Under N. Ram, the Hindu becomes a ‘sorry’ paper

ARVIND SWAMINATHAN writes from Madras: Editors, reporters and correspondents at The Hindu are in a state of shock and disbelief today after another grovelling apology to an automotive major from their card-carrying Editor-in-Chief N. Ram appeared on the pages of the paper.

“In the Open Page article by R.S. Anand titled ‘The way we showcase India abroad’, a sweeping and baseless statement was made about a Kirloskar product, suggesting it was outdated. The Hindu apologises for this unwarranted assertion and withdraws the Open Page article from its website,” the apology signed by the editor-in-chief reads.

The “offending” piece by Anand, a student at RWTH in Aachen, Germany, comprised run-of-the-mill reflections on the Hannover Fair, and contained just two references to Kirloskar—both of them in the same paragraph.

Companies such as HMT, BHEL, Kirloskar, etc, participated in the (Hannover) fair. My fellow German students were shocked to see the engine displayed by Kirloskar which was designed a century ago. They asked me, ‘Are they still using this one?’” the “offending” paragraph went.

That was enough for Ram, otherwise a champion of free expression on television and in public forums, to go out crawling on all fours.

“Just what does our editor find so sweeping and baseless about that statement,” asked a senior editor of the paper on condition of anonymity. “And anyway it is not the author’s statement, it is the quote of a German visitor.”

Hindu staffers are bemused that Ram, otherwise particular about details, should not have published the date of publication of the offending piece—May 21, 2006—in the apology. “It’s almost as if he doesn’t want readers who have back copies of the paper at home to go back and check,” a staffer said.

At the same time, many senior editors and journalists within and outside the Hindu are horrified that the whole article has been axed from the paper’s website although the references to Kirloskar were contained in only one paragraph.

“Look at the irony. We lecture the world on why Da Vinci Code should not be censored. We lecture the world on why Fanaa should not be blacked out. And yet, because some rich family is offended, we remove the whole piece from the website. Is only the paragraph at fault or the whole piece? And what will the author tell his German friends about The Hindu? That the paper has very elastic journalistic ethics, depending on who is offended?” the editor asked.

There is yet a third angle to the apology which is that it comes over and above the head of the much-vaunted Reader’s Editor, K. Narayanan, whom Ram has been projecting as the panacea of all journalistic ills in the country.

“Was Kirloskar’s complaint brought to the notice of the Reader’s Editor? If not, why not? If so, what was the substance of the complaint—that somebody had a view that the advertiser did not like? So, is Ram the Advertiser’s Editor? Doesn’t this undermine the position of the Reader’s Editor,” a staffer asked.

The Kirloskar apology is the second inside 20 months since Ram displaced Malini Parthasarathy and his brother N. Ravi in a bloodless palace coup.

On October 20, 2004, Ram published this:

“The contents, tone and language of  ‘Kudos to Tata Motors’ by C. Manmohan Reddy (Business Review, The Hindu, October 18, 2004) are highly inappropriate. The Hindu conveys its deep regrets to Mahindra and Mahindra and also to Kotak Mahindra, ICICI Bank, and Citibank for the publication of the article.”

In that case, all the “offending” piece did was to lambast Mahindra and Mahindra for showing a “singular lack of responsibility towards the environment”.

“They choose to sell Bharat Stage I versions of the vehicle in large numbers in many of the 11, large and environmentally sensitive, cities where all the other automotive manufacturers have switched to BS II versions—all to save about Rs. 5,000 to 6,000 on very profitable SUVs that cost nearly Rs. 8 lakhs, on the road,” Reddy wrote.

That was enough for Ram to apologise to M&M and the auto finance companies. However unlike in the Kirloskar case, the offending M&M piece continues to remain on the paper’s website along with the apology two days later.

Media watchers say they are not surprised that both the apologies have gone out to automotive companies, which are big advertisers on the pages of The Hindu and many of which are located in Tamil Nadu.

What they find hilarious is that a committed communist should be so servile and obsequious to capitalists.

“Here’s a paper that day in and day out extols Jyoti Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Prakash and Brinda Karat. And yet to see it saying sorry for such minor journalistic indiscretions, if they are indiscretions, suggests duplicity, if not plain hypocrisy,” says a journalist who has seen better days under G. Kasturi.

“At least with The Times of India, you get what you see. The paper makes no bones about protecting the advertiser’s interest. Here on the other hand, free speech is being twisted by a very forked tongue that wants the cake and wants to eat it too.”

***

C. Manmohan Reddy’s piece

N. Ram’s apology

***

Also see: The column ‘Hindu’ didn’t have the guts to carry

The Hindu readers’ editor responds to churumuri. We do too

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31 Responses to “Under N. Ram, the Hindu becomes a ‘sorry’ paper”

  1. Adhitya Says:

    Apology reads very much like the 'Big Brother' syndrome, akin to Orwell's 1984. Ram should be in politics and not journalism, that too heading a tradition-bound paper sacrosanct for its values and ethics. Sad day for journalism in India.

