What is happening at Press Trust of India(PTI), India’s premier news agency? The latest is allegedly a diktat by the PTI Editor-in-Chief Vijay Joshi’s to blackout news items regarding the Information Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani. According to many senior staffers, Vijay Joshi has even asked the photo division to blackout Smriti Irani. The latest instance of this happened on February 10 when Smriti Irani attended a function of PTI employees union.
According to many PTI employees, Vijay Joshi insisted that Smriti Irani’s speech and the photo of the PTI staffer’s own function should not be carried. Wait! Isn’t PTI’s job to report about news events? Doesn’t the visit of a Cabinet Minister to a meeting merit a mention? When it was pointed out to Joshi that this was sheer arrogance, he stuck to his guns and the event went unreported. The details of the function were tweeted by Smriti Irani, as shown below:
In journalism there can be only one agenda and that is truth. My address at Federation of PTI Employees’ Unions Annual General Meeting https://t.co/7Qes7QFch1
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) February 10, 2018
Many staffers point out that PTI Chief Editor got rattled after Smriti Irani tweeted about the fake and wrong news being peddled by PTI. This fake and wrong news appears to have been created by the Left wing reporters in the PTI. After being caught red-handed, Vijay Joshi met Smriti Irani some months ago. He requested Smriti Irani to call him directly and not tweet about the mistakes. He also apologised about the fake and wrong news peddled by the Left-wing journos. Smriti Irani told him bluntly that she would continue tweeting if any fake or wrong news was manufactured and that she doesn’t believe in calling Joshi directly to point out mistakes.
Another issue pointed out by the staffers – PTI somehow managed to get an exemption for GST from the Finance Ministry. Smriti Irani pointed out to Finance Ministry that this exemption from GST is not a good practice as even the Army’s welfare organisations are not given such exemption. In the meeting, Vijay Joshi asked her why she wrote such a letter to the Finance Ministry led by Arun Jaitley. Smriti Irani told him that she can’t digest the idea of giving exemption from GST to PTI alone when there were several other worthy causes too.
The third issue of the tussle with PTI and Smriti Irani was after Prasar Bharati pointed out that PTI was charging an exorbitant fee of Rs.9.5 crores ($1.475 million) per annum for providing news feed. The public broadcaster pointed out that while PTI charges around Rs.85 lakhs ($132,000) per annum from many top private channels, why were they being gouged by the PTI? PTI’s CEO Venky Venkatesh also met her to request that she would ask Prasar Bharati to withdraw this letter. Smriti Irani told the PTI officers that she herself felt that PTI is overcharging Prasar Bharati and can’t support wastage of public money.
After these three incidents, the PTI top brass decided to hit back at the I & B Minister Smriti Irani, say many staffers. The escalation against the minister has been slow and steady and is reaching a boil.
Team PGurus had already reported the unethical behaviour of PTI Editor-in-Chief Vijay Joshi which was caught by Parliament’s Press Accreditation Committee. He faked his experience in reporting Parliament and caught royally by the Committee. The appointment of the air-dropped Vijay Joshi has already spoiled the working atmosphere of PTI. Many senior staffers are disgruntled and up in arms. Team PGurus is in possession of data from many staffers of PTI who have reported about the PTI’s current working style. India’s premier news agency has literally become a mad place, according to those in the know.
Question to ponder – How can a news agency blackout news? A News Agency’s job is to disseminate news to media organisations and they are not supposed to black out or spin. Their job is to provide accurate news and nothing but news. It should not be a den of crooks to manipulate or blackout news. Now PTI top brass has the audacity to black out the Information and Broadcasting Minister. Such is the level of arrogance and crookedness of the people sitting in PTI’s top positions. So what would be their nature of working in providing what is supposed to be independent news feed?
The time has come for the owners of PTI to make a call. Who are the owners of PTI? PTI is owned by a consortium of media barons. It is time for the owners of PTI to sit together and clean the mess in India’s premier news agency PTI.
1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 64.39 Rupees.
 PTI Editor Vijay Joshi caught for making false claims by Lok Sabha. Permanent pass withheld – Nov 28, 2017, PGurus.com
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