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					                    Tabloidization of the Media:
                    The Page Three Syndrome*
                                                                             Justice G.N. Ray

      C.P. Scott, the founder editor of the Manchester Guardian, once said:
"News is sacred, opinion is free". In India, news in a written format had always
been considered the truth and has been more powerful than the spoken word.
But such position is not anymore.
       Media is an integral and imperative component of democratic polity
and is rightly called fourth limb of democracy. It is not merely what the media
does in a democracy, but what it is, that defines the latter. Its practice, its maturity,
and the level of ethics it professes and practices in its working are as definitive
of the quality of a democracy as are the functions of the other limbs. With
tremendous growth and expansion, prospects of mass media are today viewed
as more powerful than ever before.
      However some feel that the media has gone too far ahead of itself, and
today media has become more show rather than the medium.
       Media has created its own world of glamour, gossip, sex and sensation,
that has played a major role in distracting attention from the real issues of our
times.
        Former Chief Vigilance Commissioner N. Vittal in his article in Bhavan's
journal June 30, "Journalism is losing……" has indicated that special problem
faced by journalists these days relates to journalism itself. The page 3 culture
can make people live in a make-believe world and as a result, instead of
journalism connecting people, it may result in the people losing touch with
reality being connected through the media. He has noted that in the media,
print or electronic, glamour has become a part of day-to-day life and that has
led to the development of the Page 3 culture. It was the crystallisation of the
concept articulated by Andy Warhol that in future "everyone will be famous for
15 minutes".
       The combination of television and Page 3 culture has also made a very
curious impact on public persons many of whom do not enjoy the public esteem
in real sense and need to be seen to be remembered. In the past to become
public celebrity lot of groundworks were involved including physically meeting
people and connecting with them in their needs and aspiration. But thanks to
* Address by Mr. Justice G.N. Ray, Chairman, Press Council of India at Seminar organised by the Public
Relations Society of India and Mass Media Centre, Government of West Bengal on August 25, 2006 at
the Abaninddra Sabhaghar, Kolkata.

                                                  1
the electronic media and the print media, it has become possible to reach a
wider audience quite often and thus attaining the status of celebrity without
having to undergo the drudgery of travelling along the dusty roads and to
standby the people in their needs to get results.
        A tabloid originally meant "small tablet of medicine", then it was used
figuratively to mean a compressed form or dose of anything, hence tabloid
journalism (1901), and newspapers that typified it (1918), that has small pages,
short articles, and lot of photographs. Tabloids are often considered to be less
serious than other newspapers printed on large sized paper (broadsheets), and
qualified to be called entertainment journalism.
        The term 'Page three' originates from entertainment news in daily
newspapers supplements appearing usually on the third page that chronicle
parties and gossip of the glitterati - the country's equivalent of tabloid journalism.
Page 3 features colour photo spreads of celebrities and the nouvea riche at
parties and of course, captured indulging in activities far removed from life of
the general public. There are lots of people who only read Page 3 sheets and
discard the main newspaper, specially the young. The range from fashion
designers to models, artists of the silver screen and glamorous celebrities. Today,
the flashy supplements are a mix of celebrity news, party pictures, movie gossip
and juicy stories on private lives of celebrities.
       Page 3 has become a phenomenon and is believed to have arisen out of
sensationalism. People may love to love it or love to hate it, but cannot ignore
it.
       Observers say that India's runaway Page 3 culture reflects two distinct
levels of an aspirational society. One is the need for leisurely passing time
without any serious reflection on issues of national importance. The second is
the desire to be seen to be famous by featuring on Page 3. One Page 3 sheet
claimed in a recent self-congratulatory article that everyone wanted to be in it
but nobody wanted to admit it. In a way, Page 3 reflects the interdependence of
media and celebrity.
        Tabloidization is a shift by the media away from national and international
issues of importance to a more entertainment or gossipy style of journalism
that focuses on "Lifestyle, celebrity, entertainment and crime/scandal". This
shift is really a matter of concern because it gives rise to fear for the future of
the media and the role and responsibility attached to it.
       The fear behind this shift towards tabloidization lies in its implications.
The effect of this shift to a more entertainment based journalism style is that the
important issues such as health care education and issues relating socio political
reforms which require to be addressed with seriousness have been given the

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back seat. The nation is deprived of information vital to reaching sound policy
decisions. Our perception of society can vary greatly depending on the source
of news and that bad information will inevitably lead to bad public policies.
       There are some persons with lot of confidence in media who argue that
Tabloidization has, infact, not occurred and that the media is the same today as
it was thirty years ago, but, there are some facts, which tell a different story: A
survey reported on the net showed that in 1977 less than 1% of the stories
covered in network news were about scandal; by 1987 they were 17%, and
straight news declined from 51% in 1977 to 34% in 1997. During the same
time period 'Time Magazines' stories about government declined from 15% to
4% while entertainment stories rose from 8% to 15%. Even though this survey
covers a decade that is already two decades back and the magnitude of the shift
may be arguable, but clearly a shift has been taking place in the manner in
which the media present the news. It is not unreasonable to think that the position
today has changed by leaps and bounds extending the horizon of tabloidization.
The question needs to be addressed is what then has caused or led the media to
move in this direction.
       One view is that the corporations that own the satellite channels are
responsible. The other view is that competition between networks is responsible.
Another view is that public person only interested in their glamour image have
encouraged the whole process to draw away the attention of the public from
serious issues.
        The news journalists "follow orders" from the corporate owners and
shape the news accordingly. The result is news media, which "manipulates
information" to push the agenda of the corporations which is based on marketing
themselves and their products. Covering up of the news that may be detrimental
to the economic health and/or reputation of the company guides such marketing.
This is where tabloidization comes into play. In order to push their interests or
to draw the attention away from the news that may in fact 'hurt' them, the
corporations have created a news media that concentrate on attracting audiences
through stories about sleaze, scandal and personal lives.
        Another lamentable feature is erosion of the importance of the office of
Editor. In olden days, editor used to enjoy a special position in a newspaper.
Even if a particular newspaper had leaned towards a particular socio-political
ideology, the editor had always enjoyed enough freedom to articulate his view
and comments on contemporary events. Some newspapers, as a matter of fact,
used to be known by the excellence of their editors. In this age of tabloidization
and pursuit of extreme commercial interest, advertisement or commercial
directors of a newspaper enjoy special position and often decide to what extent
general news will be covered.

                                         3
       Has corrosive competition lead to the Tabloidization of the news? The
major fear of the media having this speed - based mentality is that it is at the
cost of accuracy and that the attitude has become "never let the facts stand in
the way of a good story".
        Corporate ownership also has played a role in the process of
Tabloidization. Marketing has become a large part of both television and print
media. Tabloidization is much less expensive than traditional reporting. It costs
less to run a news clip than to send a reporter to the scene.
       The technology factors have also played major role in the process of
Tabloidization. The technological improvements and editing technologies made
the "packaging" possible.
         The dominance of Page 3 people in the news content of newspaper and
its ever-increasing horizon especially in national level newspapers, is a negative
trend, visible in the media as a whole irrespective of being print or electronic.
In fact, on the electronic media, cinema trivia control the prime time bulletin.
Regional media has by and large exhibited till now greater restraint in carrying
trivialized material in their news content.
        The colour picture supplements with "Page 3" meet the requirement of
both the patrons and clients. They can bring in everything - Publicity for products
- without even raising an eyebrow. Exaggerated pressures from the television/
satellite channels are used as a pretext by print media for supposed felt need
propelled by competition for further trivialization of news columns which, in
turn, encourage more crass commercialisation. Indeed, this vicious circle though
highly reprehensible, rules the field.
       Insensitivity to the content and focus on trivia are rampant today with
media focussing more and more on illness and accidents of the famous at the
cost of developmental issues. The coverage of personal life of celebrities more
than needed only leaves the message that nothing else was happening in the
country, which deserves its place in the coverage of news. Yet it is worth nothing
that young viewers polled by Mid-Day agreed that the Volcker Committee report
was more important. This indicates the divide between what people want and
what the media thinks that people want. They would do well to recognize the
pulse of the people.
       Criticising trivialisation and sensationalisation of news recently Shri Jaipal
Reddy, former Minister for Information & Broadcasting pointed out that Media
scene in the country had undergone not only a "dramatic" change but also a
'traumatic' one. Page 3 people are increasingly trying to get into page one by
joining politics. Further he emphasised that entertainment should be distinct
from information. Instead of discussing the dressing sense or appeal, the media

