Other States

Former ACP moves court against Republic TV

A former Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Iqbal Shaikh, filed a suit before the city civil and sessions court on Tuesday seeking a restraint on Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami from defaming the Mumbai Police and undermining the probe in the Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation case, in which the channel is accused.

The suit has been filed by Mr. Shaikh through advocate Abha Singh, stating that “allegation pertained to the fact where meters placed at individual homes for determining TRP were rigged by offering illicit inducements to the households where the said meters were placed. These meters provided the viewership details of the channel view by individual homes. Through this process of rigging, individual channels would get higher rating i.e. TRP and thus higher advertisement revenue”.

On October 8, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said a TRP racket was busted by the Crime Branch, which involved Republic TV, Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi.

In the suit, the ACP seeks remedies for a ‘sustained campaign’ of defamation being directed against the Mumbai Police. The 92-page-suit states, “In complete violation of the norms of journalistic conduct by Mr. Goswami who have been made subject to such probe in a statutory investigation, a smear campaign of a sustained nature has been launched by the Republic TV against the Mumbai Police and which in turn has aggrieved Mr. Shaikh.”

Mr. Shaikh wants a permanent injunction, restraining them from either directly or indirectly discussing or referring to the case under investigation, and seeks ₹5 lakhs as damages for causing mental agony and loss of reputation to the Mumbai Police.

The suit also emphasises the statutory guidelines issued by the Press Council of India (PCI), which state that the same person cannot be the owner of a media establishment as well as the editor because ownership and editorial control have to be independent of each other. Mr. Goswami triples up, first as the owner and director of the media company, second as the editor-in-chief, and third as an anchor, which is an open contempt of the guidelines of PCI, the suit states.

The matter will be heard on October 21.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 8:55:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/former-acp-moves-court-against-republic-tv/article32904839.ece

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