Tag Archives: Lokmat

HT, Mail Today, and Kumar Mangalam Birla

Hindustan Times headline: “Coal Scam: CBI books former coal secretary, K.M. Birla”

Mail Today headline: “CBI registers 14th FIR in coal allocation scam”

On the morning after the central bureau of investigation (CBI) named industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla in the coal allocation scam, the news is the page one, lead story, in The Times of India, The Economic Times, The Indian Express, The Financial Express, The Hindu, Deccan Herald, The Pioneer, Business Standard….

But not the Hindustan Times or Mail Today.

HT which belongs to the Birla family (chairman Shobhana Bhartia is daughter of K.K. Birla, whose brother B.K. Birla‘s son was Kumar Mangalam’s father, Aditya Birla) consigns the news to a single column story on page 10 in its Delhi edition.

Mail Today has it on page 25. The tabloid belongs to the India Today group, which is part-owned by Kumar Mangalam Birla, who bought a 26 per cent stake in his personal capacity, in India Today‘s holding company, Living Media in May 2012.

Mint, the business berliner which is owned by HT Media, has it on page one with a single-column story leading into page 3.

Also read: HT wedding unites Birlas and Ambanis

Zee News, Jindals and the silence of the media

Lokmat sets up the freedom of the press statue

Karan Thapar takes on Shekhar Gupta on credit


Look, who’s putting up a statue for press freedom

Of all the noxious fumes that emanated from the coal allocation scam that hit UPA-II in 2012, was the perils of political and business interests of media owners and groups, which extend beyond the media.

For, among the impressive list of beneficiaries of “Coalgate” was the name of Vijay Darda, the Congress MP who runs Maharashtra’s largest circulated newspaper Lokmat.


Darda refuted the charges in September 2012, but his son Devendra Darda and nephew Rishi Darda (son of his brother Rajendra Darda, a Congress MLA who is Maharashtra’s education minister) were questioned by the central bureau of investigation (CBI) in November that year.

Vijay Darda himself was interrograted earlier this year. (Shortly after the coal scam hit the ceiling, the Congressman made news for calling the BJP’s Narendra Modi a “lion of Gujarat“).

Now, Lokmat Media is setting up a “Statue of Freedom of Press” at its state-of-the-art printing plant at Butibori in Nagpur. Unveiling the statue on Sunday, October 13, will be the Union home minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, “in the august presence of dignitaries from different fields”.

Besides Lokmat in Marathi, the group also publishes Lokmat Samachar in Hindi and Lokmat Times in English. It also owns IBN-Lokmat, a Marathi language news channel.

Vijay Darda is a former president of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS).

Also read: From the desk of the hon’ble MP

Power plans of DB Corp, Dainik Bhaskar & DNA

From the desk of hon’ble Member of Parliament…

In which Vijay Darda, member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and chairman of Lokmat Media Limited shoots off an appeal  to advertisers on his letterhead seeking advertisements for the special Deepotsav and Deepbhav issues of Lokmat (Marathi) and Lokmat Samachar (Hindi).

‘I couldn’t go to the US as my name is Zia Haq’

In October 2009, Siddharth Varadarajan of The Hindu reported that three Muslim journalists who were part of prime minister Manmohan Singh‘s official media delegation to the G-20 summit Pittsburgh were denied US visas.

The passports of all three were returned with yellow slips stating they had been found ineligible to receive a visa and that their applications needed “additional administrative processing”.

Now, in September 2010, Vidya Subrahmaniam reports in the same newspaper that Zia Haq, an assistant editor of Hindustan Times, has found that his application needs similar additional administrative processing.

Part of a seven-member journalist delegation invited to participate in a week-long technology and farm show that began on August 28 at Iowa in the United States, the US embassay suspended processing of Haq’s visa and he had to drop out of the tour at the last minute.

Haq writes on his blog:

“all other journalists in the delegation were promptly granted visas…What prompted this? My religion? My faith? My views? [But] I have never been a consistent, rabid or vocal opponent of America…”

The other journalists who were invited—bearing the names M.J. Prabhu (The Hindu), Sitanshu Swain (Financial Express), Vivek Giridhari (Lokmat), U. Pandey (Dainik Jagran), Sudhakara Reddy (Sakshi) and Uma Sudhir (NDTV)—were able to reach the US for the show.

For the record, Zia Haq’s blog says this about himself in case US embassy officials haven’t noticed:

“Zia Haq, as a five-year-old, refused to take Arabic lessons from a maulvi hired by his mother because the alphabet book wasn’t colourful enough. He revisited the Quran only as an adult, just after 9/11 to be precise, to find out if his faith was inherently violent. The ‘need to know’ soon grew into a ‘need to tell’ — that Islam needs to be understood not feared. Haq reports on minority affairs but likes to believe he’s destined for bigger things, like taking the phobia out of Islamophobia.”

Photograph: courtesy Hindustan Times

Read Zia Haq’s full blog: They call me Muslim