The media must report about the corporate world on the basis of data and facts and not on the basis of rumours and speculation, Infosys executive chairman N R Narayana Murthy said in the course of a discussion with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta at the Bangalore launch of the latter’s book Anticipating India: The Best of National Interest on Saturday.
“Personally, I believe that it is a responsibility, and in some way right, to bring transparency to the commissions and omissions of corporate leaders and corporate houses. As long as it is done on the basis of facts, I believe that is the right thing. However, when people start writing rumours, then that is bordering the unacceptable,’’ Murthy said in response to a question on how he saw ties between the media and the corporate world.
“As long as corporate leaders exercise restraint in not doing the wrong things and as long as the media sticks to facts, I have no reason to believe there would be any standoffs between the corporate world and the media,’’ said Murthy.
Gupta said the media’s coverage of the corporate sector was poor and there is scope for bringing in more transparency if journalists mine data that corporates put out instead of being dependent on handouts and press releases.
In a freewheeling chat, Murthy reversed roles with Gupta, asking him questions instead. Asked who he regards as role models among politicians, Gupta said no leader was perfect but outlined attributes required in a good politician — popularity, integrity, intellect, commitment, courage of conviction, a large heart and humility towards knowledge. “No human can have more than three of these attributes,’’ he added.
To a question on the expectations from Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi, Gupta said, “Modi’s predecessors have gifted him an orchard of low-hanging fruits which he can pluck. The concerns are can Modi maintain strategic restraint and can he handle many egos?” He said how Modi deals with national institutions such as the courts or the Comptroller and Auditor General of India will also be key issues. Modi “will make a big difference” in rebooting the economy, he said.
Murthy said Gupta’s book “would have a definite place in history when future generations look at what India was like in 2010-2012’’.
At Tri Nagar, Smriti Irani centered her speech around Modi, with over 10 references in 11-minute extempore.