                                          4
should focus on their work. He advised media to do "collective and cool,
introspection" besides building up its credibility and urged print media not to
compete with electronic media glamorisation. The comments of Reddyji deserve
a serious thought.
        In the media scenario, which had emerged today, there is growing
practice of masquerading paid publicity as genuine news. A large amount of
media's contemporary problems flow from the greed of a section of it.
Surprisingly, the established ones with decisive market domination are very
often alleged, indulge in this pernicious practice of selling news columns. In
this era of economic opening up, lobbyist or even foreign powers, can fill news
columns with inspired stories.
       If the present trend catches on, there will be no way to stop it. We need
to be alive to the danger before it is too late.
        The threat has to be met, not by trivialisation, but by more indepth and
public interest stories and background on which the print media is on a stronger
wicket. Market surveys create cherished myths like the 'Generation Now' is
disinterested in serious political and economic news and everyone is casual
glancer of colour advertisements. But the popularity of the "competition" pages,
intelligent quiz programmes tell a different story.
        It is not the free market competition but competitive marketisation of
the media that creates a generation of false notion. Mindless marketisation by
interested sections can be countered only by better understanding of what the
public want. Media should not forget that its main aim is to provide information
to create a sound citizenry.
       Instead of an imagined "generation now" mindset, newspapers will have
to spread horizontally - like consumer producers exploring the vast rural market.
Newspapers will have to sell the news to the readers, the ultimate consumer of
news for whose benefits the whole task is undertaken.
       This shift from journalism to the market is not a good or healthy sign. In
the United States, where marketing was invented, journalism and television
and the Internet have had the same pulls and pressures of the market. Still they
have the 'New York Times' and 'Washington Post' and several other magazines
doing extremely well. In India also there are few papers which can boast of
their quality of contents.
         In our country we seem to have somehow deviated from the core
mandate of journalist. We have commercialised, we have trivialised, we have
indulged in pernicious attempt to make all the pages as Page 3. Such state of
affair is to be noted with anxiety and grave concern. To say the least, this trend
is not good because journalism is one of the continuing thought processes of
                                        5
civilisation. The redeeming feature is that by and large the regional media, or
the regional language media, which is also called the vernacular media, has not
yet fallen to a reasonable extent to this trend of trivialisation. But anxiety is
how long this last pasture will remain comparatively green.
       Following the commercialisation of the media, the adage 'mirror of society'
associated with journalism is perhaps no longer relevant. Therefore the
immediate task is to grapple with an ethical question: Is there a "this far and no
further" in commercialisation of news? It is no secret that the columns of
newspapers are handed out on a platter to suit personal interests by planting
favourable stories and killing negative ones. In the process, objectivity has
taken a holiday.
      The time perhaps has come for the P.R. man to rise to use his skills for
an image makeover for the newspaper industry and I do not mean just a cosmetic
make over but that which will have depth and touch the society at large.
       Public Relation is certainly an asset to any venture and I am sure that the
members of the society that I am addressing today are alive to their larger
responsibilities to the country over the interests of the company they serve.
        Last but not the least, the role of readers, assumes great importance in
combating the malaise being discussed. The readers, in my view have important
role to play. If they remain callous and meekly accept whatever is given to
them by the media without any protest or critical estimate of the role of media,
this unfortunate trend would continue unabated and perhaps with greater ferocity
ultimately leading the readers to be insensitive to the real role required to be
played by the media in building up a vibrant and progressive society. Eternal
vigilance is not only the price of democracy but also the price for effective role
of the media. I appeal to all right thinking citizen to raise voice of protest against
the malady of tabloidization and page three syndrome as effectively as
practicable. I am confident that such protest and constructive criticism of the
role of media cannot go unheeded.
       I wish you all the best in the endeavour.


                                                                                    q




                                          6
                 Government and the Press
Govt to protect interests of small newspapers
      Shimla, August 3 : Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that the
government was committed to safeguard the interests of the small newspapers.
        The Chief Minister was addressing a delegation of the Himachal Pradesh
Saptahik Patrakar Sangh, here "On our request the Centre has given relaxation
in circulation to the small newspapers," he said.
       He said that the government was extending all possible cooperation to
the small newspapers so that they can take out their publication regularly. We
have provided accreditation to all correspondents at the district and sub-
divisional level and the editors of small newspapers had also been included, he
said.
       He said the official machinery at every level had been cooperating with
the journalists and providing them with all relevant information. The small
newspapers play a very important role in propagating the policies and
programmes of the state government the farthest corner of the state so that
people can benefit from it, he said.
       Mr Virbhadra Singh said that in future even the state government would
contribute development articles, features and other literature to the small
newspapers so that the readers have access to such material. We have created
the Journalist Welfare Fund with a corpus of Rs. 10 lakh to cater to the welfare
needs of active journalists in hour of need, he said. He said the rules and
regulations of these were being finalized and the members would be asked to
make a token contribution so that they could avail the benefit of the scheme.
      He assured the delegation comprising Mr. Sunder Lal Verma, President,
and Mr. Ganesh Dutt, General Secretary that the demand of the sangh would be
examined and the necessary relief given to small newspapers.
                                                           The Tribune
                                                           Chandigarh
                                                           August 4, 2006


Self regulation gets legal recognition ASCI code made
compulsory for TV Ads
      The Government of India has notified amendment in Cable Television
Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2006 that states:
                                       7
       "(9) No advertisement which violates the Code for Self-Regulation in
       Advertising, as adopted by the Advertising Standards Council of India
       (ASCI), Mumbai for public exhibition in India, from time to time, shall
       be carried in the cable service".
                                         (Press Release dated August 9, 2006)

Govt mulls law to regulate sting acts
Minister wins media battle
n   Shivraj Patil gives clean chit to Home Minister
n   Gavit's voice does not match with the voice aired on Zee TV, says expert
n   Advani seeks law to regulate sting operations
n   Probe to ascertain who actualy spoke on the tape
n   Several members greet the maligned minister
        New Delhi : The Centre is considering bringing in a stringent law to
deal with sting operations. This was announced by Union Home Minister Shivraj
Patil in the Lok Sabha while giving a clean chit to Minister of State for Home
Manikrao Gavit accused of having a conversation with a jailed criminal, saying
his voice did not match with that of the person in a tape aired by a TV channel.
      Zee TV aired an audio tape on August 13 claiming that it contained
conversation between Mr. Gavit and mafia don Sunder Bhati lodged in
Bulandshahar jail in Uttar Pradesh.
        Making a statement in the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said
that the CBI had collected tapes from Zee TV which aired them and recorded
statements of relevant persons.
       The CBI collected the voice sample of Mr. Gavit on the tape in the
presence of independent witnesses and experts of Central Forensic Science
Laboratory (CFSL), he said. "The voices on the tapes were examined on audio
spectrography by experts who have opined that they do not tally and are not of
the same person," Mr. Patil said. He laid the report by the experts on table of the
House.
       Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee welcomed Mr. Gavit to
Parliament. Mr. Gavit, who was sitting in the back row, then moved to front
benches. Several members from Treasury benches greeted him.
       Intervening in the matter, Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani said the
matter was serious and noted the minister, who had nothing to do with it, had
been maligned. He demanded a law to regulate sting operations. Mr. Patil said
it was important to first establish whose voice it was.

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         An inquiry will be carried out to ascertain who actually spoke, whether
the person in jail was spoken to and if so, how could he have a telephone in
jail. It will take some time, Mr. Patil said.
        Pointing out that the channel, while airing the tape, had said it was a
result of official surveillance, Mr. Advani wanted to know whether the probe
went into this aspect.
       Mr. Gavit had stated that he was willing to subject himself to any inquiry
by anybody to ascertain the truth in the matter and that he would refrain from
discharging his executive or legislative functions until report of the inquiry
was given to the House and that he would not join his duties unless he was
acquitted.
                                                             The Deccan Herald
                                                             Bangalore
                                                             August 26, 2006

Free speech vs fair trial
Law Panel Proposals Aimed at Checking 'Trial By Media'
         New Delhi : In a bid to restore balance between free speech and fair
trial, the Law Commission on Thursday came up with a set of controversial
proposals to rein in what it called "trial by media".
       Reacting to aggressive coverage of crime stories, the commission
recommended that the media be barred from reporting anything prejudicial to
an accused, right from the time he is arrested in the course of the investigation.
This is a far cry from the existing situation in which the contempt law kicks in
only after the investigation is completed and the accused chargesheeted.
       The recommendations go to the law minister and concerned ministries.
The commission report is also tabled in Parliament, but it is not obliged to heed
the recommendations.
       Since the question of contempt can arise only in what is considered to
be appending case, the commission said the starting point of pendency should
be arrest rather than filing of chargesheet, as provided in Section 3 of the
Contempt of Court Act.
       The commission's rationale is that competition within the media cannot
be allowed to prejudge or prejudice the case against the accused by the time it
goes to trial. But then such an amendment could deter the media from performing
its watchdog function of exposing real time any collusion between the police
and the accused.

