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Updated: June 16, 2012 14:00 IST

Reaping gold through cotton, and newsprint

P. Sainath
Comment (219)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
A facsimile of The Times of India’s August 28, 2011 page with the ‘marketing feature’ on Bt Cotton.
A facsimile of The Times of India’s August 28, 2011 page with the ‘marketing feature’ on Bt Cotton.

The same full page appeared twice in three years, the first time as news, the second time as an advertisement

“Not a single person from the two villages has committed suicide.”

Three and a half years ago, at a time when the controversy over the use of genetically modified seeds was raging across India, a newspaper story painted a heartening picture of the technology's success. “There are no suicides here and people are prospering on agriculture. The switchover from the conventional cotton to Bollgard or Bt Cotton here has led to a social and economic transformation in the villages [of Bhambraja and Antargaon] in the past three-four years.” (Times of India, October 31, 2008).

So heartening was this account that nine months ago, the same story was run again in the same newspaper, word for word. (Times of India, August 28, 2011). Never mind that the villagers themselves had a different story to tell.

“There have been 14 suicides in our village,” a crowd of agitated farmers in Bhambraja told shocked members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture in March this year. “Most of them after Bt came here.” The Hindu was able to verify nine that had occurred between 2003 and 2009. Activist groups count five more since then. All after 2002, the year the TOI story says farmers here switched to Bt. Prospering on agriculture? The villagers told the visibly shaken MPs: “Sir, lots of land is lying fallow. Many have lost faith in farming.” Some have shifted to soybean where “at least the losses are less.”

Over a hundred people, including landed farmers, have migrated from this ‘model farming village' showcasing Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech's Bt Cotton. “Many more will leave because agriculture is dying,” Suresh Ramdas Bhondre had predicted during our first visit to Bhambraja last September.

The 2008 full-page panegyric in the TOI on Monsanto's Bt Cotton rose from the dead soon after the government failed to introduce the Biotech Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill in Parliament in August 2011. The failure to table the Bill — crucial to the future profits of the agri-biotech industry — sparked frenzied lobbying to have it brought in soon. The full-page, titled Reaping Gold through Bt Cotton on August 28 was followed by a flurry of advertisements from Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech (India) Ltd., in the TOI (and some other papers), starting the very next day. These appeared on August 29, 30, 31, September 1 and 3. The Bill finally wasn't introduced either in the monsoon or winter session — though listed for business in both — with Parliament bogged down in other issues. Somebody did reap gold, though, with newsprint if not with Bt Cotton.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture appeared unimpressed by the ad barrage, which also seemed timed for the committee's deliberations on allowing genetically modified food crops. Disturbed by reports of mounting farm suicides and acute distress in Vidarbha, committee members, who belong to different parties, decided to visit the region.

Bhambraja, touted as a model for Mahyco-Monsanto's miracle Bt, was an obvious destination for the committee headed by veteran parliamentarian Basudeb Acharia. Another was Maregaon-Soneburdi. But the MPs struck no gold in either village. Only distress arising from the miracle's collapse and a raft of other, government failures.

The issues (and the claims made by the TOI in its stories) have come alive yet again with the debate sparked off by the completion of 10 years of Bt cotton in India in 2012. The “Reaping Gold through Bt Cotton” that appeared on August 28 last year, presented itself as “A consumer connect initiative.” In other words, a paid-for advertisement. The bylines, however, were those of professional reporters and photographers of the Times of India. More oddly, the story-turned-ad had already appeared, word-for-word, in the Times of India, Nagpur on October 31, 2008. The repetition was noticed and ridiculed by critics. The August 28, 2011 version itself acknowledged this unedited ‘reprint' lightly. What appeared in 2008, though, was not marked as an advertisement. What both versions do acknowledge is: “The trip to Yavatmal was arranged by Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech.”

The company refers to the 2008 feature as “a full-page news report” filed by the TOI. “The 2008 coverage was a result of the media visit and was based on the editorial discretion of the journalists involved. We only arranged transport to-and-from the fields,” a Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India spokesperson told The Hindu last week. “The 2011 report was an unedited reprint of the 2008 coverage as a marketing feature.” The 2008 “full-page news report” appeared in the Nagpur edition. The 2011 “marketing feature” appeared in multiple editions (which you can click to online under ‘special reports') but not in Nagpur, where it would surely have caused astonishment.

So the same full-page appeared twice in three years, the first time as news, the second time as an advertisement. The first time done by the staff reporter and photographer of a newspaper. The second time exhumed by the advertising department. The first time as a story trip ‘arranged by Mahyco-Monsanto.' The second time as an advertisement arranged by Mahyco-Monsanto. The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

The company spokesperson claimed high standards of transparency in that “…we insisted that the publication add the source and dateline as follows: ‘This is a reprint of a story from the Times of India, Nagpur edition, October 31, 2008.' But the spokesperson's e-mail reply to The Hindu's questions is silent on the timing of the advertisements. “In 2011, we conducted a communications initiative for a limited duration aimed at raising awareness on the role of cotton seeds and plant biotechnologies in agriculture.” Though The Hindu raised the query, there is no mention of why the ads were run during the Parliament session when the BRAI Bill was to have come up, but didn't.

But there's more. Some of the glowing photographs accompanying the TOI coverage of the Bt miracle were not taken in Bhambraja or Antargaon, villagers allege. “This picture is not from Bhambraja, though the people in it are” says farmer Babanrao Gawande from that village.

Phantom miracle

The Times of India story had a champion educated farmer in Nandu Raut who is also an LIC agent. His earnings shot up with the Bt miracle. “I made about Rs.2 lakhs the previous year,” Nandu Raut told me last September. “About Rs.1.6 lakh came from the LIC policies I sold.” In short, he earned from selling LIC policies four times what he earned from farming. He has seven and a half acres and a four-member family.

But the TOI story has him earning “Rs.20,000 more per acre (emphasis added) due to savings in pesticide.” Since he grew cotton on four acres, that was a “saving” of Rs. 80,000 “on pesticide.” Quite a feat. As many in Bhambraja say angrily: “Show us one farmer here earning Rs.20,000 per acre at all, let alone that much more per acre.” A data sheet from a village-wide survey signed by Mr. Raut (in The Hindu's possession) also tells a very different story on his earnings.

The ridicule that Bhambraja and Maregaon farmers pour on the Bt ‘miracle' gains credence from the Union Agriculture Minister's figures. “Vidarbha produces about 1.2 quintals [cotton lint] per hectare on average,” Sharad Pawar told Parliament on December 19, 2011. That is a shockingly low figure. Twice that figure would still be low. The farmer sells his crop as raw cotton. One-hundred kg of raw cotton gives 35 kg of lint and 65 kg of cotton seed (of which up to two kg is lost in ginning). And Mr. Pawar's figure translates to just 3.5 quintals of raw cotton per hectare. Or merely 1.4 quintals per acre. Mr. Pawar also assumed farmers were getting a high price of Rs.4,200 per quintal. He conceded that this was close to “the cost of cultivation… and that is why I think such a serious situation is developing there.” If Mr. Pawar's figure was right, it means Nandu Raut's gross income could not have exceeded Rs.5,900 per acre. Deduct his input costs — of which 1.5 packets of seed alone accounts for around Rs.1,400 — and he's left with almost nothing. Yet, the TOI has him earning “Rs.20,000 more per acre.”

Asked if they stood by these extraordinary claims, the Mahyco-Monsanto spokesperson said, “We stand by the quotes of our MMB India colleague, as published in the news report.” Ironically, that single-paragraph quote, in the full-page-news story-turned-ad, makes no mention of the Rs.20,000-plus per acre earnings or any other figure. It merely speaks of Bt creating “increased income of cotton growers…” and of growth in Bt acreage. It does not mention per acre yields. And says nothing about zero suicides in the two villages. So the company carefully avoids direct endorsement of the TOI's claims, but uses them in a marketing feature where they are the main points.

The MMB spokesperson's position on these claims is that “the journalists spoke directly with farmers on their personal experiences during the visits, resulting in various news reports, including the farmer quotes.”

The born-again story-turned-ad also has Nandu Raut reaping yields of “about 20 quintals per acre with Bollgard II,” nearly 14 times the Agriculture Minister's average of 1.4 quintals per acre. Mr. Pawar felt that Vidarbha's rainfed irrigation led to low yields, as cotton needs “two to three waterings.” He was silent on why Maharashtra, ruled by an NCP-Congress alliance, promotes Bt Cotton in almost entirely rainfed regions. The Maharashtra State Seed Corporation (Mahabeej) distributes the very seeds the State's Agriculture Commissioner found to be unsuited for rainfed regions seven years ago. Going by the TOI, Nandu is rolling in cash. Going by the Minister, he barely stays afloat.

Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech's ad barrage the same week in 2011 drew other fire. Following a complaint, one of the ads (also appearing in another Delhi newspaper) claiming huge monetary benefits to Indian farmers landed before the Advertising Standards Council of India. ASCI “concluded that the claims made in the advertisement and cited in the complaint, were not substantiated.” The MMB spokesperson said the company “took cognizance of the points made by ASCI and revised the advertisement promptly…. ASCI has, on record, acknowledged MMB India's modification of the advertisement…”

We met Nandu again as the Standing Committee MPs left his village in March. “If you ask me today,” he said, “I would say don't use Bt here, in unirrigated places like this. Things are now bad.” He had not raised a word during the meeting with the MPs, saying he had arrived too late to do so.

“We have thrown away the moneylender. No one needs him anymore,” The Times of India news report-turned-ad quotes farmer Mangoo Chavan as saying. That's in Antargaon, the other village the newspaper found to be basking in Bt-induced prosperity. A study of the 365 farm households in Bhambraja and the nearly 150 in Antargaon by the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) shows otherwise. “Almost all farmers with bank accounts are in critical default and 60 per cent of farmers are also in debt to private moneylenders,” says VJAS chief Kishor Tiwari.

The Maharashtra government tried hard to divert the MPs away from the ‘model village' of Bhambraja (and Maregaon) to places where the government felt in control. However, Committee Chairperson Basudeb Acharia and his colleagues stood firm. Encouraged by the MPs visit, people in both places spoke their minds and hearts. Maharashtra's record of over 50,000 farm suicides between 1995 and 2010 is the worst in the country as the data of the National Crime Records Bureau show. And Vidarbha has long led the State in such deaths. Yet, the farmers also spoke of vast, policy-linked issues driving agrarian distress here.

None of the farmers reduced the issue of the suicides or the crisis to being only the outcome of Bt Cotton. But they punctured many myths about its miracles, costs and ‘savings.' Some of their comments came as news to the MPs. And not as paid news or a marketing feature, either.

(Disclosure: The Hindu and The Times of India are competitors in several regions of India.)

