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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Journalists following up on a story on a secret diary that indicated the bribing and corruption of members of the Tamil Nadu cabinet by industrialist and mining baron Sekhar Reddy found that another diary was quickly doing the rounds, this time with the names of  journalists and alleged payouts to them in what is seen as a clumsy attempt to discredit their work. The News Minute editor-in-chief Dhanya Rajendran who quickly put out a screenshot of the offending page with the watermark 'Made by idiots' tweeted that journalists can make a lot of money if they want to but are here to do a job, with integrity!                    

Ravi Belagere, editor of Kannada tabloid Hi Bangalore, was arrested on Dec 8 on allegations  of hiring a contract killer to murder a fellow journalist, his former employee  Sunil Heggaravanahalli. Police found guns and ammunition in his home.  In June this year he was one of two editors to attract a jail sentence ordered by the Speaker of the Karnataka Assembly for breach of privilege following  allegedly defamatory articles against legislators. ( The News Minute)                              

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