No right to criticize

IN Media Watch Briefs | 06/08/2017

An additional district judge in Delhi ruled last week that the press does not have any exclusive right or special privilege to comment, "criticise or make imputations or allegations which are sufficient to ruin a citizen’s reputation".   PTI reports  that the court’s order came as it restrained the managing editor of a magazine from publishing any libelous articles against a man who has alleged that he was defamed. It also directed the magazine editor and another person to pay Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 respectively to the man as “symbolic damages”.  Since PTI never names media outlets in its stories, we do not know which magazine this is.                                  

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The National Herald has announced  that Neelabh Mishra, Editor-in-Chief of National Herald and Navjeevan, died on February 24 after a long illness, in Chennai. He was formerly editor of the Hindi Outlook until 2015, and became editor of NH in 2016. He began his career from the Navbharat Times in Patna, and launched Eenadu TV in Rajasthan in 1998. Tributes to him on Twitter describe him as  deeply committed to egalitarian and secular values.                                             

The Hindu, The Times of India and  Hindustan Times reported the most controversial parts of the Army chief's Feb 21 speech on immigration in the North East and the growth of the AIUDF as a party. It was only Indian Express that reported a longer excerpt, in which he spoke of amalgamation rather than identification as a solution in Assam, and pointed out that Muslims had come to Assam with the Ahoms in the 1200s and had equal rights over the land. "Both these people have claim to the state of Assam and therefore to the North East region," the army chief said.  Why didn't the others report this crucial admission, which is rarely heard? Because it would have gone against the sensational headlines all the papers gave to their report of the speech? The headlines either highlighted Rawat's comparison between the growth of Badruddin Ajmal's  AIUDF's and the BJP, or his accusation that Pakistan and China were driving the illegal immigration into the North East.                     

            

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