The Times of India response

@Mini, Innovative solutions is not a newspapers job. Innovative solutions come from us the citizens. A newspaper's job is to tell teh truth. What the tabloids like TOI do is keep the citizens of the country unaware of the current situation. This time TOI went ahead and fabricated news. As a person reading TOI, one would think everything is fine from the cotton front and never focus on it. Hence to no innovative solutions come out. To go somewhere, we should know where we are. If we are misinformed about where we are, no doubt we wouldn't go anywhere. Don't confuse news with innovation. News is just to tell you the truth. Which is in no way a small step. If competition gets you the truth, why not? I suggest you start from yourself for innovation. What The Hindu has done over the past 5 years in its news print/site front is innovative enough.

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Jun 12, 2012 at 11:45 IST

Truly shocking! But thanks for the exposure
Wajahat

from:  Wajahat Habibullah
Posted on: Jun 12, 2012 at 07:51 IST

It's time that newspapers start showing some good news like suggesting
some new and innovative solutions to the problems rather than immaturely
fighting the most trivial battles among themselves because the society
also consists of people who are smart enough to understand intentions
behind their "so called" research.

from:  Mini
Posted on: May 21, 2012 at 23:14 IST

The Hindu is 1000 times better than The Times of India.

from:  Paras Vikmani
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 19:36 IST

The deafening silence on the part of Monsanto and The Times of India (TOI) to Sainath’s piece titled “Reaping gold through cotton, and newsprint” (The Hindu, 09 May 2012) more than anything else testifies to the impeccability of the article. It is, indeed, shocking that even after the facts have been laid bare about the deceptive “news” that the TOI had published on 31 October 2008 and which was reproduced as “A consumer connect initiative” (i.e., as an advertisement) in the TOI on 28 August 2011, neither Monsanto nor the TOI has rendered an apology to the public for indulging in false propaganda. While readers of the TOI continue to remain oblivious of the truth, Monsanto and the TOI stoically remain unrepentant and unaccountable for publishing the deceptive “news” and the concocted advertisement.
Biotechnology may prove to be highly beneficial to agriculture if it applied with stringent precautions and with a sense of responsibility and commitment towards human society and the environment. On the contrary, mere greed for higher profits, which is the motivating factors that propelled companies like Monsanto to enter the field, would prove to the bane of biotechnology for society at large.
It is hoped that The Hindu would take up the matter the Press Council of India and the Advertising Standards Council of India for initiating appropriate action against The Time of India and Monsanto for misleading the public with deceptive news and false advertisements. It is also hoped that the said Parliamentary Committee, chaired by Mr.Basudev Acharya, will make appropriate recommendations to the Parliament in this regard.
N.D.Jayaprakash
16 May 2012

from:  N.D.Jayaprakash
Posted on: May 16, 2012 at 18:09 IST

Good job "The Hindu"
It is sad to see a well-known newspaper publishing news for money. I wonder what happened to those people who believed the news and planted BT cotton ?
As far as i know you have been doing the best job in presenting the news as it is and is good for the society.
I really wish Hindu to keep up the standards

from:  Subash
Posted on: May 16, 2012 at 15:35 IST

It is a well known tragedy that the multi national seed corporations are making huge profits at the expense of our farmers by selling poor quality seeds to them with the covert and overt support of our government and planners. However, the fact that even our media, instead of safegaurding the interests of the farmers, is lying on behalf of the MNCs is not a good sign for the future of our country. Congratulations to Shri P Sainath for once again bringing to the fore the the dirty games being played against our hapless farmers in this neo liberal era.

from:  V Ananthakrishnan
Posted on: May 15, 2012 at 16:12 IST

Very interesting article, exposing the Times of India. Thank you Sri Sainath, nation expect a lot more from you.

from:  baburaj
Posted on: May 15, 2012 at 15:36 IST

A great piece from P Sainath the author of "EVERY ONE LOVES A GOOD DRAUGHT".The article of sainath reminds me Devid Kortens book "CORPORATIONS RULE THE WORLD".In todays world which is ruled by corporations the common mans hope lies in Journalists like Sainath and News paper like Hinhu.I hope Hindu will keep it up.I hope Hindu will publish some of the international operations of Monsanto so readers understand their real colour.

from:  Jose.T.Abraham
Posted on: May 15, 2012 at 14:39 IST

Mr.sainath You unveiled the mask of corrupted journalism and corporates interests in constructing a news.

from:  sreejith.vellur
Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 23:38 IST

The Hindu plays real watchdog. The Hindu is a hope.

from:  Vinod Patil
Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 20:44 IST

@Vishnu Kadekodi
I don;t know if PCI can take autonomous actions. You could go to PCI site and launch a complaint. Also, you can read up the prerequisite for the complaint. One of them is talking to the editor of the newspaper. Which I guess "The Hindu" has already done and mentioned in this article. Not sure about other steps :). If you are very very interested. I am not used to raising complaints, I just totally removed TOI from my life (and other such tabloids)

from:  Karthik
Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 19:19 IST

Thanks galore Mr. Sainath for holding the conscience of Indian
journalism high. People of the country should know how gullible news
paper readers are hoodwinked everyday by such Big names of Indian
journalism like Times of India. It is time for the agile Press Council
of India Chairman, Retired Hon'ble Justice M. Katzu, to take
cognizance of such offence, which is worst than "paid news",and seek
explanation from ToI how their news item could find place into the
advertisement by Monsanto on wonders of Bt-cotton verbatim. It shows
how the big media are jettisoning the cause of poor farming community
of our country and deceiving them every minute through feeding of
trash. The future of Indian pro-people, objective journalism is only
safe in the hands of dedicated journalists like Mr. Sainath, who
called the profession as a 'calling' while the media is 'corporate' in
a recent seminar titled "Future of Indian Agriculture and role of
NABARD" organised by nabard emp assn. at delhi on 9 May.

from:  Rana Mitra
Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 18:20 IST

Time has its own way of revealing the truth. Great to have this from 'The Hindu'.

from:  Balaraddi
Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 16:53 IST

Though Sainath has chosen the words carefully, it is clear from the
reader's comments that the article is as much an indictment of the Bt-
cotton technology and its promoters as it is of "paid news" . Many
readers have drawn a conclusion that the positive news about the
technology was only due to the inducements provided by the purveyors
of that technology. In that case, what do you make of the story which
appeared on November, 11, 2008, in The Hindu entitled, "Ryots happy
with Bt cotton -yield up, input cost reduced". This story was filed
by The Hindu's staff reporter after visiting Duggondi, a village in
the Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh. Would that also qualify as
"paid news"? I would want to believe that it is honest reporting. I
hope Sainath's article does not mislead the reader into passing an
adverse judgement over GM technologies, which I firmly believe, can
address some of the hitherto intractable problems plaguing Indian
agriculture.

from:  K. K. Narayanan
Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 15:38 IST

TOI has been pathertic from last 2-3 years.I always read TOI before but its reporting standards has gone beyond acceptable levels.Even if you go through TOI's website it looks like as softcore porn site.. I have been so baffled that I had switched to print version of 'The Hindu' also.

from:  prashant
Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 13:44 IST

It's really shocking! its really disturbing to see TOI presenting self cooked stories. i really want to thank The Hindu for presenting the real side of the scenario..

from:  Aakanksha Sharma
Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 10:58 IST

Thankfully my Hyderabad colleague introduced The Hindu to me few years back. I felt ashamed that I read TOI for the past 12 years. I realized over a period that I have not been getting the true state of the nation through the paid news reporting in TOI. It is high time that the Press Council of India takes congnizence of such reports and hands out appropriate penalities to such newspapers.

from:  Pradeep Yadav
Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 01:13 IST

Thanks to The Hindu for bringing to light the scandalous report by a newspaper. Sensational news and paid news has been a curse on the so called mass circulation newspapers in India. Times of India's reporting to glorify the benefits of Bt Cotton surely is a shamefully unethical journalism. As a neutral reader we don't want to read paid news. My blood pressure increases significantly when I see such contrary to fact reports appear in the form of legitimate news. Such reports not only undermine the journalistic responsibility but also mislead the nation towards dangerously notorious, nature-defying, self-benefiting technologies that wipe off the original plant DNAs that have provided safe food to the entire human race for thousands of years - thereby make the farmers slaves of multi-national companies.

from:  U N Manjunatha
Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 01:03 IST

Great Piece of Work again by P. Sainath. Kudos to Sainath and Hindu! I think it would be appreciated much if the author responds back after reading the comments from various people!Jai Hind!

from:  Kumar
Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 00:50 IST

Mr.sainath,you have done a great job...Unveiled the mask of corrupted and motivated journalism.thank you.

from:  sreejith.k.vellur
Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 00:11 IST

Great journalistic effort by the Hindu. Now we know that even mainstream newspapers like the Times of India are susceptible to paid journalism.

from:  Daniel S Mahanty
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 20:04 IST

I have been reading THE HINDU for the past 35 years - That I have settled down in the west has changed nothing! I am on this website everyday, to get the most authentic news about where I was born. Growing up, I was always told that reading the news in THE HINDU was like reading from the 'Government Gazette&quot' - so authentic & true was (and is) the news published here.
I do not badmouth anything or anybody easily. That said, I have no problem in saying this - Business is not always a matter of numbers, & money, but also ethics, integrity and truth. The Times of India may be big in numbers, but how do it score in the integrity department? Distorting news, half truths, screaming headlines (that have little with the story beneath) have been the forte of TOI.
If growth, circulation, & money alone matter, they could be the #1. To me that does not matter - to spread truth fairly, with no fear is hard to practice. Kudos to THE HINDU for following that line!

from:  Seshadri
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 17:28 IST


Dear Sir,
This response is with reference to the op-ed “Reaping gold through cotton, and newsprint” written by Sh. P. Sainath published in your esteemed paper on May 10, 2012.

While the article primarily focuses on the sensitive issue of media jurisprudence in covering a much-debated topic, it regrettably undermines the immense scope of biotechnology to boost Indian agriculture. The first biotech product of Bt. cotton is well-accepted by the farmers in far greater measures than any other technology generated in the recent past; it is understandable that the rest of the population especially the urban elite have some concerns and these are to be debated and scientific solutions are to be applied. However, such debates should not hinder any further development of new products to solve the yet unsolved constraints for improvement of major crops by deploying biotechnology tools already proven safe and useful world-over.