                                        9
        In another controversial recommendation, the commission said high
courts should be empowered to pass "postponement" orders against any media
organisation set to run a story related to the case in hand. Adding a caveat, it
said this sweeping power of ordering prior restraint should be exercised only in
cases where the accused person could prove "real risk of serious prejudice".
       The commission has also come up with an illustrative list of categories
of publications that could be prejudicial to fair trial.
       It includes reports discrediting witnesses or referring to the character of
the accused, his previous convictions and his extra-judicial confessions.
       The commission headed by former Supreme Court judge M Jagannadha
Rao said that it felt the need to highlight the problem of trial by media as there
was growing interference with the administration of justice.
        It said that its recommendation to render the media liable to contempt
right from the stage of arrest was in keeping with a Supreme Court judgment of
1969, A.K. Gopalan vs Noordeen. The report seeks to incorporate the SC verdict
in the law.
       The commission said judges, despite all their training and experience,
are vulnerable to getting biased because of the media.
        The report on trial by media was among the four submitted by the 17th
Law Commission on the last day of its tenure. The other reports are on witness
identity protection and witness protection programme, unfair terms of contract
and emergency medical treatment to victims of accidents and persons in
emergency medical condition.
                                                             The Times of India
                                                             New Delhi
                                                             September 1, 2006

Bhardwaj comes to media's defence
        New Delhi, Sept. 2: Union law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj stoutly defended
the role of media in highlighting the lapses of prosecution and thereby ensuring
that "rule of law" prevails in the country.
       Asserting that the country had a vibrant democratic system, with a highly
independent judiciary, the Union law Minister rejected the charge that "trial by
media" in important cases tended to influence the judges while dealing with
cases.
       In an apparent reference to the recent Jessica Lall murder case, Mr.
Bhardwaj maintained that the media, far from interfering with the judicial process,
was in fact helping society by exposing the lapses of prosecution.

                                        10
       "When you have an independent judiciary, you don't need to fear the
press influence," he remarked.
      However, Mr. H.R. Bhardwaj advised the media against using unethical
means to sensationalise stories.
                                                          The Asian Age
                                                          New Delhi
                                                          September 3, 2006

Newspapers should be in forefront of creating awareness:
Shekhawat
       New Delhi : Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat said that
newspapers have a greater responsibility of not only highlighting the problems
of the people but also paving the way for their just and fair solutions.
       Speaking at a ceremony after releasing a commemorative volume "Poorna
Pradakshina" dedicated to the memory of Poornchand Gupta, freedom fighter
and founder of Hindi daily "Dainik Jagran", he said that newspapers should be
in the forefront of creating awareness about a number of issues facing a
substantial chunk of the country's population that was still struggling to make
both ends meet.
       "Though the government is also doing its bit for improving the lot of
underprivileged sections, it is the duty of the newspapers to see that benefits
reach down to all sections of the society". Mr. Shekhawat said. Paying glowing
tributes to Poornchand Gupta, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said that
veteran journalists like him had worked tirelessly for betterment of the society
and the country.
                                                           The Hindu
                                                           New Delhi
                                                           September 8, 2006

26 p.c. FDI in print medium will stay for now: Dasmunsi
"Plans to strengthen basic AIR services"
       Mangalore: The United Progressive Alliance Government may not
decide so soon on the larger participation of foreign direct investment (FDI) in
the print medium and the present 26 per cent FDI will stay for now, Union
Information and Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan
Dasmunsi said on Saturday.
       The industry had not felt the need for a higher FDI in the print medium,

                                       11
nor was the Government in a hurry to open up the field. The Indian print medium
was perfectly balanced and self-sufficient and there was no need to interfere at
this point of time and some time in a near future also. The Government would
not do anything to jeopardise the spirit of independence of the print medium.
      Mr. Dasmunsi was talking to the press on the sidelines of a function to
inaugurate Dasara celebrations at the Gokarnanatha temple here.
Radio expansion
         Mr. Dasmunsi said the time had come to expand the radio on a wider
canvas. The 'Rainbow' brand of FM channel needed to be developed in all tier-
II cities. There were plans to strengthen the basic AIR services to bring in more
young listeners.
       Private operators would also be encouraged to operate in tier-II cities.
       A few of the new initiatives on both radio and Doordarshan would be
taken up on a higher plane in Karnataka, where the people were highly receptive.
                                                          The Hindu
                                                          New Delhi
                                                          September 24, 2006

Press Council
       New Delhi: Sept. 28: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on
Information Technology has recommended amendments to the Press Counil of
India Act to give the regulatory body more teeth.
                                                            The Statesman
                                                            New Delhi
                                                            September 29, 2006




                                       12
                       Press and the People
Media Centre opened
       Shimla, August 12 : Giving a call for restoration of value-based
journalism, veteran journalist and chairman of the Indian Media Centre, Mr.
Shyam Khosala today expressed concern over erosion of credibility and scant
regard for media ethics.
       Mr. Khosala inaugurated the Himachal Chapter of the Indian media
Centre, here today. "It is very painful to see that the institution of the editor had
been downgraded and market forces were directing the newspaper policies,
making both print and electronic media nothing more than a product," he
lamented.
       Ajay Srivastav was appointed Chonvener of the Himachal Chapter for
undertaking enrolment of members.
                                                               The Tribune
                                                               Chandigarh
                                                               August 13, 2006


Print media is first choice of masses, says The Pioneer Editor
       New Delhi : If you thought print media was under the threat of television,
you may be in for a surprise. Not only has it grown 20 per cent annually during
the past few years, it has also managed to become the first choice of masses
across the country. This was highlighted by the editor of The Pioneer, Dr.
Chandan Mitra, at the third convocation of Pioneer Media School on August
17. Noted filmmaker Ashok Pandit was the chief guest at the function, where
diplomas were awarded to the students of all PG level courses of the institute.
       Speaking on the occasion, chief guest Ashok Pandit criticised the
electronic media for mortgaging their conscience viewership. Pandit said the
electronic media, barring a few channels, has lost focus. "Only journalists can
change the face of the country and it's only possible when one is honest to
himself. A journalist owes a lot of responsibility to the nation and the society."
       Inquisitive mind and the people with questions in mind are the two
qualities that help in making of a successful journalist, stressed Dr. Mitra.
Addressing the convocation, Dr. Mitra said, "It's a great sense of pleasure and
pride as we step into the fourth year of the Pioneer Education Foundation. It
was a hesitant step to start the foundation but we successfully did it and we
hope that PEF would soon be awarded with a status of deemed university. Our

                                         13
objective has been to nurture the talent that's hidden inside every aspiring
journalist. We aim at the stars and we will not stop until we reach them.
       Pioneer Education Foundation was started in 2003 with an aim to provide
a platform for aspiring journalists.
       Since its foundation, this institute has given a lot of opportunity to its
students and thereby making a mark for itself in the top media institutes in the
country.
       Amit Goel, Managing Trustee of the foundation, in his speech said,
"Pioneer Education Foundation was founded not for money but for imparting
education. Everyone bears a capacity to become a journalist. Seeing this, we
are also planning to launch a new course in filmmaking in the near future.
                                                            The Pioneer
                                                            New Delhi
                                                            August 18, 2006

'In breaking news scribes violate ethics'
       New Delhi : In their zeal to 'break' news, many journalists are today
breaking numerous ethical barriers and compromising on the ethical standards
of journalism. If this continues, the day may not be far when the essence of
news would get subsumed by the frills of sensationalism, drama and com-
merce. These concerns were highlighted at the seminar titled "Whither Media"
at Maharaja Agrasen College.
        Noted sports columnist and former sports editor of The Times of India,
V. Srivatsa, said that many journalists today rely more on hearsay rather than
undergo the rigours of verifying the facts themselves. "News becomes a casu-
alty in the process," he added.
        Recalling a time, he said, "A reporter would not say that a man had died
till he or she had verified it at the cremation ground."
       Qurban Ali of Doordarshan expressed concern over the dilution of ethi-
cal standards in modern journalism, especially in television. Citing examples
from BBC and CNN, he said there was great emphasis on verifying facts be-
fore showing a story.
      On the other hand, Vijay Lokapally of The Hindu highlighted some
of the challenges young journalists face, while Mona Sinha, a faculty
member said youngsters have bright ideas. However, they required proper guid-
ance.

