Skip to main content

Even media mogul Murdoch wouldn't act the way EPW trustees moved against editor Thakutra: Ex-editor Reddy

C Rammanohar Reddy
By Our Representative
Former “Economic and Political Weekly” (EPW) editor C Rammanohar Reddy has warned through a series of controversial Facebook posts on his timeline that if the “rapid slide in EPW after the current crisis” is not checked, the world-class journal, known for some of the best research and scholarly articles, will fade away.
Written in three parts, the posts, titled “EPW on Edge”, taking a tough view of the recent controversial exist of editor Paranjay Guha Thakurta, Reddy – who was EPW editor between 2004 and 2016 – has told the Sameeksha Trust, which owns EPW, the responsibility to prevent the collapse of the journal is “that is yours and yours alone, not of the editor.”
Sameeksha trustees are some well-known academics -- historian Romila Thapar, political theorist Rajeev Bhargava, economist Deepak Nayyar (EPW chairman), sociologists Andre Beteille and Dipankar Gupta, and Ambedkar University vice-chancellor Shyam Menon -- and two doyens of banking and finance DN Ghosh (EPW managing-director) and Deepak Parekh (chairman HDFC).
Thakurta was forced to resign after his article in EPW alleging the Adani Group evading Rs 1,000 crore in tax was withdrawn following a defamation law suit slapped by the business group against EPW. One of the most cited investigative articles in the recent past, it can be accessed in www.thewire.in HERE.
Reddy, who also resigned amidst controversial circumstances more than a year ago – he is said to have resisted interference from the trustees – says, to argue that the Sameeksha Trust is a private trust and is therefore not answerable to the public is untenable, pointing out, it is “registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act of 1950 which covers, among other things, trusts set up for charitable purposes including education.”
He adds, “The trust also enjoys tax exemption under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act for donations made to its corpus; it is therefore answerable to the public. Public trusts cannot claim a privatized existence.”
Insisting that “there is a crisis in the governance of EPW”, Reddy says, “If not attended to, it is certain to affect the reputation and the quality of the journal.”
He wonders, “Which academic or journalist with self-respect and integrity will now want to be Editor of a journal whose board can one day say (i) you can’t write under your name, (ii) we will appoint a joint editor, and (iii) we will draw up norms of behaviour (written?) between the board and the editor?”
Doubting that even media mogul Rupert Murdoch has such norms for his editors, Reddy regrets, “The Sameeksha Trust is a self-selecting board whose members have given themselves permanent tenure.” Pointing out that “voting them out is not possible”, he adds, the trustees, in order to repair what has been damaged, should “quickly come out with a public statement that “affirms independence of the office of the editor.”
At the same time, je says, the trustees should state that in future they would “not issue any directions on either selection of articles or their removal from the EPW website”, assert that the trust would “back the editor and the team in any legal matter arising from publication of articles”, even as giving the editor “full freedom in all respects other than in matters concerning the Sameeksha Trust where he should consult with the trustees.”
Also seeking formation of an interactive consultative body, comprising a dozen or so members drawn from among scholars, and chosen by the trustees in consultation with the editor, Reddy says, “Such an advisory body could channel suggestions from the EPW community to the editor and trustees.”
If this all this does not happen, Reddy cautions, “We may well have to later say, EPW was one more Indian institution that was so difficult to build and so easy to destroy.”
---
Click HERE, HERE and HERE for Rammohan Reddy’s Facebook posts

Comments

Uma said…
To think that such eminent trustees are also toeing the government's line sends shudders of fear and disgust down the spine

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.