The Hindu editor-in-chief, N Ram's brother, N Ravi says he has turned the newspaper into an apologist for A Raja
CHENNAI: The long battle for leadership inside the family that runs one of India's oldest newspapers, The Hindu , took a new turn when its editor N Ravi publicly criticised his brother and editor-in-chief N Ram for, among other things, "turning the newspaper into an apologist for A Raja." Ravi made those allegations in a mail to all The Hindu group employees on Wednesday night.
By Thursday morning, the virtual world was abuzz with forwards of the mail. The Times group, of which ET is a part, competes with The Hindu in several key markets including Chennai. In his email, Ravi has alleged that Ram has turned the newspaper into an apologist for A Raja through the 2G scam coverage. "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," Ravi said. In a detailed email to ET, Ram pooh-poohed the charges.
"As for the ad or ads in question, I can assure you the editorial people had nothing to do with it or them." He said, "Our editorial people do not solicit advertisements, either from government or corporate bodies or private parties." Ravi, Ram added, "attended editorial meetings during the relevant period, edited editorials on economic subjects, and not once did he propose writing an editorial demanding the resignation of Raja." On the other hand, Ram said, The Hindu did demand Raja's resignation post the CAG report "when enough evidence was in hand."
A Raja, the DMK minister for telecom in the union cabinet, was arrested in February this year for allegedly causing enormous losses to the government by selling cellular phone spectrum or radio waves to telecom companies at throwaway prices. The accusations and Raja's arrest were a huge embarrassment to the Manmohan Singh led UPA government which was forced to agree to the demands from a vociferous opposition for an enquiry by the joint parliamentary committee . On Wednesday, the CBI court dismissed the bail pleas of five senior corporate executives in the scam and remanded them to judicial custody.
Ravi also raised other charges and accused Ram for blacking out or downplaying any news that is less than complimentary to the Chinese Communist regime and termed it as "pro-China tilt" ."And contrary to the practice in any mainline newspaper, the editor-inchief 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," he added.
Ram dismissed Ravi's allegations of power grab and unfair treatment and said that the group was following the policy of separating ownership from management. "Separation of ownership and management is a principle many successful organisations maintain , and when it comes to newspaper organisations, eight of the top ten English newspapers in the country have a non-family professional as Editor," his e-mail said.