Open Letter to the Board Members of the Sameeksha Trust

 

Following is the text of the open letter by members of the EPW Community addressed to Sameeksha Trust

As long-standing well-wishers and members of the intellectual community served by the EPW, we are appalled and dismayed by the recent events leading to the abrupt resignation of the Editor, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta.

We are distressed that the Board of the Sameeksha Trust has insisted that the Editor retract an article published in the journal, and is preparing to introduce new norms for the Board-Editor relationship and appoint a co-editor.  It is obvious that, taken together, these actions (mentioned by the Editor in interviews to the press and not denied in the statement issued by the Trust) would force any self-respecting editor to resign.  By failing to distinguish between internal issues of procedural propriety in Board-Editor relationship from the much larger question of the EPW’s public reputation for integrity, the Board of the Sameeksha Trust has dealt a strong blow to the journal’s credibility. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta’s professional reputation has been primarily that of an investigative journalist of several decades standing.  His well-known past exposés have delved into the malpractices of large corporations and the frequent complicity of state institutions in such corrupt practices.  That such journalism could provoke retaliation by those investigated may be expected.  These facts must have been known to the Board of Trustees of the Sameeksha Trust when they appointed Guha Thakurta as Editor just 15 months earlier.  It is one thing to wonder if the Editor may have erred in initiating legal action on behalf of the Trust without first consulting its Board, and quite another to withdraw an already published article from the journal.  If the Board believes the article to be mistaken in its facts, it must issue a public apology and retraction.  If it is only concerned that due deference was not shown to the Board, it must publicly stand by the article.  By forcing the Editor’s resignation without clarifying its stand on the substance of the article, the Board has diminished the institution that it is mandated to nurture.

The fact that a legal notice was sent to the Editor and the publishers (Sameeksha Trust) of EPW, for an ongoing investigation on the tweaking of rules that have benefited the Adani Group, is not surprising. Legal notices have unfortunately become the standard means used to intimidate and suppress investigative journalism. When they translate into court cases that can extend over years, they obviously add to costs and further harassment of honest journalists. However, as long as all the published material can be adequately substantiated and verified, there is little reason to fear an adverse result from the judicial process. But publishers MUST stand behind and back their editors on this if the journals are to maintain their independence and credibility.

India is currently living through a dark period in which there are real concerns about freedom and independence of intellectual expression, both for academics and journalists, with significant corporate takeover of major media houses and increasing instances of overt and covert intimidation of independent thinking and debate. In this context, reports of what appears to be a capitulation by the Board of Trustees of Sameeksha Trust –  removing the “offending” article from the EPW website and trying to impose humiliating terms on the Editor – are alarming. The EPW has a long and distinguished tradition of promoting independent and critical thinking that is vital in a democracy.  We expect the current Trustees to be mindful of our inherited legacy that they hold in trust on behalf of us as scholars, analysts and activists in India and abroad, who have contributed to EPW over long decades.  They need to take immediate steps to restore the prestige and credibility of the journal and the Sameeksha Trust.  This letter is therefore also asking the Trust, which is in the nature of a body accountable to a larger public, to create channels of communication between the Trust and the EPW community so as to strengthen the autonomy and integrity of EPW.

 