  2. ss karnadshaw Says:

    why do you take ram so seriously. he is after all an owner-editor.

  3. ravi Says:

    Friends of Tibet — a Tibetan freedom support group, have been running this Save The Hindu Campaign.

    According to that, The Hindu sources all its news about Tibet from Xinhua alone and has been avoiding to print any negative news report about People’s Republic of China.

  4. vinay Says:

    its only because of its brand value that the paper is called as ‘Hindu’, if u go thru the paper its more like a commie propoganda paper

  5. DesiPundit » Archives » A Sorry Paper Says:

    [...] India’s National Newspaper seems to have apologized to an automotive company for an article published in the Open Page section. Churumuri questions the motive behind this apology. [...]

  6. RaajK Says:

    Ram is notoriously hypocratic. Recently he denied to publish an article by Seventhi Ninan because it was about one of his relatives’ organisation.

  7. RaajK Says:

    Oh sorry, I did not see the last link…

  8. Entertaining Research » Blog Archive » Et tu, Hindu? Says:

    [...] I saw the apology in the Hindu the other day. But I did not know this. O, what a fall was there, my countrymen! [...]

  9. Divya Says:

    i stopped reading The Hindu newspaper because of its blatant one-sided leaftist articles/propaganda.

  10. Prasanna Says:

    I had written a detailed post on this

    http://prasannavishy.blogspot.com/2006/03/crumbling-mount-road-marx-losing.html

  11. Joy Of Innovation » Blog Archive » Connecting the Unconnected Says:

    [...] Update: The Hindu gets into a controversy of sorts on the issue of How the Indian companies represent themself in International Events. And how it is covered in the press back home. Interesting to note the reference to a blog post mentioned in the Readers Editor’s weekly column. [...]

  12. krishna Says:

    hi guys,

    i just read the justification by the readers editor. i think the hindu is in a become a sorry state of affairs. do u guys know any other blogs and websites which are anti-hindu .

    krishna

  13. churumuri » Blog Archive » The Hindu responds to Churumuri. And we do too. Says:

    [...] The readers' editor of The Hindu, K. Narayanan, has responded to the Churumuri piece Under N. Ram, the Hindu becomes a 'sorry' paper in his weekly column 'Online and Off Line' today. Titled Whys and wherefores of an apology, the column seeks to offer a point-by-point rebuttal of the points made and questions asked. [...]

  14. gcmohan Says:

    Dear all

    For complete expose of the Jihadi Mindset of N Ram and The HINDU Please

    visit

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:The_Hindu

  15. hindu fundamentalist Says:

    hi,

    wonderful article exposing the hypocrisy of n.ram. dropping a link to this on my site. actually, i am tempted to copy the entire text.

  16. R Says:

    A few years back, The Hindu apologized for publishing a cartoon on Islam after many muslims attacked the Hindu office. The cartoon was meant to inform the readers about the story behind one of the Islamic festivals(bakreed or something; i dont remember correctly), and as a part of that the cartoonist had to draw prophet Mohammed in that. The intention of the cartoonist was good but still Muslims protested violently because no one is supposed to “draw” mohammed! The Hindu editor soon published apology for publishing the cartoon. Today (May 16), the Hindu has published an editorial supporting the art student who painted nude hindu gods. Isn’t this double standard ?
    (by the way, do anyone remember the date of the above mentioned cartoon and apology ? i unfortunately don’t).

  17. bhattathiri Says:

    Ram’s art of Management in the news paper industry has become a part and parcel of everyday life, be it at home, in the office or factory and in Government. In all organizations, where a group of human beings assemble for a common purpose irrespective of caste, creed, and religion, management principles come into play through the management of resources, finance and planning, priorities, policies and practice. Management is a systematic way of carrying out activities in any field of human effort. Management need to focus more on leadership skills, e.g., establishing vision and goals, communicating the vision and goals, and guiding others to accomplish them. It also assert that leadership must be more facilitative, participative and empowering in how visions and goals are established and carried out. Some people assert that this really isn’t a change in the management functions, rather it’s re-emphasizing certain aspects of management.
    Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their weaknesses irrelevant, says the Management Guru Peter Drucker. It creates harmony in working together – equilibrium in thoughts and actions, goals and achievements, plans and performance, products and markets. It resolves situations of scarcity, be they in the physical, technical or human fields, through maximum utilization with the minimum available processes to achieve the goal. Lack of management causes disorder, confusion, wastage, delay, destruction and even depression. Managing men, money and materials in the best possible way, according to circumstances and environment, is the most important and essential factor for a successful management.