Admittedly, the flight of some small farmers, especially in dryl

from:  Nadoor Seetharama
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 12:50 IST

Dear Editor,

Very good investigation by Shri P Sainath. Will PTI/ Parliament take
some action on TOI for publishing paid news ?
It as a news here in Australia when former environmental minister Mr.
Jairam Ramesh declined to permit BT Brinjal experiment. Many local
farmers felt happy about that. The genetically modified Canola is
permitted to grow here with a lot of precautions and wide community
consultations. Why can't it happen in India ?
Thanks to Hindu for uplifting the morale of journalism.

from:  Vishnu Kadekodi
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 10:26 IST

Great Job, The Hindu! Can we see more coverage on the agrarian crisis India's facing. My congratulations to Shri P Sainath for the excellent article he has written

from:  Sumal
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 09:32 IST

TOI has done a incalculable harm to Indians by blinding the
parliamentarians. TOI must be charged with criminal offence.

from:  sachin
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 23:52 IST

Absolutely Fabulous! If TOI is capable of this kind of deals with one of the most irresponslible corporations in the world, what kind of credibility can we give to any of their journalism? Have we crossed the point where Times no more has to rely on their readers, and now only feel accountable to their advertisers and business partners. How much of their editorial contents is journalism any more?

from:  Juha Rekola
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 22:54 IST

Another great article by Sainath. Thanks Hindu!

from:  Krishna V
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 20:23 IST

Monsanto is an evil company and TOI is sold to such companies. Lobbying and corruption in India is responsible for such irresponsible journalism by Times of India.

from:  Mishra
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 19:21 IST

There is hope for India when journalists like Sainath show the endless
gap between the haves and have-nots in the country. As one of the
comments rightly elucidate that awareness is vital if "we wish to see
our Indian masses become aware and make the efforts to get out of the
utter poverty that their politicians keep them in." I can strongly
recommend Sainath's book titled "Everybody loves a good drought" for
those who are keen to learn more about our country's downtrodden.

from:  Digvijay Singh
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 19:12 IST

THE HINDU the only English Newspaper with Rural Editor post and
P.Sainath the only English Agriculture journalist in INDIA have
together exposed the unethical standards of reporting 'paid stories'
which helps global marketing of agriculture products in INDIA at the
expense of sustainable INDIAN products.'True stories' always triumphs
than the 'Paid Stories'.

As INDIA has been identified as one the huge market of agriculture
products by MNC ,exposure like this will help in protecting the INDIAN
FARMERS.

THE INDIAN FARMER needs agriculture journalist like P.Sainath and
newspaper like THE HINDU for their battle against MNC.

My request that THE HINDU and P.SAINATH train rural youths in
Agriculture Journalism to REPORT more 'TRUE STORIES' to help the
INDIAN FARMERS survival against multipronged unethical attacks by MNC
through media.


from:  balaji arjunan
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 18:56 IST

Having lived in different parts of India and having seen all newspapers in India, I cannot imagine a day not waking up to The Hindu. I agree with an earlier comment that there is no competition to The Hindu. My faith is corroborated by this brilliant investigative piece which exposes unethical journalisim from an important pillar of democracy. Even though now I live in Muscat (Sultanate of Oman), I am having The Hindu delivered at home, albiet with one day delay. Keep up the Good Work.

from:  Lakshminarasimhan
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 13:19 IST

To me, the greatest sorrow of this report was the large drop in ethics of Times of India with respect to farmers. Two decades ago, in 1992, when journalism was getting consumerist, and Sainath felt the need for rural reporting, there was no rural beat in India. Sainath's career as a rural journalist began with a TOI fellowship that enabled him to travel the country and report from rural areas - and it grew into this massive body of work this man has produced. Today, it is really sad that it is Times of India that is exposed for utter duplicity and misrepresenting farming realities to promote policies harmful for them.

from:  Vidyut
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 11:46 IST

one reader said that TOI is the mouthpiece of congress. So also is the Hindu mouthpiece of DMK? That more than 50000 farmers had committed suicide has not bothered these papers nor the MPs (That is why someone said Rapists and criminals throng the LOK SABHA).
MPs and MLAs should remember that more one lakh curses a day will not go in vain!

from:  rajan
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 10:21 IST

I am reading The Hindu and Frontline since my school days. Though I personally prefer The Hindu over TOI, I am intrigued by the fact that Frontline also publishes Impact Features. How this impact feature which often run multi pages coverage of industries/private universities, advertiseents in Frontline differ from paid news.

from:  C.Vigneshwaran
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 07:30 IST

problems problems problems...but not a word about solutions.Please talk
about solutions sir.

from:  fransis R
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 07:30 IST

Please do not victimize Bt-cotton: Obviously this so-called
investigative journalism exposes the ugly professional rivalry between
The Hindu and Times of India, using Bt-cotton as only a pretext.
Please spare this technology that has benefitted over 60 lakh cotton
farmers and their families in our country. Bt-cotton has proved its
safety and benefits since 2002 in India and for over 15 years in ten
other countries. It has significantly contributed to increase in
cotton yields due to effective control of bollworms, drastic reduction
in chemical sprays and attractive profits to farmers thereby improving
their social and economic conditions. Therefore, there is an ever-
increasing demand for its seeds despite unsubstantiated allegations
and protests by certain activists which received prominent coverage in
media. One expects a reputed news paper like The Hindu to be unbiased
and also publish positive contributions of Bt-cotton rather than only
negative reports as in recent years.

from:  T. M. Manjunath
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 07:10 IST

Fundamental to this business model of the multinationals is greed.Greed
can only wreak devastation.

from:  Nasar
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 02:37 IST

Not surprising. I do not have high hopes from TOI anyway!

from:  Shweta
Posted on: May 11, 2012 at 21:21 IST

I would like to congratulate the editorial board of THE HINDU for publishing this importnat and eye opener article by Sainath. It is shocking to hear the standards followed at Times of India (TOI)for bringing disrespect to the media for publishing such paid stories. The response from their team is highly irresponsible and it shows that they are handin gloves with the Monstato company to influence the Parliament decision on GM food. It should follow some ethics in reporting and should take appropriate action against responsible people. The state and the press council should also take action against TOI for publishing paid news as news and promoting false stories to the public. I request The HINDU to provide leadership in exposing such stories and promote ethics. We have seen what has been happening to Murdoc group in UK, hope this story will not repeat here in Indai; unfortunately our systems are very week to take action agaisnt such reports. Hope Justice Ktaju take note of it.

from:  Akumar
Posted on: May 11, 2012 at 16:49 IST

Mr.P.Sainaths's article gives the real picture on the ground.
The claims that no farmer has committed suicide may be false and the monetary benefits from Bt Cotton may be untrue.
But the article must have given the scientific reasons as to why BT Cotton is harmful, if it is. The MPs/committee can analyse the overall benefits and take a decision to pass a legislation. If BT is a boon, as claimed by many, I do not understand why it should not be allowed. Exposure of TOI reaping gold in the process is well made out. Readers would look forward to know the quantum of benefit too.

from:  Viji
Posted on: May 11, 2012 at 16:13 IST

Another piece of excellence from Mr. P. Sainath! Thanks for showing what
true 'class' is. A special thanks as I belong to Vidarbha too.

from:  kunal khade
Posted on: May 11, 2012 at 13:17 IST

I recently switched from TOI to Hindu and what a remarkable difference it has made to my awareness! Whereas I used to finish TOI in 15 minutes and was left with the feeling that I am deprived of quality news and editorials ( which are often biased), I feel like reading Hindu all day; the quality of news and editorial content is I guess the best.

from:  Amit
Posted on: May 11, 2012 at 12:34 IST

The crux of the report is still the farmers sucides. "TOI" needs sensitisation on rural reporting. PAID NEWS SYNDROME aka PNS do send wrong signals to nation/state and the people.Eventuality of this kind of reporting will have a bleak future, not to the papers. It puts the honest voices in peril.
Journalism used to signal the people and their govt. the times we are living in.

from:  sunny
Posted on: May 11, 2012 at 11:10 IST

Now everyone of you readers must spread this message around to stop the BRAI bill which the Congress is trying to pass .I will give you the details in 2 parts .
IF THIS GOVT HAS ITS WAY , a new bill - the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) bill can be tabled anytime again in the next Parliament session and all efforts wil be made to pas it . This bill will create a body which will single handedly approve GM crops entry in our country.
The Bill attempts to impose an undemocratic, secretive system that cannot be challenged under the laws of the country. The most egregious of these provisions is Section 63 which allows for imprisonment and hefty fines for "whoever, without any evidence or scientific record, misleads the public about the safety of the organisms and products in Schedule I". Besides, the proposed law will override other statutes like the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the Environment Protection Act.
The BRAI Bill is a draconian and blatant attempt to bulldoze through the public resistance and genuine concerns about genetically modified crops, and to deny state governments their constitutional authority over Agriculture and Health,” according to Kavitha Kuruganti of the Coalition for a GM-Free India..
Food safety is crucial to our health and that of our future generations. Unfortunately our current government has been overlooking the interests of the citizens and promoting genetically-modified (GM) crops, that has already wrecked havoc in other places on the globe . Our food faces the MOST DANGEROUS threat of genetic modification. Efforts are on to genetically modify our food crops by inserting alien genes from bacteria, viruses etc. which are potentially dangerous for our health and our environment. This Bill will let the big guns in . Multinational teams like the American 'Monsanto' specially ,is looking at India as its big emergent market.

from:  RALPH PAUL
Posted on: May 11, 2012 at 11:02 IST

Quite a shocking story! Great job Hindu ! One wonders if TOI and or
Monsanto has given any soundbites after this ? What a shame!

from:  Deepa S Sriram
Posted on: May 11, 2012 at 10:01 IST

The Fourth Estate has responsibility of nation building too...But they have become just profit mongers....Great Work done by The Hindu and shame on these sold out media houses ...be it electronic (NDTV and Star in particular) or print...I had stopped reading this ToI a long time back....it promotes gossipping no substantial news....

from:  bhaskar Singh Negi
Posted on: May 11, 2012 at 09:27 IST

Great peice of article. Another feather on your cap. Superb ! ! !

from:  Sumesh R Bhat
Posted on: May 11, 2012 at 07:11 IST

Usually Sainath's article makes me think for a long time with issues,
causes and proposed fixes. And this article had to go more than it
did. It ended abruptly and nothing stays in the mind except the
expose. Paid news should be exposed, but do it without compromising on
your objective. If only exposing TOI was the objective. I shall stop
here. Threat of BT has been on the rise. Not all of us know it's implications in full. This kind of article should have given prominence for that. Felt let down by Sainath for the first time.

from:  Dev
Posted on: May 11, 2012 at 03:56 IST

Thank-you for good journalism.Monsanto should be thrown out of India.Another subject you should also focus on is why
there are no laws against use of asbestos in housing materials. It is
imported in vast quantities by India from Canada.It causes lung cancer
and is banned in Canada, USA, Britain and other European countries.The poor in India use it for roofing.There will be a huge number of lung cancer cases in future in India.

from:  Suriakant Shah
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 23:48 IST

Good article, let the truth prevail.

from:  prakash
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 22:26 IST

I really don't know how the BT seeds are the reason when there are
multitude of problems for their suicides. The author and the
commentators all are painting BT seeds and Monsanto as they are
monstrous and all they do is evil.
When farmers are at free to choose what they want to sow then how can
you blame others ?
Any company's motto is to make money and so are the farmers. Then how
come companies are evil and farmers are saints when both are working
for money. If it is producing spurious seeds with false claims then
it's a different mater. Why are you blaming the company for what it is
established?
If you people are really championing farmers cause educate them instead
of producing this kind of " champion of social cause" articles. Educate
them to change crops every year, rational use of pesticides,
fertilizers like that instead producing this social articles which
brings nothing but sympathy. And stop implicating BT seeds, big
companies to suicides.

