Something is rotten in Press Trust of India (PTI), India’s premier news agency. Many wonder what is happening to this news agency, which was once considered as a pure news dispatcher. Recently a spate of fake news has appeared and even fake photos are being released as news!
The other top staffers are getting around only Rs. Two to Three lakhs per month. This huge disparity in the salary is considered to be the main reason for the unrest in the organization.
PTI was under the iron fist of the Editor in Chief M K Razdan who hold the top post for many decades, in which Razdan managed to stay in the post in dubious ways and manipulations. This has killed the system of the reputed Organisation, say many insiders. M K Razdan, the father of Nidhi Razdan, controversial anchor of NDTV, continued as Editor in Chief violating all norms for around two decades, while the Board united to give a forced retirement at the age of around 75. The actual age of M K Razdan is still a mystery as he hushed it up as in PTI normally people retire at 60 or will get a maximum of two to three-year extension. But Razdan got multiple numbers of extensions.
Razdan left PTI at the end of 2016, leaving behind an organization without proper hierarchy. The spate of fake news syndrome is due to the absence of controlling or checking mechanisms, say insiders. Anybody can file anything now, they added.
In the recent past, how many Union Ministers were misquoted and controversies erupted because of PTI? The first was the misquoting of the former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI reported said Parrikar told him that one girl reporter’s question irked him to conduct surgical strike against Pakistan! Another was misquoting Union Minister Maneka Gandhi. PTI reported a totally false news that Maneka Gandhi said men don’t commit suicide!
Apart from misquoting, nowadays, PTI has started mischievous reporting also. The worst was the concocted news on less budget for education by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Even more appalling was the use of old Chennai Airport flood photos as recent floods in Ahmadabad! Even WhatsApp circulated images were uploaded by PTI! I&B Minister Smriti Irani even tweeted asking explanation from PTI, which is run by a consortium of media barons.
The Presidential Poll statistics were reported in a totally wrong way. The quality of the PTI service is deteriorating fast. Many union activists in PTI say, that this was due to the lack of leadership. Before leaving, Razdan brought Vijay Joshi as Editor in Chief of PTI, who was in Far Eastern countries for many decades. He was with Associated Press and was in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand for a long time. Ignoring the existing staffers for the top post irked many and has created unrest in PTI’s senior leadership.
Razdan managed regional news barons in the Board to approve NRI Joshi’s appointment by sidelining the existing top staffers. Razdan, who was earning more than Rs.30 lakhs per month got Vijay Joshi for Rs.14 lakhs per month as his successor. Staffers say apart from the salary a new Toyota Camry car has also been allotted for the new Editor in Chief. The other top staffers are getting around only Rs. Two to Three lakhs per month. This huge disparity in the salary is considered to be the main reason for the unrest in the organization.
Being a premier news agency PTI needs a complete overhaul. That is the need of the hour.