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PTI Board Rebuffs Political Nominees for Editor's Job

Asserting its independence in the face of a “particular” politician’s attempt to nominate the next editor of the Press Trust of India, the news agency’s board of directors on Friday decided to constitute a search committee of its own to select the successor to its veteran editor and chief executive officer, M.K. Razdan.

Speaking to The Wire by telephone, Hormusji N. Cama, chairman of PTI’s board of directors said he and his fellow directors valued the independence of the news agency and were determined to protect it. “Some MPs spoke to a couple of board members. Some of them were approached and they mentioned this. I must emphasise that no MP has approached me. But there is no question of looking at candidates that have been recommended by politicians,” he said.

The candidates in question – Ashok Malik, a columnist and TV commentator who was awarded the Padma Shri in January this year, K.A. Badrinath, formerly of the Financial Chronicle, and Shishir Gupta, executive editor of the Hindustan Times – are all well-disposed towards the Narendra Modi government and the ruling BJP.

“Malik and Badrinath came and met me,” Cama, who is based in Mumbai, confirmed, while Gupta was “a late entrant into the fray.”

The decision to rebuff these suggestions is an indication of the weakening hold of the Modi government over media owners – who make up the bulk of the PTI board.