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Throwing Light On Lutyens Media’s Deliberate Attempt To Bury Razdan’s Sour Comments On PTI


PTI’s former Editor-in-Chief M K Razdan has given an interview to The Print. He spoke on various issues pertaining to PTI and also on its fued with Narendra Modi government through its proxy Prasar Bharati.

Prasar Bharati had recently sent a letter threatening to end its “relationship” over the alleged “anti-national” reportage by PTI. This statement came soon after PTI carried an interview of Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong, who blamed India for Galwan Valley faceoff that saw 20 Indian bravehearts getting martyred.

Unfair and shocking': Former PTI chief MK Razdan flays Prasar ...

Reacting on the issue, Razdan questioned Prasar Bharati’s “anti-national” remarks by saying that the PTI board has a former Chief Justice of India, a former Foreign Secretary of India, plus the doyen of India media industry, therefore it is difficult to think that the news agency will allow anything that is detrimental to national interests.

Lutyens media picked up these comments and put out headlines, lending support to the PTI. The Press Club of India, in fact, alleged that the central government seems to be trying to “dismember” the news agency.

However, they “deliberately” left out portions of the conversation with The Print, where he raised a very serious issue about the mishandling of the controversial report by the editorial team.

Before talking about it, it is very important to know about the recent controversies PTI had landed itself into, especially after Editor-In-Chief Vijay Joshi, assuming the charge.

Joshi has been accused, according to a 2017 PGurus report, of a possible lie about his experience to acquire a permanent press pass to Lok Sabha.

He allegedly had claimed in his application to Lok Sabha that he covered Parliament during 1991 to 1994, but it was found out that it was an absolute lie as he was not in India during that period and returned to India only in February 2017. Luckily, the Lok Sabha Advisory Committee Chairman DP Kamath decided to drop criminal proceedings against Joshi.

Not only this, PTI has landed in many controversies after Razdan’s retirement. Though no one can deny that PTI reports in the past have received notices for incorrect reporting, but the number of notices in the recent past have increased.

PTI was in the news for peddling fake news on communally charged matters. In April, it had claimed that one Mehboob Ali was lynched on suspicions of being infected with the coronavirus. However, later it turned out that he was alive.

PTI Editor Vijay Joshi caught for making false claims by Lok Sabha ...

Also, PTI had claimed that only 25 percent of AAP candidates had serious criminal cases against them. But in reality, the number was upwards of 50 per cent.

Moreover, the Indian Federation of Working Journalists, yesterday, wrote to the Prime Minister and Minister for Information and Broadcasting. They accused PTI management of shamelessly turning itself into Congress party’s mouthpiece.

They demanded a judicial inquiry into the various funds, subsidies, loans and financial help made available to PTI by the union government during the past several years.

In the letter, the federation accused PTI management of misappropriating the government funds for anti-worker purposes like splitting its plant union, favouring only loyalists and denying employees their legal dues under various statutory wage awards.

It said PTI not only received a huge sum of money through various union governments over the years, it also got subsidized land to build its office on the fabulous Parliament Street, at the cost of state exchequer and taxpayers’ money.

However, let us come back to the Lutyens media leaving out some portions of Razdan’s interview. What were those?

Outlook Photo Gallery : M K Razdan (R), Editor-in-Chief & CEO of ...

Razdan spoke about the mishandling of the report by the editorial team headed by Joshi. He said it was wrong on the part of the editorial team for not publishing the followup questions its reporter asked the Chinese ambassador.

He said: “I think where the problem arose was, even before the story went on the wire. The Chinese Embassy put out a truncated and distorted version. They put out only three one line questions with very long answers by the Chinese ambassador. I understand these are not even PTI questions.”

“I have also been given to understand that PTI has strongly protested with the Chinese ambassador about it. They (Chinese) made up their own questions, what I have been told. And, all the followup questions the reporter asked have totally been ignored,” Razdan said.

“But, I also want to mention that PTI also mishandled in a way. They did not bring out the follow-up questions in their copy …,” he noted.

Razdan also regretted that PTI did not even carry the admittance of the Chinese ambassador of suffering casualties on their side.

“For example, the Chinese ambassador acknowledged that there have been casualties on the Chinese side. This would be the first Chinese official of a high rank acknowledging that there were Chinese causalities …. Regrettably PTI did not even carry that as part of the interview. It’s a lapse. That’s a judgement I would say,” he said.

Though Razdan might have staved off controversy by calling this as a case of mishandling and an error of judgement, but people are already questioning – as to what prevented PTI, not to publish the followup questions asked by its reporter to the Chinese ambassador and also break the news of casualties on the Chinese side.

In fact the Indian Federation of Working Journalist alleged that the PTI story raised doubts about its hidden agenda.

These are very serious questions, and it would be very hard for the editorial team to convince people, because of its recent public perception, which has taken a severe beating.

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