Bartaman Patrika: Straight and firm refusal to peddle paid news for cash

Bartaman Patrika: Straight and firm refusal to peddle paid news for cash

Bartaman Patrika |
May 25, 2018

Ashish Mukherjee, Senior General Manager, says a crisp 'No' to our journalist

Ashish Mukherji, Sr. General Manager (Advertisement Sales), Bartaman Patrika, Kolkata    

In this age when agenda-driven journalism has become the norm rather than exception and when news is just another commodity to be sold or traded keeping in view the bottom line, Cobrapost stumbled upon two rare exceptions. One is Bartaman and the Dainik Sambad is other exception, and both are regional newspapers. These two vernacular dailies are exceptions in the sense that it is the regional media where the phenomenon of paid news or agenda-driven journalism is order of the day, as Operation 136 amply shows.

Among the two, Bartman Patrika is the second-most popular Bengali newspaper after Anandabazar Patrika, with three editions published simultaneously from SiliguriBurdwan and Midnapore in West Bengal. The daily was started in 1984 by journalist Barun Sengupta, who until then was working with Anandabazar Patrika. Pushp Sharma visited Bartaman Patrika’s Kolkata office to meet Senior General Manager Ashish Mukherji. Initially, the senior general manager is quite hospitable a soul, but as soon as the visitor has stated the purpose, namely, promotion of Hindutva and defaming political rivals, Mukherji outrightly rejects the agenda saying: “… that is not permissible.”

Now, it was the journalist’s turn to be shocked for he had not heard no so far. He tried to sugarcoat his agenda by increasing the budget for his media campaign from Rs. 1 crore to straightaway Rs. 10 crore. But Mukherji refused to take the bait. “It’s not …” I see, the journalist again tries to persuade him, you won’t give up your idealism for this much of money. Mukherji is firm on his rejection of the agenda. We hear him utter a crisp “No.”

Although the journalist, who made his brain child one of the most read dailies in the state with his bold political analysis written in a simple diction, died a decade back, the values he cherished and nurtured the paper with have remained intact. The vicissitudes of time have not dented those values as they have his erstwhile employer the Anandabazar Patrika, as our expose of ABP shows.

Bartaman Patrika Response 

We have not yet received any response from the Group to the detailed questionnaire we have sent them regarding the investigation, till 4 pm, 25th May, 2018. In case they do send in their reply, we shall update it in the next few days or weeks.


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