Shekhar Gupta, the editor-in-chief of The Indian Express, has responded to a press release from a nine bunch of activists led by the Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan that the sponsorship of the Ramnath Goenka awards for excellence in journalism this year was tainted by allegations of conflict of interest.
Bhushan & Co had linked coverage of some environmental issues in the Indian Express with the lead sponsor of the Express awards, Jaypee Group and associate sponsor Mahyco Monsanto.
A news report in today’s Express carrying news of the awards’ fete quotes Gupta as saying:
“Their implication is that these companies paid us back as sponsors of this event. Such insinuations aren’t new for The Indian Express…. Be it governments, corporates, political parties, all tend to attribute motives to what we report whenever they disagree with it…. Now there’s another group that’s joined these ranks.
“Activists, a section of civil society, individuals who push and prod governments and institutions and play a vital role in our democracy. We hold them in respect as we do everyone we cover and the only professional way to cover them is through good journalism, by sifting their noise from their news. And by remaining committed to what is virtually inscribed in our DNA: the code under which the wall between editorial and advertising in The Indian Express has always been and will always be impregnable.”
Photograph: courtesy Neeraj Priyadarshi/ The Indian Express
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