Lokmat Editor Raju Nayak “flexed muscle” against RTI activists

Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, Goa correspondent of The Pioneer, New Delhi reports from capital Panaji:

Editor of Marathi daily under court scanner for ‘scuttling’ graft probe

An editor of a popular multi-edition Marathi newspaper has been involved in using threats and complainants to scuttle legal proceedings in a case involving misappropriation of public funds, a Goa court has said.

The startling observations were made by special sessions judge Nutan Sardessai in her order allowing complainants Kashinath Shetye and Ketan Govekar, incidentally both Right to Information (RTI) activists, to intervene in the anticipatory bail case of an ex-committee member of an educational trust that has been accused of misappropriating Rs 21 lakh of public funds.

“The powerful and politically connected persons of the School Trust/Society and the editor of Lokmat, Raju Nayak, either flexed their muscle to instil fear in their minds or otherwise tried to entice or lure them with promises of rewards in the event they comply in order to scuttle the legal proceedings,” Sardessai said in her order, which has come as a shocker for the media fraternity here.

“The problem of misappropriation of public funds in Goa is on the rise, a threat of immeasurable gravity, threatening the future of the Government and the society and much more so when an educational establishment, teachers and officials of the police of the State are inextricably entangled in corruption to protect them and to facilitate their functioning. The interveners are receiving threats periodically on phone to withdraw the application. Even the editor of Lokmat, Raju Nayak is involved,” Sardessai further said.

The order also states that two complainants had not only been threatened and induced, but also harassed, put “under private surveillance” and were “constantly followed”.

“The authorities concerned for extraneous reasons and/or for illegal benefit/gratification from the proceeds are turning a blind eye to the illegalities and also to their complaint. The police are pressurized into inaction which is apparent from their refusal to act since 2009 and hesitating to arrest powerful politicians who are in fact the primary accused in the matter,” the court further said.

Sawant, an ex-committee member of the trust running the Shri Durga English School of Pernem, 30 kms from here, had filed for anticipatory bail after a criminal complaint accused trust officials of misappropriating Rs 21 lakh from a Rs 36 lakh Government loan.

Lokmat is a popular Marathi daily which runs several editions in Maharashtra, including one in Goa.

When asked for comment on the court order, Lokmat’s group editor Dinkar Raikar did not respond.

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Horn Bajane Ki Bimari : A novel social campaign spreads all over Maharashtra!

Social campaign titled Horn Bajane Ki Bimari, began the initiative in Nagpur that gradually covered the state of Maharashtra across Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Nasik, Jalgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur and Solapur.

Started in Nagpur, the social campaign called Horn Bajane Ki Bimari soon became a state wide initiative receiving recognition from senior officials in the administration and the police force as well.

Many complain. Few act. Lokmat Media has taken up a cause that has long irritated citizens – unnecessary, excessive honking on the streets. With a social campaign titled Horn Bajane Ki Bimari, Lokmat Media began the initiative in Nagpur that gradually covered the state of Maharashtra across Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Nasik, Jalgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur and Solapur.

The objective behind the campaign was to educate the people about the ill effects of honking that adversely affect the physical and mental health of the people, particularly in the metros and Tier II cities of the country.

To create curiosity, Lokmat launched a teaser campaign across media posing the question – ‘Are you suffering from HBKB (Horn Bajane Ki Bimari)?’, ‘Have you got yourself treated for HBKB?’ and ‘Stop the spread of HBKB’.

Having generated interest about the ‘disease’, Horn Bajane Ki Bimari was revealed on a single day on all media across Maharashtra. Lokmat Group Publications carried a two-page innovative jacket about HBKB, detailing the ill effects of excessive honking.

With the initiative being noticed in Nagpur, the campaign spread across the state on the request of corporators from the respective cities.

The teaser was first launched in Nagpur on March 29 and the campaign was revealed on April 8. In other cities, the teaser released on April 16 and the complete campaign on April 25.

The campaign has been welcomed by the common man as well as municipal corporation chiefs, seniors in the police force and politicians.

The campaign has been backed by editorial content and field activities, too. People were appealed to pledge their stand against HBKB by sending text messages to a short code.

Among other on-ground activities, one involved employees of Lokmat coming together at each unit, vowing to shun honking. Group photographs of the same were published in the Lokmat publications to drive the message to the masses. About one lakh bumper stickers were printed and pasted on vehicles, too.

Students from prominent schools and colleges also were approached, making the youth a part of the campaign. Signature campaigns were also launched across the state involving citizens, mayors, collectors and police commissioners.

