Sunday, 1 May 2011

Malini Parthasarathy's response to an article on§ionId=4&valid=true

While I appreciate the painstaking effort that has gone into this analysis of the current stand-off at Kasturi & Sons, the company that publishes The Hindu and some of the issues explored, I do think that there is a background and context to this debate that readers of this blog should be aware of. 
Of course acknowledging my personal stakes in this issue being one of those “family journalists” involved in the current controversy, I think there are weightier concerns that need to be factored in while judging the merits of this proposed transition. To boil down the entire dispute to a simple one of a struggle between family journalists and “professionals” is to actually suggest that it is a contest between “feudal relics on the wrong side of history” and “modern dynamic journalists” who are better situated to strengthen the Hindu’s best journalistic traditions of credibility and integrity while “contemporising it.” Adding to this perception is the suggestion that the Code of Editorial Values adopted by the majority on the Board of Directors on April 18 would offer adequate protection for the Editor, from among other things “shareholder interference.”
 All this sounds eminently reasonable and progressive in spirit. The trouble is with the context in which these proposals have emerged. First, the Board of Directors of Kasturi & Sons remains today comprised entirely of members of the four major shareholding families, to be precise, three representatives of the original four families descending from Kasturi Srinivasan and Kasturi Gopalan. The Board does not have any independent director and has not been “professionalised” as yet. Therefore the first point to factor in when considering the prospect of independent editorial functioning is that the structure would draw authority from a Board of Directors that remains family-driven and ultimately “majority family members-driven”. 
In the context of a Board of Directors solely made up of family members, the suggestion that having “owner editors” especially in this context when every director on the editorial side has strong professional qualifications and experience would stand in the way of “professionalism in editorial functioning” appears without basis. If anything, as long as the Board of Directors does not induct non-family, non-shareholders as independent Directors, owner-editors are often better placed to resist pressures from corporate or personal interests. 
The second more important point which has to be urgently recognised in assessing the value of this current proposal for a “professional” editor is the context in which this proposal has emerged. The background from which this proposal arises is not yet in the public domain. There is an ongoing debate in the company with some directors advocating a total separation of ownership and day to day management. An interesting proposal that manifests this new doctrine and which was placed formally on the table at a meeting of the Board of Directors is an envisaged separation of two Boards, one a Corporate Board comprising all family Directors and the other, “ a non-family, non-shareholder” Executive Board. According to the note delineating this proposal, the Corporate Board is to decide “major policies, business and editorial”. The non-family, non-shareholding Editor is to sit along with the heads of the company’s various business operations in this Executive Board.  
What are the implications of this proposed change? More significant than whether the Editor is a family member or a “non-family non-shareholding” professional is the prospect of the editorial structure being formally linked to the corporate structure by the presence of the Editor on the proposed Executive Board. In other words, by institutionalising the presence of the Editor on such a Board dominated by business functionaries, the Editor is implicitly committed to ensuring that the editorial operations are in tune with the corporate and business priorities so delineated. Second, the Editor is to be responsible to the entire Corporate Board and not to any single director. In other words, the editorial agenda comes under the direct purview of such a Corporate Board, never mind the express provision in the Code of Values to insulate the Editor from “shareholder interference”!  
As is the case with other newspapers, The Hindu is not immune to the sharpening of pressure from various lobbies and interests in the corporate sector for dissemination of their viewpoints as “news items” and articles. As can be easily verified, several items have indeed appeared in its news columns that masquerade as “marketing initiatives” but are often the reflection of personal social agendas of directors on the Board. If this kind of institutionalised cooperation between the editorial and the corporate operations as envisaged by the Corporate Board/Executive Board concepts becomes a reality, it will be very difficult for any editor, “family” or “non-family” to protect the integrity and credibility of the news process. 
It is one thing to argue that there should be constructive and continuing cooperation between the editorial and marketing sides of the newspaper for the obvious reason that both need each other for the newspaper to gain as a whole. But it is another to suggest that the editorial department be treated as another branch of the corporate banyan tree.  
These are the points I want to share with your readers so that they can make a proper judgment of the issues rather than to assume that it is only a debate about allowing non-family members to become editors at The Hindu.


