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Mistake? Yes, ok. Apology? No

The Indian Express has carried a "clarification" today with regard to what they had done yesterday. The clarification, which I couldn't find online, states:
Some of the comments carried yesterday were sent to us by Manjunathan's IIM batchmates. These comments were originally posted on a blog. All of today's letters come directly to The Indian Express. If you want to share your thoughts with us ... [their email id, etc]
This is a poor explanation. Firstly, the wording might make it appear that the people whose words were stolen, including me and Rashmi Bansal, were Manjunathan's batchmates, and we sent our stuff to them, both of which are untrue.

Secondly, consider this: if I send them a link that leads to an editorial in the Telegraph about Manjunathan, and they lift the content there and later claim that that it was sent to them by "Manjunathan's IIM batchmates," that explanation clearly won't hold. Well, the same copyright protection that applies to the Telegraph applies to Rashmi's blog. (For more, do read my post, "Copyright and the internet.")

In any case, one could excuse it as a mistake in good faith if an apology accompanied the clarification. No such apology does. Ethically, they owe an apology to:

a] Indian Express readers, who were lied to about the origin of this content.

b] To all the people, including Rashmi and me, whose editorial content was used without their permission, and in contravention of fair-use conventions. (Click here and go to point 4 for more.)

DNA, the Mumbai paper, gracefully issued such an apology when they were implicated in a similar case recently, and enhanced their credibility in the process. It is a shame that despite its talk of journalistic integrity, the Indian Express hasn't yet apologised for its obvious mistakes.

Cross-posted on India Uncut.
Comments:
Amit,
If the plagiarists of BT had faced punitive action this would not have happened. When those reporters have licence to plagiarise and get away with it, its open season for others too.
Newspapers need to report news and is IE really mobilising public opinion on matters that are for the greater common good or are they in an uncontrollable quest to be seen as the "voice" of the public? Their fight for justice for Dubey was a valid one but their vicious campaign to dethrone SCG played into the hands of the BCCI and instead of a quick cut like that executed by the ACB on Waugh, the BCCI used media like the IE to create a monster by dividing public opinion and leading to yesterdays jeering.
Tangentially, another valid case will be taking on Chappell for his obscene gesture - lets see if IE will get into this one. (Its the fans that support the game and for every wonderful Chepauk spectator , you have to take the Eden one too as i am sure the players know!)

Swati
 
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