                                       14
       Navneet Anand, chief reporter, The Pioneer added that besides, news
acquiring a local flavour, "blogs, videoblogs and photoblogs are increasingly
becoming important".
                                                         The Pioneer
                                                         New Delhi
                                                         August 31, 2006

We must return to the roots of the Indian press and defend
its strengths: N. Ram
There are people “constantly trying to confuse public opinion” by egging
on the Government and pressurising it ideologically
      Kolkata : "In facing the danger of imperialism we must ask from our media
much better performance, greater accountability and greater transparency… The
media are still growing [in India] but their vulnerability is [also]very great," N.
Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu, said here.
        Delivering the Naren Sen Memorial Lecture, 2006, on "the Danger of
Imperialism and the role of the Media" [in the context of responding to and
combating it], Mr. Ram emphasised the "agenda-building function" of the media
which, is at one level, derived from the credible-informational, critical-
investigative and educational function "which in India is only weakly developed."
      "If you do all this well you come to an agenda-building function which
can make a difference both to national policy and public life," he said.
       But the "propaganda role of the press has become a dangerous factor," he
warned. There were those who are "constantly trying to confuse public opinion"
by egging on the Government and pressurising it ideologically. "This is a danger
from within the media," he remarked. "There are some very 'wise' people advising
the Government to sideline the Common Minimum Programme [CMP] and
remove the big irritant of the Left, 'do not listen to it' [they urge]…Even their tone
is propagandist," Mr. Ram observed.
      The occasion he was speaking at marked the 97th birth anniversary of Naren
Sen, whose roles as a veteran freedom fighter, builder of the Communist Party in
Kolkata and a trade union leader were recalled by Mr. Ram.
       "He had played a vital role in safeguarding the integrity and purity of the
revolutionary movement in Kolkata and the country as a whole," he said.
        Mr. Ram also paid tribute to the freedom fighter and veteran Communist
leader, Subodh Roy, who passed away on August 26 but said how "relieved and
happy" he was that Jyoti Basu, who had suffered a fall recently, was recovering
well. These personalities represent a generation that inspired national awakening

                                         15
and the tribute he was paying was "not just to individuals but a whole generation
of freedom fighters and revolutionaries," Mr. Ram said. The day was also observed
as Martyrs Day.
       The role of the media is to "give us an idea of the dangers of imperialism
on our national life, to report on this, look at it critically and where necessary
campaign on such issues, thus participating in a relevant public agenda," Mr. Ram
said. "What can the media do? … The first thing we realise is that we are not poor
in media resources in India … The press grew up and acquired strength in this
country largely on account of its association with the freedom struggle and the
social reform movements. We must return to the roots of the Indian press to
understand its strengths and weakness and the strengths must be defended, not
allowed to decline," he added.
       Mr. Ram dwelt on the relevance of the "five news filters" referred to by
Noam Chomsky and Edward R. Herman. He made special mention of the fifth
and final filter which, as stated by the authors, is the "the ideology of anti-
Communism as a national religion and control mechanism."
       "This is still active especially in India," he noted.
Weak performance
       Speaking on the Centre's performance in recent times, Mr. Ram was
particularly critical of the line being pursued in foreign policy.
        "The Manmohan Singh Government, in my opinion, has done the worst
in the area of foreign policy. It is clearly the weakest area of performance of the
Government; to put it politely I am very disappointed…"
        "Can the Government honestly claim that we have stayed on course with
what the CMP promises regarding maintaining an independent line in the country's
foreign policy? The answer obviously is no," Mr. Ram said. On the crisis in
Lebanon, "where Israel continues to demonstrate its contempt for international
law, where was the voice of the Indian Government," he asked. On the situation
developing in Iran: "The Government of Iran has stood up to imperialism much
better than the Manmohan Singh Government."
                                                               The Hindu
                                                               New Delhi
                                                               September 1, 2006

Make Press freedom a basic right, says Kuldip Nayar
      Bangalore : Freedom of the Press should be a Fundamental Right.
Nothing short of that is acceptable, said veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar here
on Saturday.

                                         16
       But he entered a caveat: Is the media living up to its 'true' image?
       Mr. Nayar was delivering the Justice S. Rangarajan Memorial Lecture
on the 'Independence of the Media', and his observations were as much an
indictment of the journalistic fraternity as they were a wakeup call to it to measure
up to its role as "responsible communicators to people on important issues for
socio-political and economic change". He said media had fallen 'prey' to
globalisation with the result that "it has compromised on its freedom in this
highly commercial environment."
      "A newspaper cannot be a dustbin. It must have news, information and
must be able to provoke thought. Unfortunately, it has been reduced to a
commodity. This gets reflected in the stories that appear in newspapers," said
Mr. Nayar.
Reporters' failure
       He blamed reporters for writing one-sided versions of a story without
presenting the other side.
       "The readers are not at the spot, the reporter is. If you don't communicate
the facts correctly, how do you expect the people to respond?" he asked.
       "The print media is suffering from a disease, which is playing havoc on
readers. The tabloid syndrome, with photographs of young models splashed
all over, has reduced newspapers to a commercial commodity," he noted.
        He said corruption was not confined to just politicians. It has seeped
into the media and even the judiciary. "How many in the media dare speak out?
Very few, because they are scared and also because most of them have become
themselves victims of commercialisation," said Mr. Nayar.
        The Emergency of 1975-77 marked a watershed in journalism, "but now
politicians and bureaucrats are catering to the needs of each other and journalists
are catering to both".
       Mr. Nayar demanded that, like in the case of parliamentarians, editors
should also be asked to declare their assets along with those of their spouses, as
"honesty in money matters is important".
       For 'distribution' of advertisements in the media, an autonomous board
should be constituted under the chairmanship of a retired judge, he demanded.
       The veteran journalist also said that "circumventing of the Working
Journalists Act is one of the biggest mistakes being made by those who run
newspapers".
                                                               The Deccan Herald
                                                               Bangalore
                                                               September 10, 2006

                                         17
Role seen for citizen journalists in newspapers
"The publishing and newspaper industry requires new working methods
to cater to audience needs"
      Chennai : The publishing and newspaper industry requires new working
methods to cater to audience needs, Reiner Mittelbach, CEO, Ifra, said. Media-
convergent news and advertisement strategies are crucial to meet such
expectations.
       He was delivering the keynote address at Ifra India 2006, the 14th Ifra
India annual conference and exhibition, organised by the Indian unit of Ifra,
the world's leading association of newspaper and media publishing.
        Integrated content bundles should replace single and standalone media
products and services in both the editorial and the commercial categories, he
suggested. Citing an example in this regard, Mr. Mittelbach said that immediately
after an event, the first medium that would alert or reach the reader ought to be
used - the mobile phone. This could be followed with a teaser on the Internet.
After receiving readers' inputs and accounts from citizen-journalists, a
comprehensive story could later be published in newspapers.
Content bundles
       This was hard to achieve, Mr. Mittelbach said. Processes must be
integrated to develop such content bundles and fragmented organizational
structures were incapable of performing this task, he added.
      "We have to introduce new ways to think from multiple perspectives…
One needs to have a clear and holistic definition of target groups," he said,
adding that this would mean integrated content creation, continuous deadlines
and continuous evaluation of target groups, content and media.
       N.Murali, Director, Ifra India and Managing Director, The Hindu,
described the media scene in India as "vibrant." He, however, added that some
people preferred to call it "volatile." The country had witnessed a phenomenal
growth in newspaper sales. But most of this growth was "on the back of
throwaway cover prices" and advertisement buoyancy hid the distorted
economics of the trade. This growth was likely to continue for a few more
years, but he warned that if there was a slowdown of the economy - like what
happened four to five years ago - newspapers, with their present business model,
would be "in deep trouble."
        He noted that even in Pakistan, the cover prices of newspapers were
three times more than those in India while in Bangladesh and other countries, it
was double the rates in India. It was the first time that delegates from Pakistan
were attending the conference. With every passing year, the conference has

                                       18
become bigger, in terms of participation. There were 400 delegates and
participants this year. All the 42 stalls for the exhibition were booked. R.V.
Rajan, Managing Director, Ifra India, said that Chennai would host the Ifra
expo next year. Co-sponsored by the Indian Newspaper Society, the two-day
conference has two streams - a publishers' forum, aimed at owners and top
managers, with a focus on the vision for growth and new media opportunities
and, a technical forum, aimed at technical people in the publishing sector.
                                                              The Hindu
                                                              New Delhi
                                                              September 14, 2006

