Posts Tagged ‘Tatas’

Media baron donates most to parties after Birlas

11 January 2012

The Economic Times has run a list of companies who made legal donations to political parties in 2009-10 based on a  list compiled by the association for democratic reforms (ADR).

At no.2—ahead of even the Tatas and ITC—with a total donation of Rs 12.5 crore (Rs 10 crore for the BJP and Rs 2.5 crore for the Congress) is Asianet TV holdings, of the mobile phone operator turned media baron Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

Chandrasekhar, an independent member of the Rajya Sabha elected with BJP support, owns the Asianet News channel in Kerala and the Suvarna News channel in Karnataka, and recently bought the Kannada Prabha newspaper from the New Indian Express group.

Chandrasekhar who also owned several general entertainment channels in Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu entered into a joint venture with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

A Reuters backgrounder contains this operative paragraph:

“Asianet Communications Limited, which is a joint venture with Asianet TV Holdings Private Limited, was formed to provide television services for South Indian audiences. The joint venture consists of the Company’s (News Corp’s) approximate 81% interest in the Tamil language channel Vijay and the Company’s (News Corp’s) approximate 75% interest in the Malayalam language channels Asianet and Asianet Plus, the Kannada language channel Suvarna and the Telugu language channel Sitara.”

An ADR analysis (page 8 of 28) pegs Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s total assets at Rs 37 crore—Rs 12 crore in movable assets and Rs 25 crore in immovable assets.

Also read: Rajeev Chandrasekhar buying a Malayalam daily?

Rajeev Chandrasekhar eyeing Deccan Herald?

Everybody loves to claim credit for the 2G expose

10 media barons in India Today power list of 50

Why Ratan Tata hired Niira Radia’s services

9 December 2010

In his open letter three days ago to Ratan Tata, the Rajya Sabha member with media interests, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, asked why a corporate house like the Tatas, “with its sterling character and reputation requires outside lobbyists to lobby on their behalf.”

In his open letter to Chandrasekhar, Tata provides the answer on the woman whose conversations with the bold-faced bylines have sent Indian journalism into a tizzy:

“Ten years ago, Tatas found themselves under attack in a media campaign to defame the ethics and value systems of the group which held it apart from others in India.

“The campaign was instituted and sustained through an unholy nexus between certain corporates and the media through selected journalists.

“As Tatas did not enjoy any such ‘captive connections’ in this environment, the Tata Group, had no option but to seek an external agency focused at projecting its point of view in the media and countering the misinformation and vested interest viewpoints which were being expressed.

Vaishnavi was commissioned for this purpose and has operated effectively since 2001. You yourself have interacted with Niira Radia on some occasions in the past and it is therefore amazing that you should now, after nearly nine years, seek to denounce Tatas’ appointment of Vaishnavi…. Vaishnavi is neither owned by the Tata Group nor is the Tata Group Vaishnavi’s only client.”

Read the full letter: From Ratan Tata. To Rajeev Chandrasekhar

‘Go to bed knowing you haven’t succumbed’

22 November 2010

Business Standard, the financial daily edited by Sanjaya Baru, the former media advisor to the prime minister, carried an editorial last week on Ratan Tata‘s 2010 revelation that an “advice” to bribe a Union minister Rs 15 crore was what had put his group off from launching a private airline in the late 1990s.

Name and shame, Mr Tata,” the editorial thundered:

“Very regretfully, this is no example of “whistle-blowing”, as some in the media seem to think. It would have been if Mr Tata had named the minister and made public his demands at that time.

“Even now, Mr Tata is blowing no whistle, he is merely whining and seeking to occupy high moral ground…. If business leaders of the stature of Mr Tata are willing to strike but afraid to wound, what can one expect of lesser mortals?”

Ratan Tata responded to the editorial in a letter carried two days later by BS, saying that he had made no statement claiming that a minister had approached him for a bribe, and that he was merely referring to a fellow industrialist who called the Tata group stupid for not meeting what he believed to be the minister’s “requirements”.

For good measure, Tata added:

“The Business Standard had, in years gone by, commanded my respect as a publication that reported news factually and stood above other publications that saw nothing wrong with misinterpreting news by taking statements out of context to serve their needs or linking news to advertising.

“Similarly, many of us have admired you, Dr Baru, as a journalist who would stand up for causes and be the moral conscience of the nation. I wonder what has happened to the Business Standard and to the Dr Baru that we all knew. If you still believe in presenting the public with facts as they are, I would expect you to publish my letter in its entirety, without editing out the parts that you do not like.

“I hope you can also say that you go to bed at night knowing that you have not succumbed.”

Sanjaya Baru’s response:

All news reports in the Business Standard are based on factual information. An editorial comment is the opinion of the editor. In this case the comment was based on published and unpublished information available with the editor. The Business Standard continues to adhere to the highest standards of journalism, believing that while facts are sacred, comment ought to be free but fair.

Caricuature: courtesy The Daily Telegraph, London

Also read: When editor makes way for editor, gracefully

Which paper or TV station will do this story first?

24 March 2009

After the hype of the launch of the Tata Nano yesterday, the reality check today.

***

SHOBHA SARADA VISWANATHAN, in New Delhi, forwards a copy of an advertisement (above) taken out by Greenpeace in the Financial Times, London, and the International Herald Tribune, Paris, to draw the attention of the chairman of Ratan Tata, to the damage being caused to endangered Olive Ridley turtles by the Tatas’ construction of a port in Dhamra in Orissa’s Bhadrak district, in a joint venture with Larsen & Toubro.

Do Indian newspapers, which have all run full-page ads of the launch of the Nano today, have it in them to carry the Greenpeace advertisement? Will Indian TV channels run the YouTube film (below) that Greenpeace has put out? Will there be followups in newspapers, magazines and TV stations?

Or, in the wake of the Nano, is it a no-no because, well, the Tatas might sue or pull out the ads?

***

Below is the full text of the FT-IHT advertisement:

Dear Mr Ratan Tata

The Nano is the realisation of a dream you have dreamed along with millions of other Indians. While the Nano is certainly something you’d like to be remembered for, your port in Dhamra could undo all that the Tatas have stood for and built their reputation on.

For two years in a row, ever since dredging began in Dhamra, there has been no mass-nesting of endangered Olive Ridley turtles in the area. If they disappear, it will be forever. And that’s why Greenpeace believes that the port must stop now.

98% of your own customers polled recently also think the port should stop now. Over 100,000 customers have already emailed, called and faxed you, asking that the port should stop now. And over 200 respected scientists—25 of them from IUCN’s Marine Turtle Specialist Group—say the port must stop now. But construction continues day and night, threatening to bring an already endangered species closer to extinction.

Mr Tata, we call upon you to uphold the legacy that your company has built painstakingly over 100 years. Place the planet at par with profits, because there are some things that money just can’t buy back.

Greenpeace

www.greenpeace.org/turtles

***

Also read: Tatas refuse to stop dredging

Join the Facebook group: Greenpeace India

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