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Published in the 1-15 May 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

An open letter to all MG readers
Are we serious?

Milli Gazette fortnightly was started in January 2000 as India’s first Muslim newspaper in English. It was the first such effort which started without appeals or campaigns for donations and was mainly sustained by other activities of our company (Pharos Media) but this seems increasingly difficult now as the company is seriously in debt precisely because of Milli Gazette and Muslim India. 

The Milli Gazette steadily progressed from 16 tabloid pages to 24 and later to 32 pages per fortnight in order to cope with the news and developments of our diverse and vibrant community. MG website (www.milligazette.com) is now among top online editions of Indian newspapers reaching all over the world but this generates no revenue as the site remains on purpose a free service open to all visitors as part of our mission. Our print edition, which could sustain the paper, suffers from lack of both adequate sales and advertising. It was our estimate that within two years the paper would sustain itself and that we will be able to develop it into a weekly which alone would do justice to our community's news and issues. But after more than four years now, we are constrained to take a hard and serious look at the whole enterprise. 

In the meantime, when Syed Shahabuddin decided to close down Muslim India in December 2002 after twenty years of continuous publication, we came forward to keep it alive since it was doing a great service to the community in a field we are greatly disadvantaged in. Now in its second year with us, Muslim India too continues to make unbearable losses.

I am approaching all of you before taking a decision within the next few months about the future of both these publications. If you seriously believe that such publications should continue, I would request you to suggest and take immediate actions which would put The Milli Gazette and Muslim India on their feet, through whatever means each one of you thinks proper to address the issue at hand. The Milli Gazette primarily aims at reaching out to non-Muslim readers, who are fed misinformation day in and and day out, in a language they could understand but for this to be possible Muslims alone will have to come forward to make it possible. If each one of you enlists ten more subscribers and convinces just one Muslim businessman to advertise in MG regularly, our problems will be over. Think of subscribing to your relatives, friends, politicians and libraries.

A lot will depend on your response today to determine if our community continues to have a strong presence in English-language media.

— Zafarul-Islam Khan

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