PARIS, EARTH — After weeks of protests, letter campaigns, and vilification in the media, Reza Kardgar, the editor-in-chief of the Federation News Service, announced today that he is stepping down.
The change in leadership follows Kardgar’s controversial decision to publish a letter by Maquis Reborn leader and terrorist Nikael Kalre on the fourth anniversary of the Ohmallera attack on Betazed. Veteran FNS reporter Lara Senekal will serve as interim editor-in-chief until a permanent replacement can be found.
“I want to thank my family, my colleagues, and our readers who have expressed their support during this difficult time,” said Kardgar from his office in Paris. “However, I’ve decided that both the FNS and I have become the center of attention, which is a sign that I can no longer lead the organization in its mission: to report the news, not become it.”
Kardgar responded to critics who had called the publication of Kalre’s letter an insult both to those who had been killed by the Maquis Reborn and to members of Starfleet currently engaged in anti-terrorism operations.
“Anyone who’s followed my career or truly knows who I am knows I have the utmost respect for those who wear the uniform,” he said. “Five years ago, my life and those of others left behind on Deep Space 17 during the Vaadwaur invasion were saved by the sacrifices of these brave men and women—sacrifices I witnessed firsthand. I am fortunate to count many members of Starfleet among my closest friends, and I have always admired the humility with which they serve. It has driven me to ensure their stories are told and their sacrifices never forgotten.”
“It has also driven me to stand by my own principles and convictions. Freedom of the press has always been integral to a free society, and I have never wavered from allowing our readers to have access to all voices and opinions, no matter how firmly we may disagree with them. To censor ourselves is to change who we are and tarnish the sacrifice of those who’ve fought to preserve our way of life, what we hold dear.”
A New Direction
During his four year tenure as editor-in-chief, Kardgar was known for being objective but progressive and independently minded in his leadership of the news organization. Politics and the Federation at large were scrutinized, and no issue was off limits.
This stands in stark contrast to his predecessor, Aimea Vostinael, who was widely criticized for censoring or tabling the stories of reporters she deemed too ‘sensitive’ or ‘damaging’. When Vostinael resigned in disgrace after the full extent of her censorship of FNS coverage during the Dominion War era that continued into the early 2380s was revealed, Reza Kardgar was unilaterally chosen by the board of the Federation News Service, to fill her place and restore trust in the organization, both among readers and journalists.
A lack of consultation with many of the prominent journalists and editors from the Vostinael era led many to resign and split into two camps, the liberal Federation Dispatch and the conservative Citizen’s Post. Eventually most journalists and editors returned upon seeing that Kardgar was committed to an independent and multi-partisan FNS, where opinions from all sides of the issue were published. Once criticized as disjointed, this style of coverage later earned the FNS a number of honors and increased its readership dramatically after a lull in subscriptions following a widely held belief that it was no longer reporting the hard news.
Changing of the Guard
It would seem that reporting the ‘hard news’ and not subscribing to self-censorship got the better of the Kardgar era FNS in the end though. With the appointment of noted literary tour de force Lara Senekal as the interim editor-in-chief, many see that little is going to change in the way the FNS does things, and it might even become more committed to calling the galaxy to account.
Whether Senekal’s appointment is permanent remains to be seen, but analysts say she’s certainly in the running, along with two other women: former Palais de la Concorde correspondent and politics editor Isabella Coronado, and entertainment editor Elvira van der Loop. All three women represent very different styles of reporting and personal journalistic philosophies, and many FNS readers are watching on the edge of their seats as the issue continues to be debated and analyzed on news shows and late night panels.
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