from:  Narasimha
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 22:26 IST

TOI is in recent days is a newspaper full of ads,supplements with more ads and extraordinary news.A once great newspaper is into a different genre.fortunately for many of us, we still have responsible newspapers not given to sensationalism and only factual reporting.The Hindu belongs to this class and retains a lot of credibility for the reader.

from:  H.N.Ramakrishna
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 22:18 IST

Excellent Article by Sainath, It's important that more such paid news articles are exposed and true reporting occurs exposing the malafide interests.

from:  Vivek
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 22:02 IST

Cant expect anything better than this from TOI, they have corrupted journalism to such an
extent that a newspaper is no different then any soap and detergent company where sales
and profits are the only criteria of success..

from:  Aditya
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 21:50 IST

I recall during our childhood days we would say 'Hindu' is history.
We would not expect any false reporting. So heartening to see it has remained the same. Please stay the same. Hopefully it is still family-owned. Do not forever go 'corporate'. What is happening in most parts of the world is media - newspapers, tv, magazine and all - are controlled by the corporate clan, where truth is concealed and manipuated, planted pieces of news hit the front pages to influence the mobs. We need more people like Mr. N. Ram if we wish to see our Indian masses become aware and make the efforts to get out of the utter poverty that their politicians keep them in.

from:  mohamed riaz
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 21:38 IST

Wonderful write up and display of false news. Kudos to Mr.P.Sainath and
THE HINDU. It is very easy for we public to believe news from newspapers
wholesomely. Hardly a few might have noticed the reprint. It is nice to
see we have a hard working team(THE HINDU) to bring such issues to
light. Appreciate your social consciousness.

from:  Harish Kumar
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 21:23 IST

The article exposes the double standards at various level (Media, Govt. and the public too). Times of India has long seized to be a reliable news paper (I even don't know if it was one in the first place as compared to the Express, Hindu or Hindustan Times). They have always craved for sensational news and that's how they present it (What people would like to read and not what actual fact is). However, they do go to the truth when it comes to exposing their rivals......I stopped reading that news papper long long ago....I used to buy that newspaper as I could not get The Hindu or Express delivered on time when I was in a not so well connected part of Central India. Though The Hindu and Express have evolved over time to keep up with the trend I still beleive in their reporting standards which makes them the best.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 21:23 IST

Frankly, this news doesn't come as quite a shock to me. But what is important that Hindu should publish this news in print media. Not many people would have an access to this online news item. Please print this news item on your front page edition to let people of India know about the unscrupulous activities of TOI!!!

from:  Ashutosh
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 20:42 IST

It is not the Sachin's who deserve Bharat Ratna, it is the likes of Sainath's. Corporate mask has been ripped open. Corpoarte media's reputation lies tattered. Thanx for the expose. The Hindu continues its great tradition under the new chief Siddharth Varadharajan.

from:  govindan vp
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 20:36 IST

I never waste time running through the "Times of India" It used to be the best paper
for top class articles in the past but unfortunately has degenerated into a cheap
tabloid with front page news about which Bollywood actor is sleeping with whom and
101 ways to attract a man or similar such stories. The rest is all propaganda or paid
news by the corporates who run our country after propping up puppets to put in
legislations that give them everything they need to make huge profits at the expense
of the environment, people and our fundamental rights. It's really time for the people
of this country to start enlightening themselves and begin to look for solutions to
curb this blatant mis reporting through paid news.

from:  angeli alvares
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 20:33 IST

excellent piece of jounalism. many thanks to the hindu management and p
sainath garu.govt of india should initiate action for this type of fake
nrws from toi. plz continue this type of highly integrity journalism.
thanks to MR N Ram garu.

from:  trivikrama raju
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 20:27 IST

As always Mr.P. SAINATH - great work sir. Hats off to you for exposing
some of the rotting side of Indian journalism.

from:  Krishna
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 20:25 IST

Dear Hindu, why are you not coming to Bombay? How long will we have to
wait for your Bombay edition? We are tired of rubbish and paid news
being published by The Times of India. So, please start an edition in
Bombay. In any case, Bombay has a huge South Indian population who
wish to read The Hindu. Even other people love The Hindu. You must
start editions in major towns of Maharashtra like Nagpur, Pune and
Bombay. The Hindu is not merely a South Indian newspaper. It seems to
be the only newspaper which is really serious about news. You already
have a good readership in New Delhi. You also publish The Hindu
BusinessLine from Bombay. So what stops you from launching a Bombay
edition of The Hindu? Great journalists like P Sainath sit here in
Bombay, but strangely, you have no edition here. Several people here
in Bombay read The Hindu's online edition and we all love to read your
esteemed newspaper. So why this hesitation in launching a Bombay
edition of The Hindu?

from:  Sameer Deshpande
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 20:18 IST

Another exemplary piece revealing cruel but hard facts. Also shows the supremacy of professional journalism against the corporate journalism.

from:  Asjadul Kibria
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 20:12 IST

Bravo Mr. Sainath!
A few journalists like you are India's hope for great future.
Satyameva Jayate!

from:  Srinivas
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 20:08 IST

I can't believe how criminal is the behaviour of TOI reporter and editor. Compiling all lies and publishing it as truth and betraying the people of the nation for the money! Absolutely unbelievable. I am not a fan of TOI for its publishing of anti-culture, insensitive articles, displaying porn in its web edition front page (In Hot on the Web section and else where - today's TOI page and all the times) but spreading of this false information is absolutely unexpected.

from:  Vishnu
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 19:31 IST

Times of India's bluff has been called...good...but the fact is also
that this is what much of the Indian media today is all about --print
and visual. If someone of grat integrity like Prannoy Roy can land in
trouble due to bad company, and have egg on his face too, what else
can't happen? There's news behind the news, and money behind the news
and views. A bit of the Radia tapes exposed what was just the tip of
the ice berg. TOI is known for long to have thrown all scruples to
wind, and still retains its winning end if only for the reason the
rest of the media is too weak to stand up and give it a real fight;
which cost HT dearly in Delhi long ago; and the DH in Bangalore more
recently. With the sound base TH has in Chennai, it might not be as
easy for TOI there and elsewhere in the South.

from:  prem
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 19:20 IST

How many farmer suicides will it take the govt of India to ban Monsanto, Syngenta, Cargil and Bayer ? How many farmer suicides will it take the Indian people to realize that farmers in themselves are more important to the nation's long term economy and self-sustainability than any other class of "educated" people. Our farmers deserve more and I congratulate P.Sainath on this honest and sincere journalism.

from:  Ashish
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 19:10 IST

Excellent Op Ed which is an expose of the dubious policies of TOI. When
they are strict about commercial write up what is this ? So there are
no policies followed if a full page ad is repeated by a firm or ad
agency.

from:  S. Raghunathan West Mambalam Chennai
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 18:34 IST

@Ankit Chandra. Alas! The USA is the epicenter of all these mendacious
promotions and applications of Frankenstein agriculture. Please look
around and see the results of the fake food the American populace feed
on. You'll observe that they extensively obesity, suffer attention
deficiency, hyper activity, allergy, diabetes etc. At least Indian
corruption is not as legalised as in the States.
By the way, the TOI owned by Saha Jain is the largest English
circulation newspaper in the World. Who needs the Murdochs when India
already has Saha. His ancestors served as treasurers to the Mughals. The
path in life the Jains take is of non-violence to all living beings that
is all flora and fauna in order to attain Siddham and be no longer
subject to Karma. Assisting in the introduction of fake flora resulting
in destructive consequences is a revocation of their set path and
acceptance of Karma. Saha's next life would porbably be the bug gene
Monsanto splices into its next patented Franken seed.

from:  rajagopal raman
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 18:32 IST

Wonderful job Mr.Sainath and The Hindu ! I feel proud to be a regular reader of your newspaper !

from:  Umesh Kesavan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 18:14 IST

Thanks to P. Sainath for bringing such story in light which is paid by
MNC. He has been diligently pursuing the matter that why Govt had to
take cognizance of grave situation of Vidarbha. Now there are no
newspaper left which can bring the plight of masses except The Hindu.

from:  Rahul Wathodkar
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 18:12 IST

this a blatant violation of trust by a newspaper (TOI). there should be a stringent law on
paid news as it is equivalent to cheating people. I am wondering how many issues are
being hijacked by corporates like this one.

from:  Sivakumar Sambandan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 18:06 IST

Its a well known fact what TOI are upto(some others are still poor). The problem with media is the
probing or further punishment is woefully short. What happened to the allegations over Bharkha and
Vir shangvi. What happened to the same TOI after the paid news episode in Maharastra.? Even Press
council of India did woefully short of what would be appropriate. The big question is , is self
regulation is sufficient...?

from:  Saravana vivek
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 18:06 IST

This is not about the competition between newspapers. Any person with some reading experience of national or regional papers in India knows that Hindu is far better than any others. It is a shame on the Indian fourth estate that our celebrated press freedom has created nothing but a group of "loudspeakers" of the rich and influential. It shows that even a newspaper like TOI with a good market share and good financial position can be this easily lured by money and can sing to the tunes of MNCs who are turning our soil to experiment labs and our citizens to guinea pigs.
Kudos to the Hindu and P.Sainath who continues to do a great work. It is a treat to read him. His criticism is to the point and acts as a wake up call to the slumbering millions of this nation.

from:  Faseem T
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 17:59 IST

Just Stay ahead of Times ...

from:  Laxminag Mamillapalli
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 17:20 IST

Another good work by Mr. Sainath and so the journalism is not extinct yet! I always read Mr. Sainath without missing, but it should not be overkill and most importantly it should not create technophobia among farmers, worst among officials. This article is about journalistic fraud bedding with agri-business. As author clearly states in the last para, the suicide is not exclusively due to Bt cotton, but the impression one get is mix-up of both issue. Any business oriented companies do whatever to maximize the profit – that is the heart of capitalism. It is the newspaper which has to maintain its ethics. It is still debatable whether Bt cotton is dud or partial success story. Mr. Sainath's early articles clearly showed it is not wonder seed for all farmers. My request to Mr. Sainath is to write a positive story about successful small scale farming in India. If there is no such story exit, then it is not just distressing, we are in the era of genocide with official complicity.

from:  arul
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 17:19 IST

P.Sainath- yet again. KUDOS and Thanks

from:  Dr.Himanshu
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 17:10 IST

The Times Of India ceased to be a NEWS paper long ago. Its core competence is paid news, private treaties, Bombay Times gossip and Medianet which is used to publish fake news for money. The British press are having a ball with India's paid news phenomenon. Yesterday the Times of India made news in the Sunday Times, London, with a story called "India's media demand cash to run favourable news." The reporter Nicola Smith described how she called up TOI's paid news arm Medianet pretending to be the PR agent of a company that wanted coverage for its party at an exclusive shopping mall. She was quoted different rates for the front page of the Delhi Times supplement (£27 a centimetre) and for an inside page (£16). The Greenslade Blog in the Guardian then picked up the Sunday Times story and used it as a peg for a column called "India's dodgy 'paid news' phenomenon". All this is known. But readers seem to live the junk which The Times of India puts out. Why?

