Well, Shekhar Gupt did not say ‘we need to own up to failures’. Certainly not in the context of Shivam Vij, contributing editor of Shekhar Gupta led The Print who is being accused of concocting quotes and then brazening out. Shekhar Gupta actually said this in 2007 when he was with the Indian Express. But since The Print believes in attributing decade-old quotes to current scenarios, we thought it would be a fun exercise to see how time changes context.
Shivam Vij, the contributing editor of The Print, has been accused of inventing a quote out of thin air for his report titled ‘Why Kashmiri Pandits may never return to the Valley’. Shivam Vij used a conversation he claims to have had with author Arvind Gigoo in order to peddle his agenda. The son of the Kashmiri Pandit “quoted”, Siddhartha Gigoo, came out on Twitter and accused Shivam Vij of lying, saying that his father never gave such a quote and has never spoken to The Print.
In his report, Shivam Vij had quoted Gigoo as if he had spoken to him in today’s context with respect to this article. A copy of the article we had archived shows that no date of the conversation or context of this quote was mentioned.
After Siddhartha Gigoo, Arvind Gigoo’s son contested the quote published by Shivam Vij, he and Shekhar Gupta led The Print brazened it out claiming that the quote was actually accurate and was from Vij’s meeting with Gigoo a decade ago in 2010.
When Gigoo tweeted to The Print saying that his father had never spoken to The Print’s reporter, after hours of “checking”, The Print brazened it out claiming that the quote was accurate and that Shivam Vij had tweeted the same.
When one checks Vij’s Twitter handle, the shamelessness becomes even more apparent.
Shivam Vij claimed that the quote is accurate and was taken in 2010-2012. That is almost a decade ago when terrorism in Kashmir was at its peak. When Gigoo confronts Vij, shamelessly and brazenly, Vij asks Gigoo if ‘he has gone crazy’.
The Print and Shivam Vij seem to be of the opinion that a decade-old opinion when the times and situations were different can simply be quoted out of context to suit their current propaganda. After this shameless display of arrogance by The Print and Shivam Vij, the publication led by Shekhar Gupta sneakily changed the paragraph where Arvind Gigoo was quoted.
Essentially, Shivam Vij wrote an article about how Kashmiri Hindus might not return to the valley even after the abrogation of Article 370 by quoting a Kashmiri Hindu from a conversation that was held a decade ago.
Going by The Print’s stand, it seems perfectly reasonable that Shekhar Gupta’s statement made in 2007 can be used in the current context without a care in the world. In 2007, Shekhar Gupta had written a 2751 word email to Indian Express staff saying that as the group prepares itself “for a big leap forward,” it needs an honest introspection and own up to “our failures and…acknowledge our weaknesses.” He wrote: “In a year when the media industry has grown by nearly 25%, our revenues have declined by 3%,” adding that “it does look to me as if all of us took our eye off the ball.”
Pertinently, he wrote, “The truth is that we have been much too forgiving with ourselves in a market-place getting less forgiving by the day”. Further, at the time he was the group’s editor-in-chief, he wrote, “…requested the members of the top management team to take a wage freeze for this year. In addition, I have also decided to defer a significant part of my compensation until we see some real improvement.”
While Shekhar Gupta and his current publication, The Print has become too shameless to bother to acknowledge mistakes, we think, going by The Print’s editorial standards that these words can easily be attributed the Shekhar Gupta today, in context of Shivam Vij’s shenanigans.
While the words can be attributed easily, we are not holding our breath about The Print introspecting and being unforgiving with itself as far as its dwindling editorial standards are concerned.