Media Transasia India, the Indian wing of the Hong Kong-based Media Transasia Limited – the house of magazines like Discover India, National Review, Swagat, Golf Style, Architecture + Design, etc., has terminated the services of its Editor-in-Chief Inderjit Budhwar.
The termination letter dated May 3, 2004, was signed by Raju Sarin, President, Indian Operations of Media Transasia. Confirming Budhwar’s removal to exchange4media.com, Sarin said that the arrangement with Budhwar was not working out well. A veteran journalist with 15 years stint in India Today, Budhwar has been associated with Media Transasia for the last three and half years.
Sources in the group reveal that the termination has been the result of a clash between marketing and editorial set up. When exchange4media.com contacted Budhwar, he said that he had voiced his discontent on encroachment into editorial operations to JS Oberoi, Chairman, Media Transasia, few months back. “I have always stood for editorial autonomy and they could not stand the idea of an independent editor,” added an irate Budhwar.
The outgoing editor took strong exception to his termination letter. “I had a very creative stint at Media Transasia where I created the complete system and editorial set-up. I revived the fortunes of Discover India and even launched National Review. But then the letter terminating my services was in poor taste. However, as far as I am concerned, the chapter is closed,” he grumbled.
Interestingly, top sources in Media Transasia debunk Budhwar’s charge of editorial interference and instead attribute his removal to his poor man-management skills, personality clash and anti-company activities like accepting similar work from outside.
However, having parted ways with Media Transasia, Budhwar wants to concentrate on book writing. “In any case I would not have stayed with the group for more than six months. I will be working with Raghu Rai on some projects,” he said.
Media Transasia, on the other hand, is not likely to bring in any replacement for Budhwar. Says Sarin: “We have restructured the company and as such we don’t require any editor-in-chief.” As he mentioned, the group publications would be handled by three editors who are independently looking after different product categories. S Kalidas looks after lifestyle category publications like Swagat, Discover India and Golf Style, while Sunit Paul takes care of the technical category magazines like Architecture + Design and Indian Design and Interiors and, Parsa Venkateshwar Rao edits the National Review.
Meanwhile, Media Transasia Group is in consolidation and expansion mode. The company is converting two bi-monthly magazines – Architecture + Design and Indian Design and Interiors into monthlies. And according to Sarin, there are also plans to launch two new magazines by the year-end. One of these magazines will be rural focused, while the other will be a lifestyle magazine for which Media Transasia is entering into a foreign tie-up.