from:  Sangeeta Jindal
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 17:04 IST

Top notch article from Sainath. 'The times of India' newspaper is totally bereft of journalistic ethics and I only hope PCI takes note of this and award a heavy fine for indulging in paid news.

from:  vivek
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 16:57 IST

Really excellent article. Sainath has done good work.

from:  kannan srinivasan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 16:48 IST

Your Disclosure says that " The Hindu and The Times of India are competitors in several regions of India." But i have not seen any competition between you and TOI for same space.

from:  LOLO
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 16:45 IST

Monsanto admits that Bt cotton, ineffective against pest in parts of Gujarat. Surprisingly Monsanto does concede that resistant strains can emerge. The claim that pesticides need not be used in large quantities now seems misconceived. As suggested by the company to switch to second generation of GM products gives no assurance that resistance will not develop. It will only force the farmers to buy a costlier seed with the same problem after some time. Insects are smart. They have been around the world for the last 500 million years and they are the most varied form of life and after bacteria they constitute the second largest species. Insect abundance is to be found in the huge swarms of locusts and when they descend they can consume about 3000 tons of food daily. They can endure extremes of temperature. Insects in tropical countries are believed to develop resistance faster than their cousins in temperate zones. Resistance is an innate characteristic and is a process akin to natural selection.Richard Dawkins in his recent book The Greatest Show on Earth dwells at length on this. Gene manipulation is not going to faze the insects. Insects can become resistant to GM technology given that the battle against insect borne diseases is still to be won. It is also true No Insects or bacteria no life! Monsanto in US is facing antitrust actions. They recently sued to force organic milk providers to declare on their boxes that Monsanto-produced hormones are not proven to be dangerous, making this perhaps the first time in the history of a company.

from:  H.N.Ramakrishna
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 16:23 IST

Fantastic work by editor. It is known for the while about the paid advertisement/news, but with little proof. With the publication of article/advertisement in TOI repeatedly with glove in hand with BT Cotton has made mockery of free press. I hope to see such editorial which deals with corrupt practices in all fields. God bless editor and Hindu publishers

from:  Mahesh
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 16:21 IST

This is really a great piece of journalism. Before printing anything in a national newspaper, the credentials of the news should be thoroughly checked. Because crores of people are following the news. I salute The Hindu for impartial stand.

from:  BK Elizabeth
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 16:20 IST

Evil fangs of paid news wants to even leverage the distraught farmers. Everyone vilifies Justice Katju advocates strong measures against the menace of paid news. Hindu needs to expose more such frauds by other news papers like 'The Guardian' in the UK exposed MPs expenses and phone hacking by 'News of The World'. I am sure most newspapers and channels carry at least one paid news a day.

from:  Hemnath
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 16:17 IST

Simple Q : BT Cotton: Why is it that Maharashtra fails and Gujarat succeeds fabulously ?

from:  Gautam
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 16:07 IST

TOI is a sponsor of farmer suicide and a ticket to hell...

from:  Vijayasarathy
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 15:59 IST

My maternal uncle's home is in Maregaon, Photo of Cotton shown in TOI's paid news is not the picture of any single farmer's yield but the Picture of cotton collected in "Agriculture Product Marketing Committee Yard". This is no less than the insult of farmers. For six months I have been reading Hindu & I have never before seen so just news & quality newspaper in my life, Real motto of Journalism is to bring truth to fore, & Hindu is the only newspaper to do live up to it. Not just the Articles in Hindu but the comments by readers are also very intellectual; I really commend our trust worthy 'Watchdog'.

from:  Akshay
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 15:55 IST

Excellent. Sainath/ The Hindu, deserve full credit for once again showing the true colours or Times of India. Its high time that this farce of a profit making media firm shuts shop just like the News of the World. As for the farmers, its still tragedy for them. But they should come together and the wise ones should educate the others about misleading 'miracles'. Better say away from greedy 'genetics'!

from:  tattu
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 15:49 IST

Not sure why The Hindu has taken up this disclosure. Wish the move will be good for both The Hindu and TOI and us as a nation. I am sure there would be innumerable such instances of TOI by passing readers and people's faith considering its lack of Integrity, Credibility in its news and as well the Gibberish language that it uses.

from:  Ram Manoj
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 15:48 IST

What a research.. Respect - 'The Hindu' !!

from:  PC
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 15:26 IST

I dare the TOI to go back to Bhambraja and Antargaon, and prove their credibility by talking to the same set of guys. It'll be a golden opportunity to prove that the whole brand need not be blanketed (and there are good editorial decisions, and rank bad ones, like this) for I refuse to believe that they don't have reporters as incisive and bright as those at the Hindu. It's just a matter of applying themselves to the task of writing the truth, even if it means accepting that they erred this one time. Either ways, i hope we haven't heard the last on this, for the issue is far bigger than the Hindu or the TOI and their ego-clashes.

from:  mitali patwardhan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 15:15 IST

I hope The Hindu shows such unbiased views when it comes to issues like Srilankan Tamils.

from:  Arvind
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 15:11 IST

TOI is a newspaper which offers what is entertaining to most of the people. This is one of the reasons why TOI is the most selling newspaper in India. People should stop taking TOI and access its website which also generates money through ads based on the clicks TOI website receives. This would be a deterrent to TOI to publish such paid news and misguide its readers. The Hindu comes a day late to my place and mostly covers news from South but it is ok to read one day old news compare to paid news.

from:  Tapish
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 15:04 IST

i foresee this process to be the only way to come up with the ground reality......let competition prevail among the media while we get to see the truth evolving!!!!! although this might bring about a turmoil in the business....but at least after a long wait 'we, the people' will be in terms with truth!!!!!!!!

from:  sayani
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 14:55 IST

After all that we didn't rather know how the farmer can survive! this year almost 25 farmers had committed suicide in West Bengal.

from:  manos chakraborty
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 14:54 IST

The Hindu has once again proved that it is the embodiment of true journalism through this article. No doubt, this extradordinary story will be an inspiration for aspiring investigative journalists. The Hindu has always stuck to its strict code of ethics and still continues to be a watchdog of the society.Great work. Keep going Kudos to Sainath. Hail The Hindu

from:  Bakia Uthandaraman
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 14:49 IST

Arguments: 1) @sandeep. Not providing a solution/analysis. Solution will come when people are aware. When people are made delusional about the truth(TOI truth), solution will not appear because solution has to come from the people. Newspapers job is to report the truth. 2) @ravi hindu publishes without merit and selective articles. Sorry, at least it doesn't put fake paid news as informational news.

from:  karthik
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 14:45 IST

This is the reason why i switched to The Hindu from TOI.. On The Hindu not only you give u news of high standards but also improves your english

from:  Ameet
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 14:43 IST

this is true journalism, kudos to The Hindu well-balanced with social cause. please do have such reports regularly.

from:  Raj
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 14:43 IST

This can be called journalism of courage. What TOI does is certainly pay to print journalism. But this malady is not limited to TOI alone. Same game will be played by FDI players buying press to make entry into Indian market. Beware!!!

from:  Manch
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 14:15 IST

Well, there are newspapers and then there are tabloids and I know what I am getting if I am reading TOI.

from:  R. Saaj
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 14:04 IST

The Hindu is one of the very few newspapers that keeps journalism alive and simple. Fearless and straight forward journalism rich with facts and devoid of judgments is what we readers yearn for. We do not need half clad women, one night stands, escort coordinates featuring in main pages. We want news. That is what readers want. Hindu has been a constant source of learning for me and I thank your team for that. Dear TOI: Stop being marketers and start being journalists. View us as readers and not customers. There are better yet ethical companies who do a far responsible and commendable marketing job than you do. So stick to what your core competency is which is Journalism and for heaven's sake, start afresh, think responsible and be journalists. Not tabloid makers or paid news agency. I am sure you all mastered the art of journalism during your college days. For once put that art to use! We people will automatically wake up otherwise we will step ahead of times.

from:  Vishwanath M
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 14:02 IST

I am a great admirer of P.Sainath for his style of work, for the articles he writes for our rural India and for the way he presents the facts. Sainath - We have nowadays very few personalities to feel proud being Indian, and you surely is one among them. And as many pointed out already, TOI with all its 'sensationalisation' of news can never even be classified as an eligible competitor against The Hindu.

from:  Divakar Pai
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 13:53 IST

I have noticed that some times The Hindu also writes articles without any merit, and also some times selective articles. News should be news, not views.

from:  Ravi Ramireddy
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 13:48 IST

Hope you expose more of these false truths being spread by various
entities/people.

from:  Sandeep
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 13:10 IST

Instead of providing a solution/analysis, The Hindu has followed a path
like other other commercial newspapers and the emphasis is not the issue
but on TOI which is sad to see!!

from:  Shashank J
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 13:05 IST

The article's great, exposing TOI's sell-out to Monsanto. But, I
believe a better approach would've been to mention the TOI article
once or twice and focus more on the actual people who've suffered
because of this crop. Also, some detailed stats & links to the studies
mentioned would've helped.
This is similar to various uncertainty campaigns being run across the
world by big corporations. Big business using the media to make claims
about their products (while themselves remaining silent about the
issue) is nothing new & we should be vigilant while consuming such
information. On a scientific level, they know that they are going to
lose & so they cut out the scientific "mediators" & try to "leak"
information directly to the public who assume this information is
true, since it's been published by a trusted media outlet.

from:  Sandeep
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 13:05 IST

Strict action should be taken against newspapers which publish paid
news making readers believe what they write is
the "truth". They act as propaganda sheets for private interests while
masquerading as news papers! As for the continuing suicides among
subsistence farmers pushed towards high-input cost farming, it is a
shame that Pawar who is also from Maharashtra still sits tight in the
high seat of Agriculture ministry. Only a young energetic person who
is committed to farmers can make a change in this field and stem the
rot that is affecting this field.

from:  Rajnsh
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 12:53 IST

Yet another bold article by Sainath. No one can doubt the credibility of The Hindu. I have been a reader for over 40 years and I am sure will continue to be a patron as long as you maintain the high standards your have set for yourself.

from:  Eshwar
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 12:50 IST

Well done Mr. Sainath. The reporting and analyis have always been very good. In the present case, there is more credibility as the information has been substantiated by the one shared with the Parliamentary Committee. This article has exposed the TOI. Well done The Hindu.

from:  B.Vaidyanathan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 12:41 IST

Is this an attack on TOI or Bt Cotton and all GM crops? The article uses the TOI story to attack the whole concept of GM crops. The author talks about suicides and the fact that farmers are in debt. But nowhere does the author give any reasons for this.
But the suggestion is present strongly throughout the article that Bt cotton is the reason. In the end the author offers this tidbit - "None of the farmers reduced the issue of the suicides or the crisis to being only the outcome of Bt Cotton.". Wow!!!
remarkable. How did Bt Cotton lead to the crisis ? What are the other issues that led to the crisis? Which of these different issues played a prominent role in bringing about the crisis? No discussion or analysis. A sad state of affairs.

from:  Arun Mathews
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 12:38 IST

Thanks TH

from:  Gaurav
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 12:35 IST


I have been a reader of "The Hindu" from the time i have begun reading news, that
should be around 25 years. You guys have been a partner to me in all my learning
and development and i am a proud reader having said so.
I also appreciate the news of SIT closure report that was covered by your journalist in
a very 'factual and objective manner'. This shows your respect for judiciary and the responsibilities that you hold as a leading paper in influencing the masses.
I have a great respect for the entire Team- Hindu.

from:  Rajesh D
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 12:27 IST

"The Hindu"/Mr. Sai Nath,through this article questions , the timing
of endorsements and articles appearing in ToI , converging with that
of discussions on Bill in Lok Sabha. However, given the recent mutual
bashing indulged by The Hindu and ToI, in both print and E-media
,from timeline perspective, is not far from the present times of this
article! It is important that The Hindu, its age old credibility and
avoid entering mud slinging zone.

