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"No One Including Media Should Be Above Scrutiny":News Laundry Responds to Times Group's Rs. 100 Cr. Defamation Suit

News Laundry Times Group Defamation
A Rs 100-crore defamation suit was filed by BCCL in December, 2020 pertaining to two videos which was published by News Laundry, "Toadies Banega Tu: TV Newsance Episode 107," and "Explained: How to Rig TRPs," published in October, 2020 and December 1, 2020 respectively.

News Laundry has said in its reply, opposing BCCLs prayer for ad-interim reliefs-"It is unfortunate that an organisation like BCCL, which has had a glorious history of standing up for the press, has filed a defamation suit against a small, independently run media outlet that has consciously chosen a revenue model that allows it to work fairly without the pressure of the 'Unofficial Editorial Line' and without the fear of losing advertisement revenue.” 

News Laundry further said, "Pointing out contradictions does not amount to 'Defamation' in anyrespect, moreover, though BCCL has not stated it, their real problem with the video is that News Laundry has juxtaposed different narratives being served to the public by a single organisation".

The matter was presented for hearing before Justice AK Menon, where News Laundry was represented by senior advocate Nikhil Sakhardande and advocate Nipun Katyal, while BCCL was represented by advocate Vijay Hiremath and Swaraj Jadhav.

The suit was filed against the directors of News Laundry, Prashant Sareen and Roopak Kapoor, scriptwriter Meghnad S, producer-director Aditya Varier, assistant producer Jude Weston, editor Samrendra Dash, researcher Sughosh Joshi and Manisha Pande.

BCCL has sought directions to News Laundry to deposit Rs 100 crore and to refrain from making any further defamatory statements against the publication or re-telecasting the content.

News Laundry has responded stating that they have used Kumar's picture as a matter of "routine journalistic practice." Navika Kumar has, herself, indulged in such practices on several occasions, it states, followed by examples."Of the 3 mins video, 90 seconds dedicated to news clips of Times Now and approximately 20 seconds to read out Managing Director of BCCL, Vineet Jain's tweets," News Laundry has said.

In the first video, News Laundry is seen comparing the coverage of different times publications - Times of India and Times Now – in actor Sushant Singh Raput's death case. BCCLs primary concern with the second video is using the picture of Navika Kumar with other channel heads as the cover photo to create an impression that Times Now is also involved in illegal Acts of TRP manipulation.

The petition questions the "tone and tenor" of the videos, alleging misuse of freedom of speech and expression, terming it as a malicious attempt to malign the reputation of Senior Management of BCCL.The final relief sought is an unconditional apology for defaming Times Now's (a publication of BCCL) anchors Navika Kumar and Rahul Shivshankar.


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