  18. Harish Says:

    A Call to all patriotic Indians.Hindu News Paper is now taken over and owned by a Christian Joshua Society of Switzerland.This paper is destroying the Hinduism in its own native land and openly support Communism and China.Let all Hindus and Muslims unite together and drive out this anti-hindu and anti-india paper from India.Please pass this message and start boycotting this newspaper from today,the auspicious Vinayaka Chaturthi Day.Let us all join together and build a strong India.

  19. leena Says:

    Hi,all friends

    Ramayana is most inportant Book for all Hindu
    In India, Lord Vishnu is worshiped primarily as Avatar, or incarnations, particularly as

    Rama and Krishna, the principal characters of the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.

    In both of these wonderful long stories the God takes on human form in order to heal

    a breach in the order of society, and thus the world in general. In doing so there is

    an attempt to reestablish the moral code of social conduct and proper relation of

    mankind to divinity.

    Thanking

  20. Partisanship at a venerable institution called The Hindu « Entertaining Research Says:

    [...] Instance1: Churmuri wrote about an apology tendered by Ram to an automative company; [...]

  21. Sir Vibhudi Aatmapudi Says:

    Gurugale, this is my experience as a 20 something year old with a sister publication of The Hindu – The Sportstar. This was in 1999 and the incident below turns on a brighter light on the attitude of those that serve ‘The Hindu.’

    I procured a job interview – through wielding some influence – with their Chief Editor, one Mr Krishnan who reported to a Raman ( or maybe it was N Ram). Before I met the man, I had a chance to observe his staff; I did not see even one reporter who was not in awe or in fear of this authoritarion figure.

    I was instructed to not raise my voice, not to argue and to be respectful at all times. All this is very alien to my nature when it comes to dealing with authority wielders who demand and expect this kind of servant attitude.

    Anyway, I walked in and he regarded me sternly. Did not even ask me to sit down. Maybe I was supposed to ask his permission. I pulled a chair in front of his desk and settled in. He knew why I was here, I showed him an essay I had written on why I wanted to be a sports journalist. He flipped though it and made some not so encouraging remarks. Interview was over. I left.

    The entire experience at the Hindu Sportstar offices was in itself, an irony to my un-seasoned, un-journalistic mind. I could not understand how freedom of thought and speech could be expressed within such confines, let alone outside of a publication that literally ruled its employees, imposing frequent usage of low whispers, salaams, bowled heads and namaskarams or falling at Krishan and Raman’s feet. Both of whom probably fell at other people’s feet that were placed on a higher pedestal than theirs.

    Apparently this attitude has been the basis of the Hindu group since time immemorial. Why then, be surprised at its sorry state?

  22. ram Says:

    ram the braminist,try to braminise india

  23. ram Says:

    “the hindu” news paper is pseudo secular news paper…its policies are anti hindu..it always spreads bad about hindu and indian culture.

  24. VIJAY Says:

    The Truth about N.Ram is the most dangerous element in journalism.
    You can ignore people who are writing yellow journalism, But N. Ram is wolf in sheep’s clothing. He is a total destroyer of the great newspaper ‘The Hindu’ by enforcing his own fancies. He is always pro-China, pro-Sri Lanka, pro-Maoist Nepal, and pro-Paksitan. He is never a patriotic guy who never understands the need of nuclear energy. Never condemned the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. He is more worried in killing of Palestine terrorist rather than innocent Sri Lankan Tamils.

  25. lw Says:

    n. ram has been a disgrace to indian decent sensibilities. so glad that n. ram has been overcome by several online independent journals.

  26. Pearl Says:

    To err is human. What is important is to correct. Two articles that you have quoted are not mistakes that came in because of the hindu’s managerial defect. There ought to be some erroneous article coming in now and then. The Hindu is the only newspaper which takes pain to publish all corrections everyday. No other so called junk national yellow papers care to do so.

    Regarding the allegation that The Hindu is leftist. Left parties are ruling in 3 states. A national newspaper ought to give space to left’s views. Not giving space to left’s views is biased journalism(as followed by other national newspapers).

    Recently you might have read the expose, media politician jodi making money. Printing news for money. Maharashtra times(TOI), CNN-Lokmat are all. In the name of journalism what is happening is pure business, nexus with politicians and the big business. To know what is bad and what is good will take effort, hope you will give it a try other than coming up with some baseless allegations.

  27. Sriram Vangal Says:

    I stopped reading Hindu in 1998, the day they published a font page editorial, holding India responsible for Pakistan exploding nuclear devices. It will be better if the paper is renamed Anti – Hindu.

    One of my 9 siblings still buys Hindu. I asked the reason and I was told it is for “Obituary” Columns.

  28. vedantham Says:

    agree with the last post.only thing is I see it in the net

  29. chinnuro Says:

    Marxist ideology may have destroyed his common sense

  30. B Devadas Says:

    The real reason behind the ‘attitudinal’ change in’the Hindu’ needs to be investigated in depth.

  31. bk Says:

    The Hindu is the only news paper where news is not sensationalised. That itself is a great releaf !

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