Legislative initiatives against media undemocratic: Jacob
Mathew
        Bangalore : Terming the Government's proposed legislative initiatives
against the media "undemocratic," Indian Newspaper Society's outgoing
president Jacob Mathew said a threat to the freedom of the media was a serious
threat to the country's economic viability.
       Addressing the 67th Annual General Meeting of the society here, he
said the new initiatives were a threat to the media's freedom to report, inform
and educate.
        "In a democratic society, content in the media should only be subject to
self-regulation." The INS took up the matter with the political and administrative
leadership.
        Mr. Mathew expressed the society's concern at the Government's Media
Policy, in which the draft Broadcast Services Regulation Bill envisaged the creation
of a Broadcast Regulatory Authority empowered to administer a content code
and allowing the government to restrict cross-media holdings of media enterprises.
       Mr. Mathew said there was a sufficient framework of laws to ensure that
the freedom guaranteed by the Constitution was not misused by the media.
       Voicing concern over the proposed restrictions on cross-media holdings,
he said newspaper enterprises had made large investments in the broadcast
media, in which the investment market had also taken a significant position.
These investments could not be jeopardized.
       Mr. Mathew said the print media continued to enjoy about half of the
advertising business in the country which had a turnover between Rs. 12,000
crore and Rs. 14,000 crore. The share of television was estimated at between
38 and 42 per cent and of radio at two per cent. The radio would however,
emerge as a significant claimant for the advertising rupee considering the recent
explosion of FM licence.
                                         19
        In the long run, the threat from TV might be more significant as channels
proliferated in the news area. Strategies had to be worked out to ensure that the
press continued to be a major player in the country's democratic process.
       On the projects of Price Waterhouse Coopers and INS projections, Mr.
Mathew said the advertisement revenue of the press medium would continue
to grow at a healthy 12 to 25 per cent a year over the next five years.
       As a dominant player in the advertising market, the newspaper industry
had to ensure that the creative process of brand building continued to devise
engaging and effective ways of utilizing the advertising space sold by
newspapers. The industry also needed to educate and equip media planners
and buyers on deploying the press medium effectively in an environment in
which TV appeared to offer an enticing alternative.
       On the Impact Multiplier study, he said the first phase of the exercise,
based on the largest field survey of its kind any where in the world, sought to
quantify the incremental value of deploying press advertising in campaigns,
which might otherwise have been released only through TV. The second phase
would be completed by the end of 2006. The study would deliver software that
could be dovetailed with the NRS and other media database to optimize the use
of advertising funds.
        Referring to the recent changes in format for applications for import
entitlement of newsprint, he said through such changes the Government could
be trying to introduce administrative control on quantities of newsprint being
imported by INS members. The benefits of a liberalized trade policy should not
be denied to the newspaper industry.
      Mr. Mathew hoped that the INS' case for a zero per cent Value Added
Tax on newsprint would get a favourable decision from the authorities.
                                                            The Hindu
                                                            New Delhi
                                                            September 19, 2006




                                       20
                          The Gazette of India
                            EXTRAORDINARY
                         PART II-Section 3-Sub-section (ii)
                      PUBLISHED BY AUTHORITY


No.897     NEW DELHI, FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 2006/SRAVANA 20, 1928


      MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING
                     NOTIFICATION
                      New Delhi, the 11th August, 2006
          S.O.1298(E).___In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section
(5) of Section 5 read with sub-section (6) of Section 6 of the Press Council Act,
1978 (37 of 1978), the Central Government hereby makes the following
amendment in the notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of
                                                                      th
Information and Broadcasting, number S.O. 1108 (E), dated the 12 October,
2004, namely:--

          In the said notification, under the heading "Members of Parliament
{nominated under clause (e) of sub-section 3 of section 5}", for serial number
27 and the entries relating thereto, the following serial number and entries shall
be substituted, namely:-


          “27.   Shri Yashwant Sinha,                         Nominated by the
                 Present Address:                             Chairman of the
                 6, Kushak Road,                              Council of States,
                 New Delhi.

                 Permanent Address: Vill.:Hupad,
                 Post: Morangi, Distt.: Hazaribagh,
                 Jharkhand."


                                                        (F.No.4/31/2003-PRESS)
                                                        STUTI KACKER, Jt Secy.

         Note: The principal notification was published in the Gazette of
               India, Part II, Section 3, sub-section (ii) vide number S.O.
               1108 (E), dated the 12th October, 2004, and subsequently
               amended by S.O. 819(E), dated the 26th May, 2006.

                                        21
                  Draft Broadcast Bill, 2006

I & B Ministry withdraws Bill on broadcasting
       New Delhi : The Union Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry
has withdrawn the controversial Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill, 2006,
from the Cabinet to facilitate wider consultations with stakeholders before the
Government takes a final view.

        The decision comes just ahead of the consultations the Ministry has
scheduled with media heads for August 14. With many a media baron pointing
out the futility in having such a discussion without studying the provisions of
the Bill in detail, the Ministry was left with little option but to withdraw it.

        Once a Ministry refers a decision to the Cabinet, it is covered by the
Official Secrets Act, and the only way it can be brought into public domain is to
withdraw it formally. Faced with criticism for pushing through a decision without
consulting the stakeholders, earlier this month the Ministry decided to write to
the Cabinet Secretariat articulating its decision to withdraw the Bill and the
accompanying Cabinet note.

       On Friday, the draft of the proposed Bill and a consultation paper were
put on the Ministry's website to elicit views from the general public and
stakeholders. Comments would be accepted for a month, by which time the
Ministry is hopeful of ironing out the rough spots in consultation with the media.

       Eager to have a regulatory mechanism in place exclusively for the
broadcast sector, the Ministry sent the Bill to the Cabinet in June, hoping to
introduce it in the monsoon session. However, with the media accusing the
Government of adopting "draconian measures to rein in the Fourth Estate,"
Union I&B Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi indicated in July that the Bill would
not be introduced this session.

       Also, the Minister said he would hold discussions with media barons to
allay their fears. Secretary-level discussions have already taken place in July
with the Indian Broadcasting Federation, the Indian Media Group.

                                                             The Hindu
                                                             New Delhi
                                                             August 12, 2006

                                        22
'Broadcast bill not draconian'
Govt allays media fears

                   What's in it
                   n   Government will crack the whip on
                       unlicenced activity, for telecasting
                       anti-national content, and if its
                       directions on security and national
                       integrity are not carried out
                   n   The industry is upset over a draconian
                       provision in the Bill that gives the
                       government the right to inspect,
                       search and size equipment.
                   n   But the government said it had no
                       intention of encroaching on the
                       independence of the media
       New Delhi, August 15 : THE GOVERNMENT gave its version of the
proposed broadcast Bill while agreeing to take into account the views of the
industry before drafting a final version.
       After a two-hour long meeting with representatives and editors from the
media and the entertainment industry, Information and broadcasting Secretary
S.K. Arora sought to assuage the apprehensions of the industry on "draconian"
provision on the government's right to inspect, search and seize equipment.
       "These are just apprehensions and the government has no intention to
encroach on the independence of the media. Only a judge can invoke these
sections," Arora said, while informing that the ministry has 19 versions of the
Broadcast Bill.
       "This kind of criminal-offences clause will be applicable only for three
offences - unlicenced activity, for telecasting anti-national and sensitive content,
and if certain directions of the government on security and national integrity
are not carried out," he said. The other offences will invite civil penalties with a
maximum fine of up to Rs. 50 lakh.
       I&B Minister P.R. Dasmunsi and Arora led the government side, while
the industry was represented by the Indian Media Group (IMG) and Indian
Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), apart from representatives of the CII and FICCI.
      The Bill had sparked protests from the industry on the government's
move to regulate accumulation of interest, including a 20 per cent cap on

                                        23
investment by a content broadcasting service provider in any broadcasting
network service provider and vice-versa. The Bill also proposes that no
broadcasting service provider will have more than a prescribed share of the
total number of channels in a city or a state, subject to the overall ceiling of 15
per cent for the whole of the country.
       "The regulation is to help the industry grow," said Arora. On the
independence of the proposed regulator, he said the ministry will consider the
concerns of the industry, which has been demanding that BRAI's executive
members should comprise people from the industry and other professionals
instead of being drawn up from within the government.
                                                             The Hindustan Times
                                                             New Delhi
                                                             August 16, 2006


