Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fw: ...thought Kantipur didn't indulge in yellow journalism

June 15, 2010

Mr Sudhir Sharma
Vernacular Daily


Thanks a lot for your response to my emails.

I appreciate the fact that you have not only understood that I merely signed the document in the capacity of company secretary as a witness (and I wasn’t the main signatory signing the document on behalf of Himal Power), as was alleged by your paper wrongly but also for acknowledging the fact in your email to me below.

I have noted with interest your statement that if I “have difference on it,” I “can send my opinion too.” I wonder what opinion I should be sending. In the lighter vein, should I send an opinion piece in which I call your correspondent, your editorial team and your publication a bunch of “villains” in order to reciprocate/retaliate the wrong done to me by your paper and publishing house! I cannot and will not do so as it will be uncharacteristic of me and is beneath me. I believe in human decency and I will not call anyone a villain without any basis and even if I have a basis to call somebody a villain, I will not call him as such without any rhyme and reason. Moreover, it will be another act of yellow journalism if I was to pen such a write up and Kantipur was to publish it. Therefore, I have no plan as such to write and send to you an “opinion” piece in lines of what you published last Monday.

On the other hand your asking me to send my opinion to refute what had been published amounts to me being asked to prove that I am not a “villain (Khalnayak)”. Your paper assassinates my character baselessly for no rhyme and reason and going by the process you have described, I am now required to “send my opinion” substantiating that I am not a villain. I wonder how does a person, even if he isn’t a villain, prove that he isn’t a villain! In order not to indulge in yellow journalism, it is incumbent on your paper that the editorial policy be such that people writing, even their personal opinion, do not resort to character assassination and if a person does indeed fit the description of the write up, then the writer will be required to substantiate that the person actually is what the writer has described him/her to be. In that particular piece being referenced here the writer of the opinion has not bothered with any such decency. A newspaper that does neither indulge in yellow journalism, nor encourages yellow journalism will not allow publication of even “opinions” if the piece is unable to substantiate the allegation. In other words, if a contributor to your paper (writing articles) is to write similar pieces (resorting to character assassination baselessly), I am sure that it will not meet with the editorial approval and, therefore, rightly, will not be published. I am describing here a prudent editorial policy, which I am sure Kantipur too adheres to. Therefore, being a member of your editorial team or staff of your publication should not be allowed to be abused as a license for character assassination of people.

I am saddened to note that, in this particular instance the editorial policy was not put to practice as the writer is one of your correspondents and, therefore, your paper also cannot shirk responsibility for the piece by simply saying that “what had published in Kantipur represents purely writer's views”. In other words, similar views from other contributors would not have been published in this manner (making baseless allegations against people without being able to substantiate) and this piece was allowed to be published as it came from one of your team members. Do feel free to correct me if I have failed to assess your editorial policy correctly.

As you have rightly understood that I did witness the execution of Khimti PPA in the capacity of merely as a company secretary who does not have any authority to decide what should and will be written in this document. Besides, I don’t stand (and never stood) to benefit from this PPA as I don’t have any stake (ownership), whatsoever, in this project. If one was to deem those benefiting unduly from this PPA are the villains, then the owners of Khimti may deserve to be called “villains” if your correspondent was to be able to substantiate the allegations. However, I don’t support/subscribe to this idea either.

Additionally your correspondent had also made baseless allegation that I got earlier incarnation of Arun III cancelled merely to have it given to India and went on to say that I am now staying quiet as India is to benefit from the new incarnation of Arun III. After receiving my email your correspondent tried feebly to establish that it was I who was behind this PPA without much success (although he tagged it as "TATHYA AAFAI BOLCHHA"). I am glad that you at least seem to understand the difference between signing a PPA on behalf of HPL and witnessing it in the capacity of company secretary.

However, he has failed to pick up the gauntlet that I had thrown with regard to Arun III. In this respect too the piece you have published has defamed me and tarnished my image. This amounts to slander/libel.

In view of the above what you have proposed/suggested doesn’t mitigate the damage caused by your paper. I look forward to hear from you at your earliest.

With best regards,

Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Senior Water Resource Analyst
From: Editor-Kantipur []
Sent: Sunday, June 13, 2010 11:43
To: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Subject: Re: ...thought Kantipur didn't indulge in yellow journalism

Dear Ratna Sansar jee,

Thanks for the all mails. Yeah I saw that document where you signed as the company secretary, and what had published in Kantipur represents purely writer's views. If you have differences on it, you can send your opinion too.


----- Original Message -----
From: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
To: Sudhir Sharma ;
Cc: Bikash Thapa ; Dipak Gyawali ; Ajaya Dixit ;
Sent: Friday, June 11, 2010 7:02 AM
Subject: FW: ...thought Kantipur didn't indulge in yellow journalism


I must congratulate you for your resourcefulness in being able to dig up the attached documents, made available by your correspondent.

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