However, this article itself is robust in furnishing the facts and
arriving at conclusions , which debunk the forced glamour painted by
ToI & Monsanto partnership. TOI better arrive at new yardsticks to
measure your plunge in journalism levels.

from:  Ramachandra
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 12:24 IST

A fantastic article..3 mangoes in 1 stone? TOI wicket, Monsamto and BRAI..its fabulous and smart journalism..
I shud tell you that I have got atleast 10 mails forwarding this link since morning..This has seemingly touched so many people..
good show Sainath! amazing efforts..
thanks for your efforts..

from:  ananthoo
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 12:18 IST


I have seen time and again "The Hindu" substantiating its news with
concrete evidence and data. It sets a benchmark that I think TOI or
other papers cannot even dream of reaching.
I only hope that "The Hindu" increases its pan-India presence further.

Only a good newspaper (like "The Hindu") can bring India out of
darkness.

from:  Ajith
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 12:03 IST

There is a reason why people trust newspapers. This "paid-news" concept is completely intollerable and must dealt severely. I appreciate P. Sainath for reporting this. I hope the concerned govt authorities and media regulators have taken notice of this.

from:  Sathish
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 12:01 IST

This is one of the several reasons why I switched to the Hindu. Besides TOI regularly gives scantily clad pictures of women which are very disturbing

from:  santosh
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:58 IST

Well done guys, for exposing TOI and the likes. Though it wasn't very surprising.

from:  jai
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:54 IST

Now I can understand Why this is the only news paper which is referred by all IAS toppers. :) Great work!!!

from:  Suhail Dayer
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:52 IST

I am a fan of The Hindu, but this time I think u went too far. It was less of a news and more of a frustration against TOI. Earlier too u guys had exposed other News media houses like in the "Paid News" article, but those articles were more of a news. The news content in this article is far too less than the TOI's 'act'.

from:  Vaibhaw
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:45 IST

@tasneem
This article is about the TOI and paid news. Can we stick to that?

We can discuss importance of science and technology separately.

from:  Karthik
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:45 IST


The Hindu, has been the most trusted and genuine paper, is something... an open fact. What it publishes can hardly be doubted or challenged. Revelation about TOI is an eye opener. I appreciate bt Cotton and its use but not at the cost of indigenous sustainable technologies our farmers have been with least environmental degradation.

from:  sanjay kumar
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:43 IST

Doesn't surprise me a bit. The primary objective of TOI is to drive up their profits. The definition of customer for TOI is the ad agency and not the reader. Hate bashing up a rival paper here, but on second thoughts TOI deserves it.

from:  Neel
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:38 IST

BT 1 was found to be losing resistance to insects in 2010 in 4 districts in Gujarat. The GEAC was advised, and Mansanto admitted the change, saying try Bt2 and spray more. This is expected they said, which is true. Modify seeds in a lab or barn, pests modify themselves via natural selection in a few years. This is occuring with GM corn and root worms in Iowa. What I find troubling is that low cost, low tech alternatives are not offered. Sainath says the state gov't Ag Minister says the seeds are not working well, yet the State seed bank still issues them? AWFUL. Give farmers choice of free/cheap old style seeds or GM costly types. Weevils-worms are also reduced by red fire ants, wasps. Continual planting of the same crops allow pests to adapt and take hold. Communities should plan on communal rotations. Peas, peanuts or low input wheat are recommended after a cotton crop to replace nitrogen. There are alternatives, and if Bt cotton does not work, get these people something that DOES.

from:  Ed Hayden
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:36 IST

This trend will only change when our people wake up to issues that are bigger than what the superstar is eating for breakfast

from:  Abhinandan MK
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:35 IST

This report by THE HINDU further substantiates the fact that TOI promotes 'Paid news" for commercial profiteering . Past facts make it 100% believeable that Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India and TOI have an understanding.

from:  RALPH PAUL
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:33 IST

P.Sainath proved why is he the best Indian Journalist.


Justice Katju only Praises this man when it comes to Journalistic
standards.. very true.


also time has come when media need to scrutinize each other and ask
tough questions..This is one right step..I hope The Hindu would have
done the same in the episode of Radia tapes.

from:  Ankit
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:28 IST

I feel proud to be your reader and keep inspiring others with real &
factual journalism.

from:  Sidharth
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:20 IST

Who will take action? Is any institution powerful enough to check this menace? Also, more important problem is, unfortunately in Maharashtra, The Hindu is not published (not even from Mumbai). Majority reads TOI. How will common people come to know about all this?
Please The Hindu, start your Maharashtra Edition.. we need such journalism in our towns.

from:  Mahesh
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:20 IST

It's no secret that any exams toppers recommend The Hindu.My salutation to The Hindu Team for upholding the standard.

from:  shimray
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:17 IST

Any Genetically modified seeds will give only short term benefits. Same with Fertilizers and Pesticides. In long term they will degrade the soil and enviroment. So it is imperative from government side that we slowy weed out these things from our Agriculture.

from:  MURALI KRISHNA HARI
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:12 IST

In a democracy journalism considered to be another pillar.Kudos Hindu to dig out the truth and tell to the people.Atleast (Fancy)newspapers should behave responsibly when they report news to the people on this type of sensitive issue.It's good to have a regulatroy body on media to dig out these nails.

from:  Arunpandiyan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:13 IST

My parents made me read THE HINDU from childhood.when i had to go to Pune for my professional studies,i found that there was no THE HINDU published nearby.the agent told me that he can provide me the previous day's issue and i even subscribed that for sometime there.my friends used to laugh at me for this.they were happy with the masala they were provided with every morning.i used to think why THE HINDU did not have a publication house nearby(i think THE HINDU has it in Mumbai now).THE HINDU should start publishing in North India,ur success will be natural.I LOVE THE HINDU FOR BEING WHAT IT IS.

from:  balachandramenon
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:06 IST

Mr. Sainath, your cotton yield figures seem wrong to me. Which year are these from? 1.4 quintals of raw cotton an acre that ypu've extrapolated from Sharad Pawar's statement? Seriously? Have you actually met other farmers in Vidarbha? Farmers with much higher yields?

If the yield is so bad, why are they cultivating cotton at all? Did any seed company hold a gun to their heads and order them to sow cotton?

Could it be they sowed cotton after being lured by the previous season's ridiculously high prices of 6000 per quintal? Even though it was almost certain that this price was not going to sustain for another year?

Farmers are not the only ones at fault. But they are the ones who stand to suffer. And yet, farmers continue to misuse subsidized inputs. There are thousands of farm ponds that exist only on paper where the farmer, the agriculture officer and the contractor have all siphoned off the government fund allocated for them. Have you taken a look at those, Mr. Sainath?

from:  Patel
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:05 IST

Great service done to the nation particularly to the farming community. TOI sells papers by putting colourful pictures of celebrities.

from:  M.Gnanasekaran
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:04 IST

This is like movies. Good movies ( the Hindu )need not be box office
hits (Times of India )

from:  R SRINIVASAN
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:02 IST

This should be taken up with the government on all levels, printed in
all dailies and people must know of TOI's racket of paid news.

from:  rishabh khare
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:00 IST

Great article by P. Sainath. It is high time a reputed newspaper of the
calibre of The Hindu spread itself throughout India. How about giving
us a Mumbai/Maharashtra edition for starters?

from:  Namita Waikar
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 10:57 IST

Compare these two recent news reports and we know the state of affair for farmers in India...
1. Finance Minister announces withdrawal of tax on gold, brings cheer to jewellery sector
2. Farmers get mere Rs 1 per kg for onion produce in Tirupur, Tamilnadu

from:  Periasamy S
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 10:52 IST

The Hindu is a paper which helps awaken your mind by giving unbiased and scientific articles. Thanks Hindu for publishing such articles. Articles like these prove one more point regarding how we should not believe everything that is shown in media, irrespective of whether it is in a neighbor's blog or a leading newspaper.

from:  Dileep Kumar Patchigolla
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 10:51 IST

Anyone who is once used to reading "The Hindu" will not find any other Newspaper up to the mark,although the recent changes in the Ed team is worrying...

from:  Vignesh Natarajan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 10:30 IST

The plight of the farmers in USA, Canada and India is same when Sharks like Monsanto are around. Farmers of Canada and USA have taken legal action against Monsanto but they are having tough time fighting the money power of Monsanto.( see RT.com documentary) Nobody can fight them legally and financially. Only way is to fight politically, if required, joining hands with Farmers from USA. Let it be proved that we are living in global village.

from:  Anil P.
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 10:26 IST

I trust only "The Hindu".It is just like wikipedia which is giving very less advertisements and also it is showing accontability . The hindu learns from mistakes .If they are giving some news which is not appropriate then on very next day there will be apology from them.

from:  Ashish Baranwal
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 10:18 IST

Hindu articles are very well informed. I salute you guys. Nothing less than soldiers protecting our borders. Keep it up guys..

from:  Vijay Srivastava
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 10:18 IST

This is the reason why I read The Hindu online.
You are holding on to high standards of journalism. With online reading, it is not easy to fool the reader.

from:  Abhinav
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 10:16 IST

A hugely good piece of responsible and competitive journalism this
time.Three cheers to you THE HINDU.I have seen first time for the last
20 years of my compulsive reading of newspapers that such head-on
challenge has been given by a newspaper to another for the great cause
to the farmers and country at large.Thank you.

from:  Avanish K Srivastava
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 10:12 IST

I am a student and I have observed it 2-3 times when TOI
published wrong news just for the sake of cashing on the name of
premiere brands like IIMs, IITs. They create story even when nothing
has happened. But this is more serious issue when it involves such
burning subjects like farmer suicides. Also, there is no hope that
they stand to true journalism in near future because all they want is
profit. So, It's only us, the people, who will decide the fate of
journalism in India. I hope newpapers like The Hindu will expand their
base to North India also to save journalism.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 10:08 IST

Mr. Sainath
The same technology makes farmers in Gujarat prosperous and happy while in Vidharba they have all the problems as mentioned by you. It's seems you are a Luddite.
To quote from a recent article in the Economist titled - Nuclear powered crops: Physics meets biology in a project to breed better strains of rice.
The article states 'those who turn their noses up at "genetically modified" food seldom seem to consider that all crops are genetically modified. The difference between a wild plant and one that serves some human end is a lot of selective breeding - the picking and combining over the years of mutations that result in bigger seeds, tastier fruit or whatever else is required'.
I believe without technology there would more suicides and distress.
Let's make India a science and tech power house.

from:  tasneem
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 10:07 IST

well! this is quite a shocking news about how toi have been making false
claims abt the development in the village it all comes as a sham .there
should be a concrete action against it .being paid to publish a false
news needs to be discoursed and voices against such should be encorged
if we one by one disclouse such doublestandads and false claims we can
finally be liberated from the much of the endured corruptive ideas and
news

from:  tripti
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 10:03 IST

Rude shock by TOI, I am saddened by the fact the a paper which claims itself to be the best seller can steep down to such level.wonder what action will be taken by The Press council of India for the Paid news and unethical behavior of the media fraternity.

from:  Shiva Mudgil
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:55 IST

Paid news or the editorial coverage reality of story only TOI know. At
least print should be ethical as media is the one of the strongest
pillar of our democracy.Mr. P Sainath ji we are expecting some more "Aam
Adami" based real story.

from:  shyam
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:53 IST

Job well done "The Hindu" and P. Sainath. I am really impressed the
way you always write so insightful articles exposing the true face
of poverty and lies.

