Theme: The ethics (or the lack of it) of selling editorial space
Description: In 2003, the Times of India, one of India’s leading newspapers, decided to market editorial space in it and other newspapers the group publishes by setting up an cell called Medianet. As a result, corporates and individuals could pay money and feature in news columns or other editorial space.
Two years later we discover that not only is the trend alive, but it is thriving. The trend has been followed by other papers, too — though not as blatantly as the "leader who guards the reader."
So is this trend ethical, will (or should) other newspapers follow suit and is this the end of the ‘news is sacred’ concept?
Participants: Kalpana Sharma, Meher Pestonji, Meena Menon, Farzana Versey, Amrita Shah, Dilip D’Souza (moderator)
Kalpana Sharma is Chief of Bureau, Mumbai, and Deputy Editor, The Hindu; author of Rediscovering Dharavi (Penguin), and the co-author of The Media and Women's Issues.
Meher Pestonji is a senior journalist and author of the novel Pervez, published by Penguin.
Meena Menon is a Special Correspondent with The Hindu, Mumbai, and specialises in development issues.
Farzana Versey is a columnist and writer based in Mumbai.
Amrita Shah is a senior journalist and a columnist with the Indian Express.
Venue: Wilson College, Chowpatty, Mumbai
Time and Date: 11 am, Saturday June 25 2005