First, he commented on the “abnormally affluent” Shekhar Gupta in his memoirs Beyond the Lines and then he apologised to the Indian Express editor-in-chief at the book’s launch.
In between, Kuldip Nayar also appeared at Idea Exchange, the Express‘ in-house interaction programme, taking questions from the paper’s journalists.
Maneesh Chhibber, assistant editor: What do you think of the standard of journalism today?
Kuldip Nayar: Well, I’m disappointed. In those days at the Express, there was no check on us. We could publish any story. Whether it hurt A, B or whether it rubbed the corporate sector the wrong way, it didn’t matter. Ramnath Goenka knew certain stories going into the paper were wrong. At night, he would call me and say, after seeing the front page, “Kuldip, woh jo galat story Cabinet ki hai na, us aadmi ko pata nahi hai. Par kuch nahi, jaane do.” He never tried to contradict us. I have a feeling that now you have to pull your punches because the corporate sector has a strong say. I do not find any pressure from the government, but I do see pressure from other forces which is reflected by newspapers.
Unni Rajen Shanker, managing editor: I just want to clarify this: at the Express today, any story that is worth printing will go to print just as it used to. It is still the same.
Kuldip Nayar: Thank you.
Read the full interaction: Kuldip Nayar at the Express
Also read: Kuldip Nayar on Shekhar Gupta, N. Ram & Co