investee company meets your mission statement of “….we do business according to the highest standards of ethical and responsible conduct.”
Thomson Reuters commands respect and trust the world over, and in recognition of this, we hope for a reply addressing our concerns.
Maj Priyadarshi Chowdhury, SC (Retd)
Also read: “ANI acted at BJP behest”