'Govt won't interfere with news content'
         New Delhi : Under fire over the Broadcast Services Regulation Bill,
I&B Minister P.R. Dasmunsi has assured that the legislation was not meant to
facilitate any government interference in news and current affairs programmes.
       With regard to non-news programmes, he said the government could, at
most, "advise if something is there, which is sensitive in nature and can create
a problem. The government will advise and not mandate." The assurance comes
in the wake of serious misgivings in the media that the Broadcast Bill confers
vast powers on the government and can become a tool for both interference
and harassment.
        "At the end of the day, when the Bill is finalized, I can promise three
things. There shouldn't be any interference in the current affairs and news desk
of any channel. Number two, programme content will be excluded from
editorial comment. Programme content is films, theatre, songs and language
used. And, number three, matters regarding the mechanism to regulate should
not be left to government but should be left to the (Broadcast) Authority which
will be similar in status to the Press Council where the government cannot
dictate," Dasmunsi said.
        Speaking specifically about two clauses - 5 and 38 - in the draft Bradcast
Bill, which, respectively, give government the power to issue binding directions
in the interest of decency and morality and suspend or revoke a channel's licence
if its programmes are considered prejudicial to friendly relations with a foreign
country, both of which have been widely interpreted to confer powers of

                                        24
censorship on government, Dasmunsi made clear that these are only draft
proposals and they could be amended or dropped.
       These sections are now being debated with the stakeholders and the Bill
proposals are only a draft, the I&B Minister said, adding that it did not mark a
decision of the government.
        With reference to clause 24 of the draft Bill, which empowers junior
officers like sub-divisional magistrates to seize the equipment of a TV channel
if they have reason to believe its programmes are contravening section 5 of the
Bill - which is about programmes considered prejudicial to friendly relations
with a foreign country - Dasmunsi said this clause was being debated.
                                                            The Times of India
                                                            New Delhi
                                                            August 27, 2006

Broadcast bill : Sharmila demands transparency
        New Dehi, PTI : Censor Board Chief Sharmila Tagore, emphasized the
need for "transparency in forming the proposed broadcast regulator and said
efforts should be made to remove overlaps in the functioning of the two bodies.
       "There has to be some sort of uniformity at some level…. To identify
where there are some overlaps," Ms Tagore, Chairperson of the Central Board
for Film Certification (CBFC), said at a meeting organized by the industry
chamber Assocham to discuss the draft 'Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill
- 2006'.
      The government has proposed the formation of a Broadcast Regulatory
Authority of India (BRAI) as part of the proposed bill, which has been thrown
open for discussion.
       Ms. Tagore said a transparent system should be put in place for selecting
its members. "The process had to be transparent for deciding the composition
of the BRAI… We need to look at that carefully," she stated.
       Information and Broadcasting secretary S.K. Arora assured the gathering
that the government was open to suggestions and comments on the proposed
measure. As per the provisions in the draft bill, professionals from the field of
TV, radio, journalism, telecom, IT, consumer affairs, judiciary and public
administration would be appointed to the post of chairperson and six whole-
time members of the BRAI. At the meeting, media groups raised objections to
some of the provisions in the bill.
       India TV CEO Chintamani Rao raised the issue of the proposed regulator's

                                       25
independence and demanded it should have autonomous status. However, Mr.
Arora said all efforts have been made to ensure freedom of expression as
enshrined in the Constitution.

                                                     The Deccan Herald
                                                     Bangalore
                                                     September 9, 2006




                                   26
       Court vis-a-vis Press/Electronic Media
Obscenity law vague: SC
       New Delhi, September 3 : Filmmakers and writers, who have long
considered the law on obscenity as somewhat of a loose cannon, can take
heart. The Supreme Court agrees. The present provision of the Indian Penal
Code (IPC) on obscenity is too vague to be applied in banning works, the court
said, while warning against its misuse.
       "The present provision is so vague that it becomes difficult to apply.
The purposeful omission of the definition of obscenity has led to attack of
Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code as being too vague to qualify as a penal
provision. It is quite unclear what the provisions mean. This unacceptably large
grey areas common in laws restricting sexual material, would appear to result
not from a lack of capacity or effort on the part of drafters or legislators," the
court said.
       The observations came from a Bench of Justice A.R. Lakshmanan and
Justice L.S. Panta, which dismissed Dooradarshan's plea against telecasting
noted documentary film make Anand Patwardhan's Father, Son and Holy War.
        "Under the present sections 292 and 293 of IPC, there is a danger of
publication meant for public good or for bona fide purpose of science, literature,
art or any other branch of learnig being declared as obscene literature as there
is no specific provision in the Act for exempting them from operations of these
sections," it felt. "The effect of provisions granting broad discretionary regulatory
powers is unforeseeable and they are open to arbitrary abuse," the court
cautioned.
                                                               The Hindustan Times
                                                               New Delhi
                                                               September 4, 2006


Spotlight on TV stings
      New Delhi, Oct. 18 : The Supreme Court said it needs to be examined
whether television sting operations are in public interest.
        A bench headed by Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal questioned the counsel
for CNNI-IBN Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai on sting operations and surmised
that they were often outsourced - people who conducted them went from channel
to channel and sold them for lakhs of rupees.

                                         27
      "Whether it is in pulbic interest or not will have to be examined," the
bench said.
       The court indirectly referred to the case of Junior Home Minister
Manikrao Gavit who was cleared by an inquiry after a channel broadcast a
phone conversation allegedly between him and a jail inmate. The court did not
name Gavit,but noted that nothing came out of that operation, which was later
described as "fabricated".
      The observations came in the context of a petition filed by Sardesai,
who faces the prospect of being arrested and produced before the Uttar Pradesh
Assembly in connection with a sting operation aired on his channel months
ago.
       It showed an Uttar Pradesh Minister and two legislators, who appeared
to have been caught on hidden camera, accepting bribe or agreeing to accept
money.
       The court will hear the petition tomorrow.
        Sardesai's counsel Mukul Rohatgi cited professional exigencies for his
failure to appear before the Assembly when he was summoned. The House has
since ordered that he be brought before it under arrest on October 27.
       But Sardesai appears to have the support of his peers. "That was a good
sting operation," said NDTV India's Dibang.
        At a seminar, Star News CEO Uday Shankar had used the case to illustrate
the state's attempt to "regulate" the media. But actress Shabana Azmi had alleged
a sting against an actor - an apparent reference to Shakti Kapoor - was
"completely staged".
       Sardesai would not comment on his case, but asked if he felt sting
operations were justified, he said: "Absolutely, if it is in public interest."
       Journalists must determine if a sting is in strong public interest, he said.
It should also be clear that the investigation could not be conducted by any
other means. If these two conditions were met, Sardesai said: "I see nothing
wrong in a sting operation."
        Dibang agreed that the issue must be left to the channels and their viewers.
"I don't think there is need to take an alarmist view."
       I&B Minister Priya Ranjan Das Munsi said a broadcast bill - meant to set
up a regulatory authority - is likely to be introduced in Parliament's budget
session.
                                                              The Telegraph
                                                              Kolkata
                                                              October 19, 2006

                                         28
                World Media in Indian Press
China casts its watchful eye wider, foreign news to be now
domesticated
       Beijing, September 11 : CHINA imposed broad new restrictions on
Sunday on the distribution of foreign news in the country, beefing up state
regulations on the news media.
       Under new rules that were said to take effect immediately, the state-run
New China News Agency said it would become the de facto gatekeeper for
foreign news reports, photographs and graphics entering China. The agency
announced in its own dispatch that it would censor content that "endangers
national security."
       If enforced as drafted, the regulations could have a major impact on
news agencies like The Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg News that
sell news-related products to a wide range of Chinese clients.
        Party leaders have been alarmed by the increasing assertiveness of the
domestic and the foreign news media. After a period of relative openness,
officials now seem determined to make sure that the Chinese public does not
have easy access to information that could provoke popular discontent or
weaken the governing party's grip on power.
        President Hu Jintao has in tensified a crackdown on all kinds of news
media in recent months, arresting and harassing journalists, tightening regulation
of websites and online forums, hiring tens of thousands of people to screen and
block Web content deemed offensive, and firing editors of state-run publications
that resist official controls.
        The New China News Agency has long played a dual role in China's
media world. It acts both as the official distributor of state news and information,
selling its products much as any Western news agencies would do. But it also
regulates outside news agencies, a power that Westen news providers say it
seeks to use to enhance its own bottom line.
        A decade ago, the New China News Agency sought to take control of
the lucrative business of providing live news ad data feeds to banks and financial
firms, determining pricing, policing content and collecting the revenue.
     The industry, dominated by big Western agencies like Reuters and
Bloomberg, successfully fought those restrictions. They have continued to

