The perils of selective journalism

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Around two weeks ago, I received an email from Srinivas Rao, editor of Bio-Spectrum, asking me for permission to use some of the information that I had unearthed from CSIR using the RTI Act, 2005. The two specific posts that he wanted to refer to are: “CSIR finally discloses details of patent licensing: More than 400 patents licensed over last ten years” and “CSIR provides misleading information; aims to hide revenues from patent licensing”. 
I obviously thought that he was going to present a balanced and transparent story discussing how CSIR had potential for innovation but that it was behaving in a terribly suspicious manner when asked to reveal details on royalties from patent licensing. 
To my utter shock I realized that when the article was published last week, available over here, Biospectrum made absolutely no mention of how CSIR had suspiciously backtracked on its earlier decision to share information regarding patent royalties. Instead Biospectrum, cherry-picked some of the statements that I had made in one post, while ignoring the two later posts and presented them completely out of context and may I add in an article titled: Is CSIR the fountain head of innovation in the country?”. The magazine completely ignored statements that I had made in two other posts, available over here and here
Just the mere fact that CSIR has licensed 400 patents is of no relevance until we can determine the value of those deals. The most damning fact however is that CSIR had agreed to share royalties before backtracking. This is the issue which is at the heart of the story – why is CSIR so scared of revealing their patent royalties? Was there corruption involved or was it just a case of maladministration. These are the questions you expect a journalist to be asking CSIR. 
If Biospectrum wants to be play the role of CSIR’s cheerleader, they are free to do so but they are not at liberty to present my quotes out of context. Selective journalism of this sort is dangerous and reduces the credibility of journalists all around.
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Prashant Reddy

T. Prashant Reddy graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, with a B.A.LLB (Hons.) degree in 2008. He later graduated with a LLM degree (Law, Science & Technology) from the Stanford Law School in 2013. Prashant has worked with law firms in Delhi and in academia in India and Singapore. He is also co-author of the book Create, Copy, Disrupt: India's Intellectual Property Dilemmas (OUP).


  1. Anonymous

    your journalism is just as selective as biospectrum and you make it worse with your negative attitude. before you put up posts like this, look within before pointing fingers at others. you only get back what you give mr. reddy. karma.

  2. B Prashant Kumar

    Though not taking sides in any manner and appreciating your efforts completely towards bringing transparency in Indian Innovation Sector, especially with the CSIR case.. but this Bio-Spectrum thing was indeed a stupefying act. You may be claimed/blamed as ‘journalist with evil intentions’ and who knows may be it is correct to some extent, but at the end you are not supporting or working for/in favour of any corporate house or any other money making business (as of now, or say, as per my knowledge) but working to strengthen the Indian IP System and hence Mr. Srinivas: your act is highly condemnable, whatever irrespective of your duties call or your boss’s order.

    Prashant, I think you should file a complaint with PCI or some apt body for misstating/misrepresenting your words and affecting your campaigns/stance, causing a mental harassment and cheating you…


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