If media reports are to be believed, things are not all rosy in Network18’s digital news platform, Firstpost. It has been suggested by The Hoot that the editorial team at Firstpost has been complaining of interference from top management regarding the type of stories carried out on the website.
In particular, it has been pointed out that a July 20 article by Editor-in-Chief R. Jagannathan, titled, ‘GST, Land Bill On Hold: Modi May Have To Rethink Jaitley As Finance Minister’ was reportedly pulled down from the website.
The article can still be found on In.com, which is also owned by Network18. The article can be read here: http://www.in.com/news/politics/gst-land-bill-on-hold-modi-may-have-to-rethink-jaitley-as-finance-minister-53216738-in-1.html
The Hoot also claims Lakshmi Chaudhry, the executive editor of the site, submitted her resignation last month citing editorial interference from upper management.
Another website, The News Minute, claims that sources within the company have informed them that “changes were being touted in the editorial policy, especially about negative reporting on some top BJP leaders, however it was unsure if any concrete policy had been formulated.”
The Network18 Group was acquired by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries in May last year. Following the takeover, wholesale changes were made in the management of the company. Key people like Rajdeep Sardesai, who, at that time was editor-in-chief of CNN IBN, resigned stating interference in editorial matters. In 2013, the company had faced another controversy when Forbes editor Indrajit Gupta was fired after he refused to accept a severance package without consulting his lawyers. It has been alleged that the management had pressurized other key editorial personnel within Forbes to accept the new terms or quit.
Our attempts to get in touch with R Jagannathan were unsuccessful.