Keep it up!

from:  Pardeep
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:49 IST

The Hindu & TOI cannot be competitors! It is like comparing chalk &
cheese! I've been a reader of The Hindu right from my childhood & I can
say from my experience that The Hindu stands by the principles of
journalism.

from:  Sathish Rajan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:48 IST

thanks, wikindu

from:  twobluebirds
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:45 IST

A eye opener and indeed a good article about how paid news fever has
spread across well known newspapers.

from:  Kiran Bagul
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:44 IST

ToI has some serious explaining to do here and we demand sincere apology to those villagers for they have been mocked. It is sick.

It is good to know that we still have some journalist values left here and there. Kudos, 'The Hindu' and evergreen P. Sainath.

from:  Vishnu Vardhan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:41 IST

Everyone above is praising Hindu and sainath for the article but how many really know what is happening there. You read this article and say TOI is wrong and Hindu has exposed it. When they first find out that the BT seeds are not working why are they still using it and blaming everything on it.

Companies will say good things to sell their product and Government officials advice but the one who has to decide finally is the farmer himself.

Please stop this blaming game and If you want to really help them .. go and talk to them and solve their issues.

from:  Revanth
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:40 IST

Kudos to The Hindu for taking the bull by its horns! Its quite appalling to see a newspaper like TOI engaging in this kind of behavior. The issue is not just about reporting. Its about standards of integrity and responsible behavior towards society. What kind of responsibility does TOI have towards the society - if it is blatantly engaged in misinforming the very reader it is supposed to educate without any bias? Its classic case of glove in with corporates to protect commercial interests, while the poor and the hapless are left with no options to "advertise" their plight.

from:  Sagar
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:39 IST

You are the best journalist in this country. More power to your wings.

from:  Preeti Acharya
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:37 IST

Dear Sainath: Many thanks. I don't have Words to express my appreciation effectively.

from:  C S Sundaresha
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:33 IST

How many of us know how the products we buy from Supermarkets are produced? Why are there only supermarkets in western countries. What happened to all the small grocery shops there? How come seasonal foods are also available now round the year?
Do we know what all we consume are actually genetically modified????
In Western countries, corporations have already done the damage. They have enslaved farmers to sow their genetically modified seeds and all these are patented. The land and the farmers becomes slaves of these Multi national corporations and finally they end up having huge debts.
Watch 'Food Inc' documentary for the whole story.

from:  Arvind
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:18 IST

Facts are stubborn; nothing can get rid of such facts from being amplified to the people that there are farmers’ suicides due to the Bt Cotton. They surface again and again unmasking the face of its destroyers. But in an era of paid-journalism and falsified -news feeding, there are only a few newspapers in the world that stick to truths and facts and make truth telling as its only task. The Hindu proudly stands among those truth-telling newspapers in the world. This disclosure, by The Hindu, of distorted and the twice-repeated news items with outdated data which were not objectively verifiable only shows that many newspapers have excluded themselves from the cause of serving the multitudes and converted themselves to be mouthpiece in order to serve the international profit making companies. Noam Chomsky articulation of ‘Manufacturing Consent’ and Mr. Markandey Katju’s constant cry for regulating media stand justified today. Thanks a lot The Hindu for your vigilant journalism!!!

from:  A.Kannan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:18 IST

Your story reveals an authentic picture of how a leading national
newspaper of India is mislealing the people. Once upon a time The Times
of India used to be a good newspaper.

from:  arun jee
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 09:17 IST

It is indeed a commendable gesture by the MP team to ratify the Ad-turned-report by TOI. It is an open secret that TOI is a pure commercial newsprint meant for the elite few in this country who consider themselves to be products of the globalized economy.
Sri Sainath has been trying since long time to expose the facts from the drought stricken districts of Vidarbha and Rayalaseema. Yet, no corrective measure is being taken from the governments of the concerned states. Please note that the farm suicides and neglect of agriculture has grown in AP and Maharashtra under the aegis of Mr. Chandrababu Naidu and Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh, who ironically are from agricultural backgrounds. The governments that followed, did no good either !!!

from:  Udayramaphani Cherukupalli
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 08:54 IST

Now I am happy to see the old style and tenor of the reputed news paper

from:  Dr.P.S.Mahadevan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 08:51 IST

Let's go beyond the TOI and address the larger issues.

a. Now that the MPs have had a first-hand experience of reality, what
are they going to do about it?

b. And what will be the follow-up action of the Government further to
their recommendation?

c. Does it require the Supreme Court to intervene again to stop
further plunders and loot and most importantly farmer suicides?

from:  Badri
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 08:51 IST

I hope the Hindu will maintain its integrity and standards.

from:  Abner
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 08:49 IST

Thanks The Hindu. A very bold article and very necessary one. This is an eye opener. Farming in India is dying. More articles on demerits of fertilizer and pesticide usage and benefits of natural fertilizer and pesticide are required. And only The Hindu can do this.Keep it up

from:  H. Prasad
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 08:49 IST

Thanks to Mr. P. Sainath for the succinct and limpid analysis, and to The Hindu, as always, for bringing this to light! This is responsible journalism. Kepp it up!

from:  Ravinarayanan L
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 08:47 IST

For long time we have known that TOI was a mouthpiece of congress party.Your story , Mr. Sainath, proves it. The less we say about the congress led government, is better. The MH state government , across the tenures of CM , has known to make policies benefitting the farmers. e.g. below 1. A former chief minister, who is a heavy Industries Minister in Union cabinet, once asked a Police officer to not register cases against his party MLA, who was a money lender. This money lender i am sure was cause of many farmer suicides. 2. Another CM decides which villages the standing comittee should visit so that the BT company and State givernments unholy nexus is not exposed. Have you seen such great benefactor's of farmers and common man anywhere. I have not. That is the reason i believe the congress motto "Apna haath aam aadmi ke saath". what i dont know is if the hand that is with the common man is to help him or to loot him. Hope people understand where to vote this time.

from:  aniket sinkar
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 08:44 IST

Well done "The HIndu" for exposing the lies circulated by the most preferred main stream media like TOI.
Expect "The Hindu" to expose more such fabricted news/lies in the media.

from:  Zafar Abbas
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 08:42 IST

Fantastic effort from Mr. Sainath and my sincere appreciation for The
Hindu in covering this story. Only a responsible newspaper can do this
in the interest of an agrarian nation. The other newspapers for whatever
reason fall prey to false propaganda's of MNCs must take a deep look at
its integrity and journalistic ethics.

from:  R.K. Ponraj
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 08:36 IST

As is the only serious long term compensation and restitution methods impacting American firms - indulging in such blatant illegal activity to promote their companies; India and Indian agencies concerned, need to rapidly collect facts and figures and impose a massive lawsuit -of minimum $1 Billion USD - simultaneously in the Hague and Indian courts. This method will ensure long term records are known and maintained worldwide, let alone in India. Such experiments in other third-world countries may hopefully be prevented. The concerned improper media connected individuals and entities-where applicable,within India- also needs to taught lessons -in maintaing ethics, ensuring accuracy in their reporting- and discharging their duties & repsonsibilities to the country.

from:  Srikanth S N
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 08:29 IST

Commendable job by The Hindu !! Keep raising your standard.

from:  Manit Kumar
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 08:14 IST

yah.. Kudos to P Sainath and THE HINDU.. well we all know what TOI is..one more feather in its Cap :)

from:  Karthik
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 07:59 IST

Very nice fight between TH and TOI generated by Sainath after Ashok
Chavan's case of paid news during his election campaign. This fight is
more relevant to me as a person belonging to Nagpur. Why don't you
extend this fight between you and TOI by making your e-paper free
instead of subscription-paid one so that you two will be on a level
playing field for the larger benefit of the reading public
particularly when the delivery of the print edition of TH is not
regular in Vidarbha. By making your e-paper free of charge like others
you may not lose commercially as the internet penetration is still
low.

from:  T.N.Sethumadhavan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 07:41 IST

P.Sainath deserves a distinguished reporter award. I am a huge fan of
his thorough and analytical reports. Although it may never happen, I
hope someday we discover how our politicians are connected in this web
of lies and distractions. Until then, God bless Sainath.

from:  Aravind
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 07:29 IST

Excellent. The Hindu nailed down TOI for "paid" news.This is very
dangerous trend

from:  Nathan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 07:24 IST

This is a very good example of how media can alter the perception of
population and affect lives in negative ways. Investigation has to be
done on how much Monsanto paid TOI to publish such news in favour of
Monsanto. Further this raises suspicion on acts, actors behind Biotech
Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill, perhaps written to protect
such biotech unethical adventures of such companies and enjoy tax
payer's money. Appreciate The Hindu for bringing this up and raising
consciousness in public and professional journalism.

from:  Ghanesh
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 07:24 IST

Thank You Mr. Basudeb Acharia and of course The Hindu. More than the
exposure of "News-Ad" nexus, this news has given hope that our Parliament could in fact function as it should be.

from:  Mathan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 07:18 IST

Some times, farmers tell two different stories to two different
people.That is not unusual.

from:  P.Tauro
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 07:12 IST

i hope mr.p.sainath continue to bring more truths like this one.i hope
the hindu group will remain the most transparent print news media in the
future too. hats off to you sir.you have been doing a great job. you
inspire me when it comes to working for poor and downtrodden.

from:  Dr.D.Madhava Reddy
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 07:11 IST

A lot of these 'mainstream'(purely by market share) news papers like TOI have been publishing sensational articles from nefarious sources often paid off by political parties & unethical industrialists wanting a branding that would project a clean image. Sadly, "paid news" accusations have been called baseless conspiracy theories(partly because the term itself has been abused). It is a shame that news papers that cant run proper spell checks(let alone verify publications) sell larger volumes than The Hindu. Peoples' comments on Social networks prove that they trust The Hindu. So, why does TOI sell more? The growing urban middle class of India is being misguided by newspapers(especially TOI) that are likely working for the interests of specific entities and helping them establish a distorted brand & image(misinformation apart). 1. The Hindu should publish more of these investigative articles. 2. Please market yourself better. Capture that Midlle-Class market.

from:  binoy rakesh
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 06:13 IST

The sorry state of Indian media and that of the most circulated newspaper. They're so able to sell their crap by just adding some 'masala' for which 'the educated/the non-educated' fell. Good job 'The Hindu', but, I believe 'The Hindu' is also responsible for the mess. How can a national newspaper be so non-aggressive when it comes to pursual of circulation across the mass? When it has the best news, the paper must make it known to everyone?

from:  Amit Shekhar
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 06:09 IST

Thanks for exposing the myth of bio-engineering and paid news! Only through such reporting can the power of lobbying be countered. Thanks for the coverage Mr. Sainath and Hindu.

from:  Hari
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 05:59 IST

Take an unethical company and gullible farmers, and here is the
result. At one level we tend to blame the entire system, the
government, sections of media which are driven only by commerce, and
capitalists. One may be right. But I also see a complete absence of
regulation which has led to this situation.

