Former India Today editor Prabhu Chawla has taken his interactive “Ask Prabhu” column to The New Indian Express, which he recently joined as editorial director, answering questions on this, that and the other with earthy candour.
Many of the media questions directed at Chawla and his responses are illuminating. Chawla confirms market rumours that the New Indian Express is on the verge of reviving the Sunday Standard title owned by the group.
Here’s a sample.
Q: Why were you fired from an outstanding media like India Today? Did your poor knowledge in journalism particularly about current affairs and useless questions in Seedhi Baat make you go? Have courage to answer.
A: You have already answered your own question. Be happy with it.
Q: You had a great platform with the “other“ media company? Why take a position with The New Indian Express, which caters mainly to the southern region?
A: I hugely enjoyed my previous job which gave me recognition. But I was missing the challenges of a daily newspaper.
Q: Is there any possibility of the New Indian Express and the Indian Express coming together to make a wider national presence ?
A: It is not within my purview or authority to answer such a question.
Q: How should I book my copy for Sunday Standard from Delhi? Will it be available in all the shops? Please do give a good advertising campaign for this new endeavour sir.
A: You don’t have to book. Just order your newspaper hawker to drop Sunday Standard along with your other papers. We will be promoting it as well.
Q: Persons like you, Arun Purie, Rajdeep Sardesai and Arun Goswami are loved by us. Why don’t you join openly with Baba Ramdev in his pursuit of a political career? Instead, you openly discourage him?
A: I can speak for myself only. I am not interested in joining politics. I support Baba’s cause but not his politics. I have interviewed him nine times.
Q: Why is media being called the fourth pillar of democracy although it is only doing business here?
A: I haven’t understood your question. Media is not just a pillar it is mirror for everyone to see his or her face.
Q: In England, even the monarch is under media scrutiny and the royal heirs and other family members are hounded by the UK media for juicy stories. Why is the Indian media being shy of doing investigative stories on Priyanka and Robert Vadra?
A: Media can’t chase a mirage. It was media which exposed Bofors. And it is the media which has exposed series of scams. We chase scandals without thinking about individuals.
Q: Forgive me for asking you about your fellow journalist Vinod Sharma of the Hindustan Times. He appears to be brazenly pro-UPA in his appearance as a panelist in the Times Now TV. He makes no bones to show his admiration for Manmohan Singh.
A: He is entitled to hold an opinion. It is for the viewers to accept or reject it.
Q: Why don’t we see interviews in any media with Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi for the last 2 to 3 months during the scams and price rise? Media are happy to give them titles like Woman of the Year, Young Face of India etc.
A: Media can’t force them or anyone else to give interviews.