  1. The issue on date is Malini,Ravi or the other members of the family have been responsible for alineating the traditional Hindu readers by anti Hindu religion articles,barbed attacks on BJp whether justifed or not as well as shielding the genocide of Tamils in Srilanka. Now it seems that after Raja's arrest Hindu is doing a course correction and has come from a pro establishment to Pro truth newspaper.
    Best option is for N Ram to continue for another one year till such time the newspaper regains crdibility.
    I expect the Hindu to apologise for the anti Hindu and anti tamil approach and come out clean
    Despite all the churn the credibility of Hindu in global newspaper is high.It is time to continue with the curent approach to regain lost space domestically

  2. Ram is a Marxist who has high-level connections with China & Muslim world. Nepali Communists are puppets of China.The Hindu has been promoting the Communists of Nepal, aggressively. It was to protect the strategic interests of China in Nepal.Similarly, Ram has been aggressively campainging for the cause of Islamic countries like Pakistan, Iran,etc.
    Malini is a Pentecost Christian. She is rabidly anti-Hindu. The anti-Hindu bias of the Paper started with her. She has brought several born-again Christians into The Hindu. Several readers have pointed out the subtle promotion of Christianity by the 'Young World' magazine of The Hindu, after Malini's entry.

  3. There is no other broadsheet English newspaper in the world where 10 of the owners are outstanding qualified professional journalists. It is only a matter of difference of opinion among the brothers and cousins. If only they are upfront about what each one is doing, things can be sorted out. The present turmoil and animosity can be traced to the cold war between G. Kasturi and the late S. Rangarajan. If there is one person who can put the paper on the right path, it is the patriarch G. Kasturi. He holds all the aces.

  4. Unless Hindu becomes Nationalist newspaper and fills up for the paper opposing pseudo secular forces,there is no tomorrow.The paper is ridden with members pursuing communist,anti Hindu and Pro christian agenda in subtle manner.
    The paper can still surive if Malinis and Ravis are kept out and Ram also rescinds the chair. However Siddharth Varadarajan is again a Ram,Malini and Ravi agendas combined into one.
    We need some one like Cho Ramaswamy to take the mantle and right the wrongs of the last 20 years


    The below example shows how a Press Trust of India (PTI) report is being tampered, with the purpose of deception by The Hindu, the national newspaper of India. On April 27, 2011 PTI publishes a story on Lobsang Sangay, the newly elected Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile in India. The story was republished by major newspapers that are subscribed to the wire-agency. On April 28, 2011, The Hindu publishes the story by adding 'unauthorised' words and sentences to defame the newly-elected Prime Minister and the Government in Exile. Compare the original PTI story with the manipulated report of The Hindu. Friends of Tibet learns that the practice of adding the byline of a wire-agency after the manipulation of an original report is unethical and a breach of agreement between a newspaper and the PTI on publishing rights.
    The original Press Trust of India story of April 27, 2011

    Lobsang Sangay Next PM of Exiled Tibetan Government

    (PTI, April 27, 2011,
    Dharamsala: Harvard scholar Lobsang Sangay was today elected Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and would take over the political duties relinquished by spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. 43-year-old Sangay polled 55 per cent votes out of 49189, defeating his nearest rival Tethong Tenzin Namgyal by 8,646 votes, Election Commissioner Jampal Chosang announced here. Sangay is a research fellow at the Harvard Law School. Tethong Tenzin Namgyal, a Stanford scholar, polled 18,405 votes while Tashi Wangdi, the Dalai Lama's representative in Brussels, New York and New Delhi, finished third. The election was held on March 20. 59 per cent votes were cast by the electoral college comprising over 83,000 Tibetans in exile in India, the US, European countries, Bhutan, Nepal, Russia and Japan among others. Apparently under Chinese pressure, voting was not allowed by authorities in Nepal and Bhutan.
    The 'edited' Press Trust of India story appeared in The Hindu April 28, 2011 edition

    Lobsang Sangay Chosen for Political Work

    (The Hindu, April 28, 2011,

    Harvard scholar Lobsang Sangay was on Wednesday elected "prime minister" of the so-called "Tibetan government-in-exile" and would take over the political duties relinquished by the religious leader Dalai Lama. A research fellow at the Harvard Law School, Mr. Sangay, aged 43, polled 55 per cent votes out of 49,189, defeating his nearest rival Tethong Tenzin Namgyal by 8,646 votes,"election commissioner" Jampal Chosang said here. Tethong Tenzin Namgyal, a Stanford scholar, polled 18,405 votes, while Tashi Wangdi, the Dalai Lama's representative in Brussels, New York and New Delhi, finished third. The election was held on March 20. Fifty-nine per cent votes were cast by the electoral college comprising more than 83,000 Tibetans living in exile in India, the U.S., the European countries, Bhutan, Nepal, Russia and Japan, among others. ('Chinese Pressure' Missing!) )Voting was not allowed by the authorities in Nepal and Bhutan. The Dalai Lama, 75, announced last month that he would step down as political head, but would remain as religious leader and continue to advocate "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet. — PTI