Hyderabad: TV Today Network, the owner of Aaj Tak and India Today on Monday sued News Laundry over portraying the channels as peddlers of fake news and disseminating communal hatred.
TV Today Network filed a defamation lawsuit against News Laundry along with the latter’s editorial staff and management, seeking damages worth Rs Rs 2,00,00,100 from them for “commercially disparaging” its commercial products, management, and news anchors.
It is said that the defendant has been uploading numerous videos on its website and social media platforms which amounts to “ infringing” on TV Today Network’s copyrights. The plaintiff further alleged that News Laundry made untrue, unfair, disparaging as well as maliciously defamatory remarks. regarding the news, reporting anchors, and the two channels.
The TV Today Network went on to say that the defendant has used certain clips from its broadcasts, which were taken out of context and remarked that “use of such material by the defendants is, therefore, an infringement of the copyright of the plaintiff in its news broadcasts” under the Copyright Act, 1957.”
Besides Newslaundry Media Private Limited, its co-founder Abhinandan Sekhri, Director Prashant Sareen, Director Roopak Kappor, Executive Editor Manisha Pande, Correspondent Ayush Tiwari, Columnist Hridayesh Joshi, and Executive Editors Atul Chaurasia and Raman Kirpal have been made as defendants in the case. Pande and Chaurasia host two popular Newslaundry shows – TV Newsance and NL Tippani, where they critique media reporting.
Newslaundry further alleged that the defendant had “lowered the standard” of TV news through their brand of journalism.”The said Defendants have repeatedly asserted in their various videos that news telecast by TV today network is biased as they accept revenues in the form of advertisements from corporate houses. This cannot be further from the truth. The plaintiff company and the India Today Group have always been independent agencies and have no political or corporate affiliations.”
In News Laundry’s defence, co-founder Abhinandan Sekri said, “What is alarming to me is that these are the people who are supposed to stand up for a free press and freedom of speech. India Today, which prides itself as a self-congratulatory, fantastic news brand, if this is their understanding of free press and freedom of speech, it explains the dismal state of media”.
Furthermore, Sekri remarked, “Media has gotten used to being at a top of the pyramid, reporting on everyone from politicians to bureaucrats to the judiciary to industrialists to actors and their children, suddenly if they are being reported on, it is a very new alien feeling to them which they are not used to but they will have to get used to.”