Senior journalist M Gunasekaran resigned from his editorial role in News 18 Tamil Nadu following allegations of political bias from YouTuber Maridhas. In a letter to his colleagues, Gunasekaran said that the channel under his leadership did not favour any single political party and that viewers and party leaders were aware of this.
"When we were gathering news for the state Assembly Election, local body elections or bye-elections, we didn't report favourably for any party," Gunasekaran said in his farewell letter to colleagues. "The world knows that the public and political leaders have branded us as a neutral channel," he stated.
He further pointed out that the channel had interviewed former Chief Minister Jayalalithaaâ€™s aide VK Sasikala when she headed the AIADMK, DMK President MK Stalin and Chief Minister Edppadi Palaniswami.
Gunaskeran stated that his connection with News 18 was emotional and not merely that of an employee and organisation. "It is not easy for any news organisation to gain people's trust. Through our dedication, hard work and for representing their emotions without fear, we were put on a pedestal by people. We cannot forget that we were also subject to censorship in some instances.
The senior journalist also traced the journey of the channel and concerns regarding whether it can carve a space for itself in the competitive Tamil Nadu news industry. He added that these questions were dismissed when the channel exposed how the police were responsible for vandalism during the jallikattu protests. He went on to explain that they had covered multiple events of importance in the state together that affected the common man. This included disasters, the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), Goods and Services Tax (GST) and elections.
Gunasekaran further celebrated the opportunity he had to bring passionate and young journalists into the channel and the ability to provide them a launchboard.
â€śChange is inevitable in the course of personal lives and in organisations. It is only best to move past such changes, which occur in the course of time. Yes, I am resigning as the Tamil Nadu News Editor of News 18 Tamil Nadu. Thank you all for your love and cooperation.
We have achieved a lot together. I have been strict at times and also incredibly proud of you. You will all know that I did all that only to encourage you all to become better at your work, with ethics and individuality,â€ť he said.
Earlier this month, Maridhas had written a complaint to the News 18 management in New Delhi alleging that certain journalists and editors in the Tamil channel, including Gunasekaran were direct or indirect supporters of Dravida Kazhagam (DK) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). Maridhas also alleged that the channel adopted an anti-Hindu stance. Following this, the channel filed a police complaint and defamation suit in the Madras High Court. While the police failed to act, the court instructed Maridhas to remove all videos defaming the channel. Two days after the court's directions, however, Gunasekaran resigned.