Should TOI declare its interest in a news item?

Times of India (TOI) has reported about a customer complaint against MicroTek inverters on 19/2/2009 on Page 7. Its headline read “Inverter company tp apy Rs. 2.5L for fire in house.” The article was longer than the usual that Times of India devotes to customer complaint and it even had a cartoon.

I was very happy to see that a leading newspaper like TOI is reporting on the problems of harassed customers and also warning prospective customers about the quality of MicroTek inverters. But I am not too sure whether TOI reported this news just for its support of harassed customers. If I am not mistaken, TOI has purchased a stake in Su-Kam inverters. I hope that this news report was not motivated by its desire to the company Su-Kam in which it has invested money.

Also, shouldn’t TOI mention in the article of its interest/investment in the company just like what mint business paper does everytime it writes an article in which its parent company HT Media has a direct or indirect interest? I think TOI should reveal its interest specially financial interest in the subject of the article that it writes about. It should be noted that a number of people have raised questions about this unethical practice of TOI.

Avinash Narula

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