On 4 August, a FIR was filed against the editor, Krishna Prasad, publisher Indranil Roy and reporter, Neha Dixit. On 13 August editor was sacked.
Some surmises were made in the media, It appears that Raheja Group, which owns Outlook, was not happy with Krishna Prasad’s handling of some issues and had asked him to tone them down. During that period, they were reportedly in touch with Rajesh Ramachandran, political editor, Economic Times, as Prasad’s potential replacement.
Ramachandran affirmed that his new appointment as editor was made a month prior to the publication of the story and that the removal of the editor (though it came soon after the FIR) had nothing to do with it. If this was indeed the case, Outlook should report the facts.
The first editor of Outlook, Vinod Mehta, was replaced more or less the same way, was kicked upstairs, designated editorial chairman after the prolonged skirmishes over the publication of the Radia tapes.
According to a journalist who worked under Ramachandran, the latter “is a hard-core journalist with leftist ideology and is also equally anti-Hindu.”
I am a friend of Prasad. He did not come across to me as anti-Hindu, but was sceptical of big business and fake gurus.
Krishna Prasad has given a statement to Hoot: “threats against journalists may be an occupational hazard, but what we are seeing today is a more serious attempt to shoot the messenger. The country is fast hurtling down a fascist mode and this public narrative of demonising journalists is dangerous to free speech.” This is a serious charge by a senior editor and he needs to support it with a detailed story.
In a democracy, publishers have the right to their views and alignments. Our media moghuls have their biases – like N Ram of The Hindu with his leftist leanings.
We can learn a lesson from well-known newspapers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The New York Times is considered to be biased towards the democratic party, sympathetic to government regulations and critical of uncontrolled capitalism. The Wall Street Journal leans in the opposite direction, toward capitalism and is critical of democrats. The same is true for many newspapers in the US. But these papers zealously guard the freedom of expression and opinion of journalists.