Times of India increases its demand from Rs one crore to Rs 100 crore
Radhika Giri’s recent article in The Weekend Leader on Malayalee journalists, ‘Rising emotions, falling objectivity, the truth behind Mullaiperiyar coverage in Chennai newsrooms’ has pitted us in a direct battle with The Times of India, which has issued a second legal notice in less than a week, with a new demand of Rs100 Crore as compensation.
The first notice demanded Rs One Crore.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our precious readers who had called and assured me of their support.
These are challenging times for The Weekend Leader, and a long battle lies ahead for all those who believe in freedom of expression.
But the important message is that we are not going to yield to any threat. We will continue to be the voice of the people and remain committed to truth, justice and fair play.
Following is the full text of the second notice:
Sub: Legal Notice against article titled “Rising emotions, falling objectivity, the truth behind Mullaiperiyar coverage in Chennai newsrooms” written/ authored by Radhika Giri, correspondent on your website“theweekendleader.com” and selecting /approving by the Editor/ Owner.
Under instructions of my client Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd, owner of the newspaper The Times of India published in Chennai having its office at Times House, 126/127 Chamiers Road, Nandanam, Chennai-600 035 and registered office at The Times of India Building Dr. D.N. Road, Mumbai 400 001 and its corporate office at Times House, 7, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi-110002; Mr Sunil Nair, Resident Editor, The Times of India Chennai; this legal notice is issued to you as under:-
1. At the outset we state that we have been shocked and surprised to come across this totally false and malicious article written with ulterior motive and malicious intent posted on your website on 05-Dec-2011 in Vol 2 Issue 48 at the website address:
titled “Rising emotions, falling objectivity, the truth behind Mullaiperiyar coverage in Chennai newsrooms” written/ authored byRadhika Giri and selected for publication by the Editor of the website Mr P.C Vinoj Kumar.
2. My clients have sent you a legal notice dated 6/12/2011 (sent on 7/12/2011) asking you to remove the above said defamatory article from your website but you have failed to do so and are in a most brazen manner continuing to publish and circulate it throughout India and Abroad by your website.
3. My clients are receiving messages from their readers spread all over India/ Abroad and particularly in Delhi saying that they hold the newspaper its editor, correspondents in high esteem and after reading this article on net their reputation has fallen in their eyes and now they look at every news published in newspaper with suspicion. After reading the said defamatory and mischievous article on your said website my clients reputation has been lowered in the eyes not only of the readers but also in media circles both in India and Abroad.
4. You are aware that my client’s newspaper The Times of India is known for its journalistic ethics and fair reporting. The said newspaper is being published and circulated throughout India and is known for its patriotism and nationalistic outlook. My client’s newspaper/ publications has/have never indulged in any manner in regionalism or casteism but has/have always reported fairly on issues of great public interest or concern.
5. My client has always followed the policy of promoting merit amongst its employees and it is for this reason that persons from one state head departments and positions in other states. My clients were pained and shocked to come across the said article on your website wherein a certain section of my client’s employees are painted/alleged to be favoring a certain party/ state on a regional issue which is far away from truth and smacks of ulterior motive and malafide intent .
6. The said article is totally false, baseless and has been written and published as a part of greater conspiracy against my client and its newspaper, more specifically to hurt its image and business interests in the State of Tamil Nadu. It appears that my client’s business rivals conspiring with the author Radhika Giri, P.C Vinoj Kumar, editor of your website, senior officials/directors/owners/partners of website company Tristar Enterprises with common intention and ulterior motives have dragged my client into the controversy around the Mullaiperiyar dam in Kerala to defame it, incite mischief against it and hurt its business interests in Tamil Nadu.
7. By your said article you have provoked the general public to commit breach of peace, you have also promoted enmity and hatred between persons belonging to the State of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to the extent of inciting them to commit breach of peace and harmony in these and other places. In fact, serious imputations and assertions have been made in the said article specifically against my clients and generally which are grossly prejudicial to national integration and peace in these two states. You have by the said article pitted the elite belonging to the forward castes against backward castes in Tamil Nadu, which is again done to further your nefarious designs.
8. My clients state that each and every sentence of the said article is false, baseless and defamatory and imputations made therein have been made maliciously with intent to tarnish the image of my client and its business interests, goodwill in the State of Tamil Nadu. Your allegations as to “Times View” published on 24/11/2011 in The Times of India edition wherein Mullaperiyar is not spelled as Mullaiperyar, as persons in the state of Tamil Nadu would refer to it, and inferences drawn from it, that The Times of India, Chennai favors Kerala on the dam issue is totally exaggerated, baseless and nothing but malicious falsehood. The author of the article Radhika Giri or its Editor P.C Vinoj Kumar have not tried to cross-check as to what is the view of my client’s newspaper on the issue but unilaterally published this wholly false and baseless article, in a reckless manner, without any regard for truth or responsibility towards the State/(s)/Nation. The whole article is nothing but piece of malicious and malafide design made/written with an intent to cause mischief and harm to my clients.
9. My clients state that the said article, imputations and false statements therein amount to defamation and are written with an intent to harm/ tarnish the reputation of my clients and have grossly defamed my clients. My clients state that the first among the above named is the Author of the news article and the second among the above is the Editor of news Website and last is the Owner of the legal entity owning the website and are all jointly and severally liable for the publication of impugned article and consequences thereof.
10. My clients state that the content of the said article have been widely read by the public in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Delhi and rest of India wherever the said website is available through internet thereby causing a lot of disrepute, harm, loss of reputation in the eyes of general public/ persons. The management, staff and employees of my clients have also suffered a lot of mental agony and have been exposed to harm by mischievous persons who have been/ are being incited by publication of the said article and its presence/being hosted on your website.
11. My clients state that by publishing the said article and in a most brazen manner continuing with such action even after having been put to notice by my clients you have continued and are still continuing with your action whereby you have committed offences under the Indian Penal Code and have also rendered yourself liable for payment of compensation/damages/loss for the tortious acts committed by you in making, publishing, hosting and circulating the defamatory/mischievous article against my clients.
My clients hereby call upon you (1) to immediately/ within 12 hours remove the said article from your website (2) to cease and desist from publishing defamatory/mischievous materials against my clients in any manner whatsoever in your website or otherwise (3) to immediately/within 12 hours tender an unconditional apology prominently on your website (4) pay to my client a sum of Rs. One Hundred Crore as compensation / damages within 7 days from the receipt of this notice. Failing as above my clients shall be constrained to initiate legal action against you all for the recovery of compensation/ damages jointly and severally and also prosecute you for offences committed by you under the Indian Penal Code.
Copy of this notice is been kept in my office for future action if any.