As some of you know, ABIDe member and urban affairs strategist Ashwin Mahesh is running for a seat in the Karnataka Legislative Council under the graduates constituency this month. He is campaigning on a Lok Satta party ticket.
We must also let you know that Mahesh is one of the directors of Oorvani Media, the firm that publishes Citizen Matters (this print and online magazine covering Bangalore) and India Together, the national e-magazine covering public affairs and development.
All over the world, it is true that politicians starting media outfits, and media, have tended to play a dubious role in politics. We know questions may linger in your mind about Citizen Matters too, and we are writing this editorial to tell you about our charter.
Citizen Matters is a newsmagazine being built and expanded on the premise that independent journalism is worth pursuing and cherishing. Such media is as worthy of pursuit as the entry of public-minded people in politics itself. All three promoter-directors – Subramaniam Vincent, Meera K and Ashwin Mahesh – are committed to this.
How do we practice this? There is no magic. Mahesh, for example, recuses himself from the editorial review process for any stories that he is involved in or has interests in. This is similar to a judge recusing himself or herself from a case based on conflict of interest. All our stories on the MLC race so far have been edited by a different editor and Mahesh has had no say except being quoted. As a second and necessary practice, we also do full disclosure that he is a director at the firm, in the articles themselves.
Citizen Matters has an editorial charter, and in line with this, at no time will you see us being partisan to candidates. We will, however, write editorials giving you our opinion on politics and elections. Our opinions will be separate from our reporting, as must be for all news organisations.