This letter was sent by N.Ravi as a rejoinder to N.Ram's defence of TheHindu's coverage of the 2G scam and the denial of quid pro quo.
The Hindu of April 23, 2011 carried on Page 15 of the Chennai edition your refutation of a report that was not carried in The Hindu. Fairness demands that you publish my account of the issue of the coverage of A. Raja relating to the Telecom licences and 2G spectrum allocation that is given below:
At the meeting of the Board of directors of Kasturi and Sons in January, I had specifically raised the issue of the biased coverage of the 2G spectrum scandal. While Raja was in office, even as evidence was mounting and there were widespread calls for his resignation, The Hindu did not demand his resignation. On the other hand, it functioned as an apologist for Raja and even on the day of his resignation carried an interview with him on the front page, with the transcript published inside. In this interview as well as the one on May 22, 2010, there were no hard questions but only the obvious ones designed to elicit ready, scripted answers. The entire coverage up to the point of his resignation was tailored to make him look good.
This unexplained softness towards Raja contrasted sharply with the coverage and editorial stand on other scams including those relating to the Commonwealth Games, Adarsh Society and land allotment in Karnataka. In those instances, The Hindu was quick to demand the resignations of Suresh Kalmadi, Ashok Chavan and Yeddyurappa even at a stage when the evidence was far less compelling than the material that was in the public domain on the 2G scam before Raja resigned. All the editorial outrage was reserved for the period after Raja’s resignation.
With regard to the advertisement that was published in The Hindu of May 22, 2010 along with his interview on the front page with the full transcript inside, records in the Central Government, particularly in the Ministry of Telecommunications relating to the clearance of this particular advertisement and of some others would go to establish by whom and how this advertisement was cleared. Of all the newspapers that are said to have carried the advertisement, only The Hindu published a friendly interview and not the others. People in the media are aware that promotional advertisements of this type unrelated to any occasion or to any specific announcements are issued as much as rewards to the media as for publicity for the Minister. The Minister’s intention to hugely reward The Hindu that had been so friendly to him in its coverage was obvious. Publication in other newspapers was just a cover, it would have been untenable for any Ministry to have issued an advertisement to just one newspaper.