It is not clear whether there is an equivalent body like FDA or DGCA
that forces companies in the agricultural sector to get their products
certified. In the absence of such regulations, the country will be
replete with such examples where someone or the other gets hoodwinked.

As far as Monsanto is concerned, I would say that the farmers should
do what Americans would rightly do. Sue them, I am sure that given
the publicity that has been given some of the best lawyers will come
forward to represent them.

Thank you, Mr. Sainath.

from:  Anand
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 05:50 IST

Hindu readers deserve a response from Monsanto (India). Sainath has provided a detailed refutation of what appears to be falsehoods in the Monsanto ads.

from:  Jay
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 05:49 IST

Thank you for your work. This story and its complex nature of various vested interests is alarming, deeply disturbing to say the least. I do hope your expose will help put an end this tragedy and farce.

from:  Veera
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 04:59 IST

That is the kind of journalism India need at this hours. It is a ray of hope and will help in dispelling the clouds of disinformation spread by media groups plagued by their perennial greed and anti-people stance.

from:  Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 04:43 IST

Good deductive reasoning by Sainath! It's a pity that TOI has stooped
down from one of the finest newshouses which once had a respected set
of editors, to a low quality media house which relies on poorly vetted
journalists and sub-editors to print whatever it takes to stay on top.
Pretty soon it'll become the Indian equivalent of the "National
Enquirer" from the US.
Unfortunately for the farmers, and Sainath and the thousands of field
staff fighting the march of the monster (MMM) it's likely to be a
losing battle because the powers at the top of the food chain - the
policy makers - have a single minded goal, namely make money when the
sun shines.

from:  Sriram
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 04:36 IST

I thought the TOI's worst crimes were a disregard for grammar and a
penchant for pandering to the sleazy side of the urban Indian. But this
time the bottom dwellers have surpassed themselves. Great findings, Mr
Sainath.

from:  Krupakar
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 04:23 IST

Awesome article. Times of India(and many others) is a termite in Indian society and the ironically people are enjoying its page 3 news.

from:  Vaibhav
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 04:23 IST

WOW, How misleading and fabricated was Times of India's report,
thanks HINDU for bringing the truth out. Cannot trust TOI anymore.

from:  Suresh
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 04:14 IST

And regarding the suicides of BT farmers in vidharbha and Telangana
region I wanted to know the real reasons of crop failure there.
Because 3.5 qintals per hectar is clearly very low yield. For a crop to
fail there are so many reasons like drought, abnormal whether
conditions, untimely rains, abnormal pest cycle, soil conditions( in
vidharbha they grow cotton only for years, which is not advisable) and
so on.
And one thing I can't understand is, is anybody forcing the farmers to
use BT seeds ? If not then why farmers are using them year after year
despite their alleged failure and who are to blame if not for
themselves ? And all this blame just because BT seeds are produced by
big company ?
I personally know that BT seeds are one of the good thing happened to
farmers in the recent past, ask any farmer in my region(costal Andhra)
and it is very sad that people are blaming BT seeds for other failures.

from:  Narasimha
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 03:53 IST

We need more quality article like this from a national new paper. Well done Hindu.

from:  Prabhu
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 03:50 IST

A good piece to show the real face of profit centered news papers. The
press council of India should investigate this incident and punish the
TOI accordingly. It is a disgrace what TOI tried to do in the country by
promoting GM crops. It was only due to the brave and honest Jairam
Ramesh the country escaped the worst policy outcome.

from:  Anil
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 03:30 IST

This is true journalism. Kudos to Mr. P. Sainath for time and again bringing the facts out. The Times of India of course has sold its soul to corporate interests. Nothing of value and truthfulness can be expected from that newspaper.

from:  Sam R
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 03:28 IST

When this is being backed by factual comments and osbervation of farmers how can this be in the hardly glanced middle page but the ads are themselves front page material.

from:  Prashanth C
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 03:19 IST

This article is the very reason why The Hindu has a different
standard altogether when it comes to journalism and why it is
imperative for everyone to understand the evil that paid news can
become. It is not just about paid news for election hopefuls
anymore. When crony capitalism comes into the picture, the economy
and polity can be severely affected.
On a related note, I commend that it is the very parliamentary
democracy and our MPs that have been recently ridiculed and
criticized, who, as members of the standing committee are the ones
who looked into this matter, if only as part of their entrusted
task. They were, in effect, doing what a true journalist should have
been doing.

from:  Hargungeet Singh
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 03:18 IST

Its been long known that TOI is a paid news paper , They tend to support
few set of individuals. I wish everyone can read this Article and can
run away from TOI or our future generation is growing in a myth which is
more dangerous then having the knowledge of the dirty reality. Good Job
Hindu , you the best English Newspaper in India , Why don't you come to
North India so that more people can benefit.

from:  Vishal Rai
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 03:12 IST

Wow! What an article. Articles like this clearly shows that there are
still Newspapers and journalists that care about the truth. It is an
honour to be a great fan of THE HINDU and an extreme privilege to notice
your dedication and honesty to print the facts and only the facts.
Thanks a ton.. :)

from:  Ganesh Patil
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 03:00 IST

Bravo ! This article in Hindu exposes all,Seed Manufacturer,News paper,Govt.Officials and Govt.herself.
Will ther be any apology from any of these quarters? No.
Life goes on India.Politicians know people's memory is short.

from:  Ashok
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 02:32 IST

Oh and please don't compare yourself with Times of India. They cannot be your competitors.

from:  Ankit Chandra
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 02:21 IST

I am becoming despondent. What is the way out? Not only is this story showing us (yet again, and again) the barren and callous remorse-less, greedy attitude of Times Of India, but it also shows that there seems to be no hope! Should I just continue living in the US? coz it's just hopeless in India? Where there is always a greedy hyena waiting to suck off the last drop of blood off you? All this for only more profits?

from:  Ankit Chandra
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 02:19 IST

well, ToI does it again, all so shamelessly.
..Thanks The Hindu to tell us all.

from:  Vignesh
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 02:15 IST

Politicians, Government Officials,Bio and Agri Tech Scientists,
Universities and the Media put themselves at the service and interest,
by lobbying and promoting, GM corporations like Monsanto and, to the
detriment of not only growers but also the ecology and the general
health and well-being of the general populace. They are a cynical lot
and for a fistful of dollars are prepared to lie.
Just like in the USA the obfuscating revolving door of politicians,
government and corporations enforces GM introduction worldwide.
The lies told hide the aims and objectives of GM corporations which are
solely to control land, seed, fertilisers, pesticides to the detriment
of subsistence farmers/growers and for the sake of maximising profit.
Corporations are a capitalist construct out to lie and cheat for and in
the interest for themselves, their shareholders and fellow monopolist
corporations.

from:  Rajagopal Raman
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 01:54 IST

Another top class piece of journalism by Shri P. Sainath. I am feeling mixed emotions though. The problems seem to be known to everyone for quite sometime and yet there seems to be inaction or even willful looking away for financial gains on the back of farmers committing suicides. One thought though - why not chuck the damn cotton away and find something that makes more sense given the local geography and offer better returns to farmers? Is this too simplistic?

from:  Mohit Bhushan
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 01:24 IST

Good to read some true journalism investigation. Shame on those who sell the false information for the sake of money. Shame on Monsanto for altering reality and playing with poor farmers life. I believe TOI needs a self wakening. Continue the good work Hindu as long as there are these truth telling reports people will not loose faith on journalism.

from:  Keerthi Narayana
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 01:05 IST

What does the Agor scientists have to say about the BT cotton. It would've been better add their scientific opinions to it. We cannot say bio-technology bad or genetically modified seeds are bad. It would be right to understand what went wrong or what were the farmers were advised to do with seeds. As these are genetically modified seeds the process to maintain them might be different from the ones the farmers are accustomed to. We do have a ministry for agriculture with lot of scientists what is their opinion. If the seeds are meant to be used in a rainfed region why didn't the ministry comeout and says so.We can let farmers lose faith in agriculture it is not in the best interest of the farmers or us as a nation.

from:  Dubukey
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 01:04 IST

Thank you for this op-ed. I hope the Hindu will continue to uphold its journalistic standards. I hope the farmers can come together to educate each other and find solutions to their problems. They live their problems each day and only they can find and implement sustainable solutions, not any corporate entity or the government. The sooner they realize that, the better for them. Self-help is the best help.

from:  Amar
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 00:57 IST

If this is true, then i wonder why TOI is the most trusted one. It is
wrong and irresponsible on their part. I think it has just become a
brand of sort now. And besides it is quite unbelievable regarding Zero
suicide.

from:  Shruti Ranavade
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 00:45 IST

Let competitive rivalry in newsprint and reporting expose the double standards and unpatriotic stand taken by those indulging in paid news - which when it comes to agriculture, BT and farming techniques have contributed to abetting the suicide deaths that are increasing and alarming. It is time that we Indians kick out BT from our fields - the only intent of those promoting it is to kill our fields and farmers, take over the farm lands through land grabbing and political lobbying just to introduce feeding grounds for the GIANTS as and when they do come in to Indian markets perhaps in 10 or 15 years. It is ironical that BT has been kicked out of the west and most of the markets are returning to higher priced organic produce abroad. What is not fit to eat in America is certainly not fit to eat in India. What is fit to eat in America still needs detailed analysis instead of blind adoption - ground realities and eco-suitability are totally different in India.

from:  R.N. Iyengar
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 00:41 IST

Nice. Attack in the middle of the night.

from:  M. A. Reddy
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 00:23 IST
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