The campaign has been supported across media by Bright Outdoor (OOH), Radio Mirchi (radio) and IBN Lokmat (television). Lokmat Media also took the campaign to its digital properties such as Lokmat.com, Lokmat on Facebook and Twitter.

Devendra Darda, managing director, Lokmat Media dedicates the success of the campaign to the people of Maharashtra and also expects that the campaign will make people think twice before honking and help to bring down noise pollution in the state.

Mandir Tendolkar, vice-president, marketing, Lokmat Media tells afaqs! that the campaign’s success was further triggered by the way the marketing and editorial worked together.

Tendolkar adds that having taken the thought leadership, Lokmat Media will ensure that the campaign continues further to keep the issue relevant and fresh in people’s minds. (courtesy:  Biprorshee Das & afaqs!)

Malayala Manorama: No. 1 language daily of India

Malayala Manorama remains the No. 1 language daily of the country. The newspaper has added 25,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011 after having lost 50,000 readers in the previous quarter. Its current AIR stands at 99.37 lakh compared with 99.12 in the last quarter and 99.62 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had added 24,000 readers in the second quarter of IRS 2011 and 8,000 readers in IRS Q1 2011.

Marathi dailyLokmat is back as India’s second most read language daily. Lokmat was dislodged from the No. 2 position by Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi in the previous quarter. Similarly, Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika has regained the No. 5 position in IRS Q4 2011. It was dislodged from the No. 5 rank by Telugu daily Eenadu in the previous quarter. One more change is at No. 7 where Telugu daily Sakshi has overtaken Tamil daily Dinakaran.

Marathi daily Lokmat, which is back at the No.2 position, has recorded a growth of 1.66 per cent by adding 1.24 lakh readers this quarter. Its current AIR stands at 75.62 lakh against 74.38 lakh in the previous quarter and 75.95 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had added 1.09 lakh readers in IRS Q2 2011.

Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi has slipped to No. 3 despite adding 56,000 readers in Q4 of IRS 2011. It had added 1.57 lakh readers in the previous quarter to take the No. 2 position. Daily Thanthi has recorded an AIR of 75.03 lakh against 74.47 lakh in the previous quarter and 72.90 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had also added 1.03 lakh readers in Q2 and 1.73 lakh readers in Q1.

At No. 4 is Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi, which has registered a marginal growth in its AIR. By adding 36,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011, the daily has recorded an AIR of 66.66 lakh compared with 66.30 in the previous quarter and 66.90 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. Mathrubhumi had lost 1.1 lakh readers in IRS Q2 2011 but added 1.63 lakh readers in IRS Q1 2011.

Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika has made a comeback at No. 5 despite losing a few readers. It has lost 49,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011 while it had added 35,000 readers in the previous quarter. Its current AIR stands at 60.49 lakh compared with 60.98 lakh in the previous quarter and 60.63 in IRS Q2 2011. It had lost 55,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011 and 54,000 readers in Q1 2011.

By losing 1,10,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011, Eenadu has lost its No.5 position. Now at No. 6, it has recorded an AIR of 59.91 lakh against 61.01 lakh in the last survey and 60.32 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. Eenadu had added 69,000 readers in IRS Q3 2011 and 41,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011 but lost 50,000 readers in IRS Q1 2011.

Telugu daily Sakshi has climbed up the rankings for the second quarter in a row to acquire the No. 7 position. After adding 1.13 lakh readers in the last survey, Sakshi has added 84,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011. Its current AIR stands at 53.03 lakh against 52.19 lakh in the previous quarter and 51.06 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had added 64,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011 and 88,000 readers in the first quarter of IRS 2011.

Tamil daily Dinakaran, which was growing on quarter-on-quarter basis, has seen a marginal decline this quarter and lost its 7th position. Now at No. 8, the daily has recorded an AIR of 52.27 lakh against 52.53 lakh in the previous quarter, 51.67 lakh in IRS Q2 2011 and 51.23 lakh in IRS Q1 2011. Dinakaran had added 86,000 readers in IRS Q3 2011, 44,000 readers in the second quarter of IRS 2011 and 1.46 lakh readers in Q1.

Gujarat Samachar has again registered a marginal loss. It had slipped down to No. 7 position from No. 9 in the last survey. The daily has recorded an AIR of 51.69 lakh compared with 51.86 lakh in the previous quarter and 52.2 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. The paper had lost 56,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011 but added 99,000 readers in IRS Q1 2011.

Marathi paper Daily Sakal continues at No. 10. It has registered an AIR of 44 lakh compared with 42.73 lakh in the previous quarter and 44.48 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. The daily had lost 1.73 lakh readers in IRS Q3 2011, 1.2 lakh readers in IRS Q2 2011 and 84,000 readers in IRS Q1 2011.