Will sue The Indian Express, The Financial Express: Ram

Responding to a report in The Financial Express and The Indian Express today about the battle in The Hindu boardroom, The Hindu, in a statement on its website, said that its Editor-in-Chief N Ram "has decided to launch defamatory proceedings, civil and criminal" against Senior Editor Archna Shukla (the reporter), the Editor-in-Chief, Editors, and Publisher of The Indian Express and The Financial Express responsible for the publication of "highly defamatory material".

"This relates to news stories published in The Indian Express and The Financial Express... purporting to be reports on Mr Ram's role and actions in relation to developments within the newspaper group and the company", the statement said.

The statement quoted Ram as saying that the reports are "riddled with demonstrable falsehoods and defamatory assertions, some of them attributed to unnamed sources, made with reckless and malicious disregard for the facts and the truth".

Ram added: "And this despite the professional courtesy I extended to the journalist and the newspapers by responding precisely and factually to five specific questions emailed to me on March 24 by Ms Shukla."

In a statement, The Express Group said today:

"The report, 'Battle for control breaks out in The Hindu very divided family', (The Indian Express, The Financial Express,

March 25, 2010) is based on information received from multiple and high-level credible sources.

"All facts were verified and cross-checked to the highest standards of accuracy and fairness that The Express Group holds itself to. We believe our report was neither malicious nor defamatory.

"We have great regard for The Hindu as an institution and for its Editor-in-Chief N Ram as a journalist and editor for their commitment to principled journalism.

"We stand by our report and the reporter."

Here, in full, is the email exchange between Shukla and Ram.

... contd.

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