This newspaper has a lot to learn

Indian Newslink richly deserves its reputation of being the preeminent Indian newspaper in New Zealand.

This standing is based on many years of operation, the quality of reporting, the breadth of topics usually covered, originality for examining issues of the day and high standard of production.

Indian Newslink has branched out into supporting Indian businesses through its promotion of Business Awards, Sports Awards and the Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture. These events are of very high standard and attract support from leading business houses as well as community leaders and organisations.

I am impressed at the ability of this biweekly newspaper to cover many contemporary issues that are current in the mainstream media. In addition, it is able to include news of particular interest to the Indian community.

The format of the paper allows for the inclusion of short as well as more in-depth coverage.

It is a credit to the business acumen of the owner of Indian Newslink that it has managed to keep the newspaper profitable in a tight market.

While there are a number of other players in this market, none is able to compete with the quality of this paper on a number of fronts including breadth of coverage.

Biased views

That is not to say that the paper has no room for improvement. I would ask the paper to keep an eye on any possible criticism of bias. The paper ought to give more attention to covering contentious issues in a more balanced way by including competing views on a topic. At times the paper has risked being criticised for being biased on how it sees an issue.

An example has been its coverage on Fiji. There have been one occasion when the Editor made a sponsored visit to report on Fiji, precluding the paper’s approach to reporting independently on developments in Fiji and including the views of both antagonists and protagonists on Fiji.

A more balanced approach would have made for better reading, informed the reader of competing viewpoints and maintained the high reputation of the paper.

This is the hallmark of an independent media and without casting aspersions I express my belief that a newspaper’s independence is worth insisting on even at the expense of upsetting some readers.

Fallible policy

I am aware that the paper’s policy is not to accept press statements but to have those involved in a story be directly interviewed by the paper and the story reported by one of a number of reporters. Sometimes a press release is the start of a story that is worth reporting. From there, the paper’s own ability to follow a story should take precedence. Those with an interest in publicising a story legitimately use a press statement as the beginning step.

It would be a shame if Indian Newslink did not avail itself of this vehicle for its continued development.

I look forward to my continued association with this newspaper. I hope it takes the opportunity to rebrand itself and reposition as an indispensable origin of news about those things that matter or ought to be of interest to Indians.

Dr Rajen Prasad is Member of Parliament on Labour List and the Party’s Spokesman on Immigration and Associate Spokesperson for Ethnic Affairs and Social Development. The picture appearing here taken (by Narendra Bedekar) at the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2011, shows (from left) Labour MPs Maryan Street, Darien Fenton, Lianne Dalziel (now Christchurch Mayor), Dr Rajen Prasad, his wife Prem and DFK Oswin Griffiths Partner Mukesh Parshotam

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