Chennai: Malini Parthasarathy announced her decision to step down from her position on the board of The Hindu Group Publishing Private Ltd on Monday, June 5. In a statement, she hinted at a disagreement with the board, expressing that she made the decision to move on because the scope for her efforts “has narrowed”.
"My term as Chairperson of The Hindu Group Publishing ends. However, I have also resigned from the Board of the THGPPL as I find the space and scope for my editorial views shrinking," Parthasarathy wrote in a Twitter post.
"My entire endeavour as Chairperson and Director, Editorial Strategy was to ensure that The Hindu Group revives its legacy of fair and unbiased reporting. Also my efforts were to free our narrative from entrenched ideological bias. Since I find the scope for my efforts has narrowed, I have decided to move on. I thank all my well-wishers and friends who have supported this challenging journey," she further added.
Her stint at The Hindu
Malini served as the Executive Editor of The Hindu on two occasions. Her most recent tenure spanned from 2015 to 2016, during which she resigned due to widespread dissatisfaction with her performance. Her initial role as a newsroom leader began in 1996 and continued until 2004, when she also held the position of Executive Editor. In July 2020, she assumed the role of Chairperson of the Board, succeeding N Ram.
Parthasarathy's journey from 'left' to 'right'
Malini Parthasarathy, who was visibly outspoken against the Modi government in its initial years, became apologetic for her newspaper's critical coverage of the Modi regime in latter years.
When the entire JNU and 'anti-national' controversy broke out, Parthasarathy had said, "University is meant to be the place where you ask questions."
Parthasarathy had termed the attack against JNU students as an attack on 'freedom of expression'.
She had also slammed the national media and prime time journalists for attacking Kanhaiya Kumar and other JNU students. She had accused the national media and journalists of working for 'cheap publicity' as they declared the JNU students "guilty even before being tried".
However, after being appointed as the chairperson on The Hindu's board in 2020, when she replaced her cousin N Ram, Parthasarathy's softened attitude towards the Modi government surprised many. The change of tone happened specifically after she met the Prime Minister in person.
It was so much so that Parthasarathy even attended launch event organised by the BJP of a book based on Prime Minister Modi (Modi@20) along with finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman and Annamalai.
Parthasarathy, at this event, showered praises on the PM, saying he is evolving from a politician to a statesman in his handling of traditionally difficult issues. She said he had made government accessible and citizens no longer feel that authority is remote and aloof.
Disagreements with board and recent 'sengol' controversy
Over the past few decades, Malini has frequently expressed her ideological disagreements with the newspaper's Editorial and Editorial Board, often in public. Throughout this period, her primary adversary has been her cousin and the former Editor-in-Chief, N Ram.
During her recent role as Chairperson, Malini found herself involved in several disputes with the editorial team. In a recent incident, she engaged in a discussion with RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy regarding The Hindu's fact-checking of the 'sengol' controversy. The newspaper had contradicted the Union government's claim that the 'sengol' was presented to then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru by Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India. Gurumurthy contested the findings of the fact-checking article. Malini responded to Gurumurthy on Twitter, stating that necessary amendments would be made if the facts were found to be incorrect. This response drew criticism, with some accusing her of appeasing the government. At the time, N Ram supported the reporter who conducted the fact-check and participated in a press conference in Chennai to debunk certain claims made by the government.