The Value of News That Is Paid for by Readers

Ever since the news broke that Jay Shah, son of BJP president Amit Shah, would be suing The Wire and its editors for criminal and civil defamation for the story we ran on his businesses, we have been flooded with messages of good wishes, encouragement and solidarity.

Not just readers and fellow journalists but citizens from far and wide have written in to express their willingness to help in any way possible.

And they really mean it. Donations have come flooding in to support The Wire and its journalism. It is really heartwarming that people have stepped forward and showed their generosity to a cause they believe is so important – freedom of expression, and the need for a free and fearless media that is ready to ask questions of the powerful.

But some may wonder why we at The Wire want this financial support in the first place. Why are we crowdsourcing our expenses?

The Wire was set up as a not-for-profit venture. It was a radical idea, till then virtually unknown and untried in India. For the first few months after it was launched in May 2015, it ran without any funds in the kitty at all except for the modest investments of its founders. At the time too, our writers showed tremendous generosity by writing for free. Then the funds came, from well-meaning high net-worth individuals and from foundations who saw value in an independent media platform that would not be beholden to any special interests – investors, politicians or businessmen with an agenda.

We are grateful to the large donors, but their contributions do not cover our operating expenses. Donations from readers who like our journalism and want to support it is the only way for us to fill the gap. We see in their willingness to contribute whatever they can, an endorsement of The Wire’s core values – a total commitment to the idea of good journalism of the kind that India needs and deserves. These donations, big and small, have kept us going over the past two years or so and will no doubt help us grow further and expand to further enhance our journalism.

The threat of suits and prosecution will not cow us down. It will only further increase our resolve to speak truth to power, more so at a time when a large section of the media has abdicated its role and responsibilities.

In these challenging times, our appeal for funds is not for litigation as such but to keep The Wire going as a project, in which all have a stake if they believe in  fearless journalism. Your support therefore is invaluable and we thank you for it.

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  • Ashok Akbar Gonsalves

    In these days of profit and advertising hungry media that has thrown away the concept of true journalism, many would perhaps call a not-for-profit reader-funded media outlet like The Wire a foolish enterprise. But no matter. As Steve Jobs said: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish”. And we – your readers – will always support you, because you are doing what this country needs so desperately – speaking the truth to power and holding it to account.
    Thanks and good luck!

  • Anjan Basu

    My best good wishes too go with The Wire and the many people who make it tick. Please keep up the good work. We, your readers and part-time writers, will go on supporting you in every which way we can.

  • Let me say upfront that The Wire and its editorial team has done a yeoman service to the nation. We are proud of you and what you’ve brought to the table – this is indeed true National Service! Never perhaps your presence was more dire than now. We salute you for your steadfast determination and resolve to call a spade a spade, bring facts to centre-stage, and tell off the powers-that-be without mincing words, especially this marauding, muscular government often prone to doing serial, egregious “wrongs”. It’s heartening that The Wire is also available in other mediums – Hindi and Urdu – and that’ll certainly help disseminating the truth to a wider audience. We shall always support your noble endeavour, and there are innumerable “voiceless” people who wholeheartedly support your spirit of freedom of expression. Be assured of our unstinting support to The Wire and its admirable gung-ho team – financial, moral or any other. My best wishes to you Team Wire (What a “live-wire” you’ve become!) and with very real admiration!

  • Amitabha Basu

    It is up to you and me, all democratic-minded and freedom-loving citizens who oppose the criminal and corrupt politicians and their nexus with the rapacious moneybags who want to run our country, to support The Wire by all means, with financial contributions, speaking up and writing openly on social media platforms and forums, and spreading the truth among our citizenry.

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  • subhash

    My best wishes to ‘The Wire ‘ . I am heart warmed to see such efforts on your part. Just to share something with you and your readers…Long back ( some 40 years ago) , in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh , I tried a Hindi weekly to cover local news . I was surprised to find that political and criminal news merged often. When my own resources began to dwindle , I went to town to get some money from good samaritans, hoping they would pat by back and encourage me…Far from it..I was told to stay away from it..And surprisingly , so called good samaritans turned out be not so good..Some even obliquely threatened me with whatever… I had to shut down the weekly in about a year..But I learned a very important lesson…never put your eggs in one or limited nos of basket..Crowdsourcing wasn’t name of the game then..But I am a firm believer that goodness in a society is spread like perfume’s can’t own it, but people prefer it.
    So , my best wishes to you shame in crowdsourcing it ..rather it is the only way ..along the way you’ll find many pleasant surprises also. keep it up…

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