Monthly Archives: November 2007

Forbes can name India’s second richest woman


The gloves are well and truly coming off in New Delhi.

The marketing heavyweights, Hindustan Times and The Times of India, first joined hands to launch a tabloid Metro Now to preempt tabloid Mail Today. And then HT refused to run the ads of the new paper launched by the India Today group.

Now, Mail Today has carried a court story on Indu Jain, the bosswoman of the Times Group, and the mother of Sameer Jain and Vineet Jain, in today’s paper.


Delhi High Court has refused to restrain Forbes from publishing personal and financial details of Bennett, Coleman & Company Ltd.’s chairman Indu Jain in its list of India’s 40 richest.

Indu Jain is the second richest woman in India. Her wealth is estimated at US $ 4.4 billion (Rs 17,307.4 crore), according to Forbes. But she did not want the magazine to publish this.

The October 12, 2007 court order came on an application seeking an injunction against Forbes Magazine. Bennett & Coleman, India’s biggest media house and publishers of The Times of India had moved court against the premier publication in November last year.

Though the court, in its interim order, had earlier restrained Forbes from naming her in its list, the order was revoked after hearing arguments on the application on merits. The suit filed by Bennett, Coleman against Forbes is pending before the High Court.

Mail Today called Jain’s office, but nobody was available for comment. The managing director’s office acknowledged the case, but refused comment.

The magazine ranks Jain 17th in its list and pegs her worth at $ 4.4 billion. The list has only one other woman richer than her—Savitri Jindal, who is worth $ 8.5 billion.

Jain’s contention was that Forbes had invaded her privacy by including her in its list. Forbes countered saying it had disseminated “legitimate news”. Only a few such as Jain of the privately-held Bennett, Coleman had reached billionaire status. She was a public figure and her wealth was not a private matter, Forbes argued.

Bennett, Coleman’s contention was that her financial worth was private and couldn’t be published without her consent. “Jain appeared in two previous Forbes rich lists—the 2005 list of India’s 40 richest and the 2006 global billionaires’ list. Each of these had included her net worth, her marital status and role as chairman of Bennett, Coleman,” Forbes said.

Her representatives, Forbes contended, had objected to her inclusion in these prior lists, but, nevertheless, supplied company information. Jain heads the Times Foundation and is known for her philanthropic work.

After months of hearings on the matter and legal submissions, the Delhi High Court issued a 147-page opinion.


Aroon Purie: Indian papers are in a time warp

In the West, newspaper readership is falling and advertising and circulation revenues are sinking. In India, existing newspaper groups are trying to consolidate through their web presence, etc, before the bad news arrives, as it must.

Brave, therefore, is the media baron who, with no newspaper experience, decides to launch a brand-new newspaper from scratch. Aroon Purie, the man behind the India Today magazine empire, has just done that with Mail Today, a tabloid newspaper in collaboration with the Daily Mail of London.

In what can only be considered a thundering slap on the faces of newspapers that have been around for tens of years, Purie believes—pinch yourself—that the time is just right for a new newspaper. And like every movie maker, he believes his offering is going to be “different”.

In an interview with the media magazine, Impact, Purie says:

“I believe that the newspapers which exist today are somewhere in a legacy, a time warp. They are trying to cater to everybody and in the process, I think, fall between many stools. They are neither a proper broadsheet, nor a proper tabloid, nor a middle ground paper. They try to appeal to everybody and to my mind, have become quite dull.

“There is a space to address this in a modern newspaper, which is bold, which takes stands, which addresses your concerns, which doesn’t necessarily get stuck in the same old topics of politics and jargon, which simplifies complicated issues, which is brought out in a bold and vibrant manner that makes you want to sit up and want to read.

“I don’t believe that newspapers need to be dumbed down. I believe there is an intelligent readership out there, who will read if you give them something worthwhile to read.”

Read the full interview here: It’s the most appropriate time to come in

Photo courtesy:

The world’s oldest, most fearless journalist

“I tape, therefore I am. I tape, therefore they are. Who are they, these etceteras of history, hardly worth a footnote? Who are they of whom the bards have seldom sung?”

Studs Terkel, blacklisted, wiretapped, censored but still fighting fit.

Read the full story here: What a fearless journalist looks like

Tina Brown: I would redesign The New Yorker

Tina Brown, the former New Yorker, Tatler and Talk editor who made “buzz” the buzzword of her newsroom, has given an interview to Mini Kapoor of The Indian Express.

Ten years later, what would you do at The New Yorker?

I would probably redesign it again. I might make a shorter front of the book section. I’m an admirer of the Spectator magazine in London. It does a very good job of a front that’s interesting, voices that you come to every week.

So, in the midst of TV and the Web, the ideal print content?

I would like the newsmagazines to do a longer, a much more contextual piece. They should not be just reactive. There are three kinds of pieces which interest me. One is to introduce something completely new into the dialogue. Secondly to provide some really good context. And thirdly to provide a pleasure principle — voice, attitude, irreverence are very important to create reader loyalty. And visual excitement. We have great photography out there which gets very little play.

Read the full interview: ‘I still haven’t read the definitive piece on Musharraf’s coup’