  1. Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Emeritus Professor, Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata
  2. Akeel Bilgrami, Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
  3. Jayati Ghosh, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  4. Mary E. John, Professor, CWDS, New Delhi
  5. Sushil Khanna, Professor, IIM, Kolkata
  6. T. M. Thomas Isaac, Finance Minister, Government of Kerala
  7. Bina Agarwal, Professor, University of Manchester
  8. Ramchandra Guha, Bengaluru
  9. Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University
  10. Noam Chomsky, MIT
  11. C. P.Chandrasekhar, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  12. Sunil Khilnani, Professor, King’s College London
  13. Susie Tharu, Emeritus, English and Foreign Languages University
  14. T. Jayaraman, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  15. Sashi Kumar, Chairman, Media Development Foundation, Chennai
  16. R. Ramakumar, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  17. Vikas Rawal, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  18. Alicia Puyana Mutis, Flacso, Mexico City
  19. Anis Chowdhury, University of Western Sydney
  20. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Malaysia
  21. Yılmaz Akyüz, Chief Economist, South Centre (Former Director, UNCTAD.)
  22. Zoya Hasan, Professor Emerita, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  23. M.V. Ramana, Professor, University of British Columbia, Canada
  24. Geeta Kapur, Art scholar, Delhi
  25. Vivan Sundaram, Artist, Delhi
  26. Chandra Dutt, Director, Centre of Science and Technology For Rural Development, Kerala
  27. Laxmi Murthy, Bangalore
  28. Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Professor Emeritus, JNU
  29. Satish Deshpande, Professor, Delhi University
  30. Uma Chakravarti, retired historian, Delhi University
  31. Tejaswini Niranjana, Professor, Lingnan University, Hongkong
  32. V. Geetha, Independent scholar, Chennai.
  33. Ashish Rajadhyaksha, Independent researcher, Bangalore
  34. Nandini Sundar, Professor, University of Delhi.
  35. J Devika, Centre for Development Studies, Kerala
  36. Padmini Swaminathan, retired Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad
  37. Patrick Bond, Professor, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  38. Prem Chowdhry, Historian
  39. Nivedita Menon, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  40. Itty Abraham, National University of Singapore
  41. Aditya Nigam, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies
  42. R. Nagaraj, IGIDR
  43. Partha Ray, IIM Calcutta
  44. S. Parasuraman, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  45. Anand Chakravarti, Retired Professor, University of Delhi
  46. Abhijit Sen, Retired Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  47. Jeemol Unni, University of Ahmedabad
  48. Abhijit Banerjee, Professor, MIT
  49. Himanshu, Associate Professor, JNU
  50. Mritunjoy Mohanty, Professor, IIM, Kolkata
  51. Sunanda Sen, retired Professor, JNU
  52. Praveen Jha, Professor, JNU
  53. Dhruva Narayan, Centre for Social Development
  54. Manoranjan Mohanty, retired Professor, Delhi University
  55. Amita Baviskar, Institute of Economic Growth
  56. N. Krishnaji, retired, Centre for Development Studies
  57. Yılmaz Akyüz, Chief Economist, South Centre (Former Director, UNCTAD.)
  58. Mohammad Konneh,
  59. Paris Yeros, Professor, Federal University, Brazil
  60. Elontero Prada, Professor, Sao Paolo University, Brazil
  61. Meyer Brownstone, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto
  62. Radhika Singha, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  63. Laurence Cox, National University of Ireland and Fondation des Sciences des Hommes Paris
  64. Dia Dacosta, University of Alberta
  65. Seth Sandrowsky, Sacramento, California
  66. Jai Sen, World Social Forum,
  67. Kannan Srinivasan, New York
  68. Pradip Kumar Datta, JNU
  69. Nirmalangshu Mukherji
  70. Avinesh Kumar Gupta, World Forum of Economists
  71. Sudeshna Banerji, Jadavpur University
  72. Kuttappan Vijayachandran, Industrial Research Services
  73. Samuel H Daniel, Independent researcher USA
  74. Radhika Desai, Professor, University College, Manitoba
  75. M. Vijayabaskar, Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies
  76. SK Godwin, SK, IIM Kolkata
  77. Mani Kumar, Independent researcher.
  78. Sudip Chaudhuri, Professor IIM Kolkata
  79. Venkatesh Athreya, Prof (retd) Bharathidasan University
  80. Anamitra Roychowdhury, JNU
  81. Dipa Sinha, B. R. Ambedkar University, Delhi
  82. Kunibert Raffer, Prof (retd), University of Vienna
  83. Rajender Singh Negi
  84. Sumit Mazumdar, Institute of Public Health, Kalyani