                                         29
market their products directly to brokers and traders in China rather than through
the New China News Agency. - NYT
                                                               The Indian Express
                                                               New Delhi
                                                               September 12, 2006

Press freedom: Indian law 12 yrs ahead of UK
        A recent ruling by the highest court of the United Kingdom has given a
lot of joy to journalists in Britain by allowing publication of allegations in public
interest. But their Indian counterparts have enjoyed the same or similar rights
for the last 12 years.
       The British court said that journalists have freedom to publish allegations
about public figures without being able to prove them. This will take the sting
out of a large number of defamation suits filed by celebrities against media
publications.
       However, there are some important riders attached to this freedom -
one, the media must not abuse the privilege of free expression; second, it must
only publish allegations in the public interest; and third, the facts must be
ascertained through neutral reporting.
       The Indian press is far more privileged than its British counterparts as
the Supreme Court in 1994 in the case of R. Rajagopala vs State of Tamil Nadu
had laid down the guidelines for reporting.
        The first part of the ruling would appear as if nothing could be reported
pertaining to celebrities if they did not consent to its publication. For the court
had ruled that right to privacy was as powerful a fundamental right as right to
life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. It nomenclatured
this as 'right to be left alone'.
      "Everyone has a right to safeguard their privacy in their family, their
marriage, procreation, motherhood, child-bearing, education and so on. No
one can publish anything concerning the above mattes without consent," it had
said.
       But what gave the media in India the freedom to carry on with their
business is the subsequent lines in the judgment.
       Right to privacy in defamation cases cannot be invoked if 'the subject
voluntarily thrusts himself into controversy or voluntarily invites or raises a
controversy'. So, as long as there is a controversy, and the media has
scrupulously followed the ethics of journalism, there is little to fear in publishing
it.
                                         30
       Those arguing for stringent regulations on media will be surprised to
note that even the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had said that he would
rather have a completely free press with all dangers involved in the wrong use
of that freedom than a suppressed or regulated press. He did give a warning
also.
       "If there is no responsibility and no obligation attached to it, freedom
gradually withers away. This is true of nation's freedom and it applies as much
to the press as to any other group, organization or individual."
       The first government regulations on media in India came after the sepoy
mutiny in 1857 when the governance of the British occupied territory in India
passed into the hands of the Queen. One of the first steps taken by Ripon was
to do away with the regulations on press and make it free.
       The press in India has been enjoying the freedom notwithstanding the
large number of defamation cases filed against it. The only aberration in the
long standing freedom of press was the two year Emergency period.
       The freedom of press does not enjoy any special mention in the
Constitution.
      But courts have ruled that it is synonymous with the right to freedom of
speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
Reasonable restrictions apply on this right, but are seldom strictly enforced.
                                                             The Times of India
                                                             New Delhi
                                                             October 16, 2006

A new era of media freedom?
Britain's highest court has ruled that newspapers can use "public inter-
est" as a defence against defamation.
       Britain's Petrified public figures are bracing themselves for a new era of
media intrusion into their lives following a ruling by the country's highest court
which, some believe, could fling the door open for newspapers to print virtually
anything in the name of "public interest."
       Henceforth, journalists will not risk prosecution for libel for publishing
potentially defamatory allegations that later turn out to be untrue provided they
can show that at the time they decided to publish them they honestly believed
these to be true and in the public interest.
       In a judgment that the media have unanimously hailed as a "victory" for
free press and a long-overdue kick in the teeth of Britain's fusty libel laws, five
                                        31
of the country's most senior judges have granted journalists the right to publish
defamatory allegations as part of their duty to raise matters of public interest.
They held that fear of libel need not discourage them from reporting issues of
substance and public importance so long as they acted in good faith and with
responsibility.
       The key test in deciding libel in future would be whether a newspaper or
a media organization behaved "fairly and responsibly in gathering and
publishing the information." If they did behave fairly and responsibly and the
allegations were in public interest, then it would not matter if they were
defamatory and could not be proved.
       While deciding a libel case, courts would still rely on the nature of sources
of information behind a story and whether the information had been properly
checked but the overriding test would be public interest and the editor's good
sense. Courts would "normally expect that the source or sources were ones
which the publisher had good reason to think reliable, that the publisher himself
believed the information to be true, and that he had done what he could to
check it," one of the judges said.
        The judgment, which recognises the defence of "qualified privilege" by
the British media for the first time without imposing too many riders, is expected
to end the country's reputation as a haven for libel lawyers. Because of its
stringent libel laws, Britain has tended to become the last refuge for aggrieved
celebrities and other high-profile public figures when they fail to get "justice"
in other countries.
       This has often made British journalists feel like poor cousins of their
"freer" peers elsewhere, especially in America where the media enjoy much
greater legal freedom.
       The Times said in an editorial that it sent out a "signal that Britain's
notoriously strict libel laws must not be used for 'forum shopping' by those
hoping to win a libel suit here that would not succeed in America or elsewhere."
       The judgment, which overturns a previous significant ruling on the
subject, arose out of a dispute between The Wall Street Journal Europe and
Mohammad Jameel, a prominent Saudi business man and distinguished
philanthropist who made headlines when he donated more than $5 million to
the Victoria and Albert Museum to renovate its galleries of Islamic art.
        Four years ago, the Journal published a story that Saudi Arabian
authorites, at the request of the U.S. Government, were monitoring bank accounts
of prominent Saudi citizens, including Mr. Jameel, to make sure that they were
not being used to fund terrorist activities, Mr. Jameel, who owns a motor
company in the U.K., denied that one his companies named in the report was
                                         32
monitored. He sued the newspaper and was awarded damages by the High
Court. He won again when the Journal appealed against the ruling.
        But last week, the House of Lords overturned the Appeals Court verdict
on grounds that the newspaper had made a "serious contribution in measured
tone to a subject of very considerable importance" - namely the post 9/11 anti-
terror campaign. It was a piece of balanced reporting and if the allegations
could not be proved it was because of the impossibility of proving covert
surveillance of the kind reported by the newspaper, the judges held.
       "We need more such serious journalism in this country and defamation
law should encourage rather than discourage it," lady Hale, one of the law
lords said.
        The ruling comes barely weeks after Tommy Sheridan, a prominent
Scottish political leader, won a $200,000 damages against the News of the World,
a tabloid from the Rupert Murdoch stable, for publishing allegations about his
private life.
       Media law experts said the Lords judgment freed serious investigative
journalism form the "chilling effect" of libel action. It also allowed journalists
to publish and defend stories without jeopardizing their sources.
        Although it has been emphasized that the ruling would not protect
scurrilous reporting on the pretexts of "public interest," fears remain that Britain's
notoriously sensational tabloids might be tempted to seize on it to become
even more adventures in pursuit of their kiss-and tell agenda. For them as well
as their potential victims, interesting times are ahead.
                                                               The Hindu
                                                               New Delhi
                                                               October 16, 2006

Court lets off Prophet cartoon paper
        Copenhagen, October 26 : A Danish court dismissed a lawsuit filed by
seven Muslim organizations against the newspaper that first published a dozen
cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that triggered massive protests in the Islamic
world earlier this year. The City Court in Aarhus said it could not be ruled out
that some Muslims had been offended by the 12 drawings printed in Jyllands-
Posten, but said there was no reason to assume that the cartoons were meant to
"belittle Muslims."
         The newspaper published the cartoons on September 30, 2005 with an
accompanying text saying it was challenging a perceived self-censorship among
artists afraid to offend Islam. The caricatures were reprinted in European papers

                                         33
in January and February, fuelling a fury of protests in the Islamic world. Some
turned violent, with protesters killed in Libya and Afghanistan and several
European embassies attacked.
      Islamic law forbids any depiction of the prophet, even positive ones, to
prevent idolatry.
       "It cannot be ruled out that the drawings have offended some Muslims'
honour, but there is no basis to assume that the drawings are, or were conceived
as, insulting or that the purpose of the drawings was to present opinions that
can belittle Muslims," the court said in its ruling.
       The newspaper's editor-in-chief, Carsten Juste, welcomed the ruling in
a statement, saying it confirmed the newspaper's "incontestable right" to print
the drawings. "Everything but a pure acquittal would have been a disaster for
the press freedom and the media's possibility to fulfill its duties in a democratic
society," Juste said.
       However, he didn't see and end to the controversy anytime soon. "There
are radical people in this world that simply don't want this case settled," he
said. "They want to use it to create and maintain divisions forever."
        Kasem Ahmam, a spokesman for the Muslim groups, told Danish radio
that they would appeal the verdict.
                                                             The Hindustan Times
                                                             New Delhi
                                                             October 27, 2006




