Criticising the media–Mitali Saran’s column

(I’ve written for Business Standard for over 15 years now, and never in that time been asked to censor my opinions. The only column they couldn’t carry was one on the Ambani book, Polyester Prince, because the matter was sub-judice and we couldn’t legally comment on it at the time.
It was very distressing, then, to hear that the newspaper wouldn’t carry Mitali Saran’s column on the India Today plagiarism issue, on the grounds that it was too dated to run. Mitali, who blogs at Stet, has since withdrawn her column from the paper. Here’s the link to her blog, the column, and some background.)

From Stet, by Mitali Saran:

The case of the missing attribution*
*This week, for the first time since its inception in August 2006, Stet was not published in Business Standard’s weekend edition (October 30, 2010) . You’ll find the likely reason for that in the second-last paragraph of the spiked column, reproduced below:

“Amongst other crimes such as those listed in the Press Council of India report which nobody in the media wants to talk about, is rampant plagiarism. Nobody in the media wants to talk about that either. It’s not as if ours is the only media in the world with big problems. But when ours is confronted with its own scandals, you can hear the clang of a fraternity closing ranks, followed by the weird sound of thousands of furious back-scratchings, followed by the thunderous silence of stones not being thrown in glass houses.”

Update November 2, 2010: Business Standard’s view that the post below was too dated to run is utterly unpersuasive, and I’m afraid I don’t believe it. They also say that since this post was put up on the blog, along with comments about BS, the question of carrying it in the paper does not arise. We shall have to agree to disagree on this whole thing, and I will write a post about that in a few days; but meanwhile, I have terminated my arrangement with them with immediate effect. As of this week, Stet will no longer appear in Business Standard….





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