  85. Avinash Kumar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  86. Ashwini Deshpande, Professor, Delhi School of Economics
  87. K. Srivatsan, Anveshi Research Centre Hyderabad
  88. Veena Shatrugna, retired, National Institute of Nutrition Hyderabad
  89. Ashok Chowdhury, All India Union of Forest Working People
  90. Matt Meyer, International Peace Research Association
  91. Aabid Firdausi, Kerala University
  92. A R Vasavi, Independent Reseacher Bangalore
  93. Gopi Kanta Ghosh, Independent researcher.
  94. Radha D’Souza, University of Westminster
  95. E.A.S Sarma, I.A.S. Retd., Hyderabad
  96. Lawrence Shute, Prof Emeritus, California State Polytechnic University
  97. Sumit Sarkar, retired Professor, University of Delhi
  98. Tanika Sarkar, retired Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  99. Gita Chadha, University of Mumbai
  100. Lata Mani, Bangalore
  101. Anandhi S., MIDS Chennai
  102. K. Ramakrishnan, Chennai
  103. Sunil Mani, Director, CDS Trivandrum
  104. Carol Upadhya, NIAS Bangalore
  105. Sanjay Srivastava, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi
  106. Janaki Abraham, Delhi School of Economics
  107. Oishik Sirkar, Jindal Law University, Sonepat
  108. Balwinder Singh Tiwana, Punjabi University
  109. Mandira Sarma, JNU
  110. Jesim Pais, Society for Social and Economic Research
  111. Rajni Palriwala, University of Delhi
  112. Rama Melkote, retired Professor, Osmania University
  113. Uma M Bhrugabanda, EFLU Hyderabad
  114. Joseph M.T., University of Mumbai
  115. M.S. Bhatt, retired Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia
  116. Malancha Chakrabarty, Associate Fellow Observer Research Foundation
  117. Dr Sakuntala Narasimhan, Independent scholar
  118. Abdi Seido, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Dire Dawa University, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia
  119. Dr. Kushankur Dey, Xavier University Bhubaneswar
  120. Shambhu Ghatak, Associate Fellow, Inclusive Media for Change
  121. Swati Pillai, Watershed Organisation Trust Pune
  122. Pushpendra, Professor Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Patna
  123. Ravi K. Tripathi, Université Pairs XIII – Sorbonne Paris
  124. Mandeep Kaur, Dyal Singh College.
  125. Anis Chowdhury, University of Western Sydney and Co-editor, Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy
  126. Venkatesh Athreya, Professor of Economics (Retired), Bharathidasan University
  127. Sunanda Sen, Former Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru Universty, New Delhi
  128. Arindam Sen, Editor, Liberation, Kolkata
  129. Nayanjyoti, Research Scholar, Delhi University
  130. Avnesh Kumar Gupta, Hon. Secretary General, World Forum for Economists
  131. Andrew Cornford, Geneva Finance Observatory.
  132. S.V.Narayanan, Independent Analyst
  133. Amar Yumnam, Professor, Manipur University, India.
  134. Rohit Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  135. J.  George, (Rtd) Independent Researcher, DELHI.
  136. Kalyan Shankar Ray, Bhubaneswar
  137. Bindu Oberoi, Indraprastha College for Women, Delhi University
  138. Uma Maheswari Bhrugubanda, EFL University
  139. R. Srivatsan,
  140. Abid Firdausi MS, University of Kerala
  141. Navnita Behera, IRIIS
  142. Anupam Mitra
  143. Surajit C Mukhopadhyay, Seacom Skills University
  144. Eleuterio Prado, Professor, São Paulo University, Brazil
  145. Mustafa Ozer, Anadolu University, Turkey
  146. Vishal Sarin, LP University
  147. Shipra Nigam, Research Scholar
  148. Vipin Negi, University of Delhi
  149. Rosa Abraham, Institute of Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru
  150. N. Mani, Erode College, Kerala
  151. Hemant Adlakha, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  152. Collins Mtika, Director – Centre for Investigative Journalism – Malawi
  153. Ranjini Mazumdar, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  154. Suneetha Achyuta, Coordinator, Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies

 

 

2 thoughts on “Open Letter to the Board Members of the Sameeksha Trust

  1. Dinesh Shah

    Raising very high flags , installing armaments at strategic places , chanting BHARAT Mata ki Jai at every opportune or importune moments are charades resorted to by authoritarian regime s to impose artificial nationalism in people . So tsnttheu may forget the real problems created by the autocrats.
    A democratic polity does not need such gimmickry .

  2. Indrani Mukherjee

    This open letter is a good show of solidarity on our part. But the ones who are really behind this coercion and intimidation are shameless people. The present times look bleak and dismal.

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