                                        34
 Balancing Freedom and Social Responsibility
   ‘Judicial interpretation a key determinant of the strength of press
            freedom and a great contribution to democracy’
        Hyderabad : The Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, N. Ram, said here that
the creative and progressive interpretation by the higher judiciary of Article 19
(I) (A) of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and expression,
was a key and perhaps the leading determinant of India’s enviable position
among developing countries in the matter of press freedom.
        While there was still some way to go before catching up with developed
countries, he observed, the role the judiciary played in protecting press freedom,
establishing it on strong ground, and even giving it a special place in the
constitutional scheme was a tremendous contribution to democracy. Other key
determinants of the strength of press freedom in India were the active
participation of significant sections of the press in the freedom struggle, the
experience of fighting a battery of anti-press laws instituted by the British Raj,
and the unusually liberal attitude of independent India’s first rulers, notably
Jawaharala Nehru who showed a commendable appreciation of the value of a
free and independent press.
       Mr. Ram was delivering the fourth commemorative lecture at the Golden
Jubilee celebrations of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh on “Freedom &
Accountability: The Media in relation to the Judiciary.”
Three concerns
       Mr. Ram, however, identified three areas of concern for press freedom
in India – the outmoded and illiberal law of criminal defamation, the use of
contempt of court powers by some courts and some judges in a manner that
suggested intolerance, and the misuse of privileges and contempt powers
claimed by some legislatures.
Dynamic growth
        Providing an overview of the Indian media, he said since they had
become very big players, issues of freedom, accountability, and social
responsibility had become more important than ever before. Media growth in
India was buoyant and dynamic, contrasting with the difficult, even gloomy
situation faced by newspapers and also broadcast television in “many mature
media markets, that is in many developed countries’’.
‘Incomplete freedom’
       Citing an argument made in Mr. Ravi’s paper about media freedom in
                                       35
India being “an incomplete freedom,” Mr. Ram pointed out that it was
unfortunate that the Article 19 freedom of speech and expression made available
to a virtually privileged press through judicial interpretation was not available
to the broadcast media, on account of arguments that are now clearly outmoded.
As a newspaper journalist, he wanted the same degree of freedom to be available
to television and radio. But the paradox of the Indian situation was that while
terrestrial television and also radio (with the exception of FM radio, which was
not allowed to do news and current affairs) continued to be a state monopoly,
television broadcasts that came via satellite and cable were functioning with no
broadcast law, no regulatory framework, and “no clear rules of the game,”
which contrasted with the situation of virtually all developed countries. Mr.
Ram said a “liberal broadcast law and a liberal broadcast regulatory framework”
were badly needed.
Negative trends
       Mr. Ram spoke strongly in his lecture against the negative tendencies of
sensationalism, tabloidisation, trivialization, celebrity-worship, the unchecked
use of hidden cameras, and so forth, in the Indian news media. Focussing on
the absence of institutional mechanisms of self-regulation to give meaning to
journalism’s accountability and social responsibility, The Hindu’s Editor-in-
Chief said this was “the real challenge before us,” since harping on freedom
without demonstrating accountability and social responsibility would weaken
the position of the media in society.
       He said that historically the Indian press had won its special place
because of these positive roles it played, which he identified as “the credible-
informational, the critical-in-vestigative, the educational, and the agenda-building
functions.”
       He said that there were several examples of good, serious investigative
journalism by Indian newspapers but the recent practice chastised by the apex
court of venal paparazzi sting operations of freelance ‘journalists’ going from
one television broadcaster to another to sell their spy camera footage to the
higher bidder, “must make the media hang down their heads in shame.”
Self regulation
        Mr. Ram called for the formulation of a Code of Practice along the lines
of the voluntary code drawn up by newspaper publishers and editors in the
U.K. and enforced by the Press Complaints Commission. The U.K. Code of
Practice laid them clear and specific rules of the game, among other things
requiring newspapers and editors to give the affected party an opportunity to
reply, prevent journalistic intrusion into grief, protect children against being
interviewed without supervision, show great care in the coverage of hospitals,

                                        36
and prohibit the use of clandestine devices unless legitimate methods did not
yield information and the public interest justified such use in exceptional cases.
Readers’ Editor
        Mr. Ram recalled that The Hindu had, following The Guardian’s
exemplary model, introduced in March 2006 the institution of the Readers’
Editor, an internal news ombudsman of independence and integrity, and that
the institution was functioning excellently, with clear benefit to the newspaper
and its readers; and that Rajastan Patrika and Sakal had subsequently appointed
their own readers’ editors. Mr. Ram wanted other newspapers and media
organizations to institute such self-corrective and self-regulating mechanisms
and added that public pressure on the media to do this would help.
       (Reproduced from The Hindu, New Delhi dated October 23, 2006)




                                        37
     India Moves Up in Press Freedom Index

      New York : India moved up one place and neighbouring Pakistan went
down seven places among 168 nations in the Press Freedom Index compiled
by global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.
      The overall picture of South Asian countries was dismal and in all
countries, except in Bhutan, journalists enjoyed much less freedom now
compared with 2002.
       Though India moved up to the 105th position from the 106th last year,
press freedom was nowhere near the level of 2002 when it was placed 80th
among 168 countries.
       Pakistan's record of press freedom was poor right from the day the
reporters’ body began rating the countries. It was placed 157 this year, down
from 150 last year and 119 in 2002.
      The United States slipped nine places compared with last year to the
53rd position, much lower than its inaugural index rating of 17th.
Tied for first
       Tied for the first place, indicating maximum press freedom were Finland,
Iceland, Ireland and Netherlands.
      The worst offenders were North Korea, Turkmenistan and Eritrea,
occupying 168, 167 and 166 places respectively. – PTI
       (Reproduced from The Hindu, New Delhi dated October 27, 2006)




                                      38
               Index of Adjudications
            Rendered During the Quarter
S. No.   Parties                                                  Date of
                                                                  Decision

         Harassment of Newsmen
1.       Complaint of Shri Shadab Hussain,                       October 16,
         Correspondent Jadid Markaz, Behraich, U.P.                 2006
         against police authorities of Behraich, U.P.
2.       Complaint of Shri Junaid Taimuri, Journalist,               ,,
         Etawah against police authorities of Etawah,
         Uttar Pradesh
3.       Complaint of Shri Sudama Prasad Dubey, District             ,,
         President, Grameen Patrakar Association Lalitpur,
         U.P. against Police Authorities of Lalitpur, U.P.
4.       Complaint of Shri Dinesh Pankaj, Editor, Kamgaron           ,,
         Ki Duniya, Mathura against Labour Department
5.       Complaint of Shri Harshwardhan Arya, Editor,                ,,
         Lokmat Samachar, Nagpur against Chief Conservator
         of Forests, Amravati, Maharashtra
6.       Suo motu action w.r.t issuance of an interim order/         ,,
         notice under Section 144 Cr.P.C. dated 7.12.2005
         directing the Editor of Andhra Jyoti to appear before
         the Revenue Divisional Officer, Vishakhapatnam
7.       Complaint of Shri Jaleel Khan, Editor, Voice of             ,,
         Minority, Guntur against Shri S.M. Shabbir Basha,
         Former Executive Director, A.P. Minorities Finance
         Corporation, Guntur

         Facilities to the Press
8.       Complaint of Shri Suresh Chandra Rohra,                     ,,
         Correspondent, Nai Dunia, Korba against (i) Chhatisgarh
         Samvad Jansampark Sanchnalaya, Raipur, (ii) Chief
         Minister, Chhatishgarh and (iii) Municipal Corporation,
         Korba



                                    39
S. No.   Parties                                                  Date of
                                                                  Decision

9.       Complaint of Editor, Bahar-e-Hardoi, Hardoi against     October 16,
         District Information Officer, Government of U.P.           2006
         Principles and Publication
10.      Complaint of Dr. O.P. Agnihotri, Joint Managing             ,,
         Director, U.P. Bhoomi Sudhar Nigam, Lucknow
         against the Editor, Rozgar Sangrah, Agra
11.      Complaint of Shri T.T. Adhikari, New Delhi against          ,,
         The Hindustan Times, New Delhi
12.      Complaints of Shri C. Satish, Hyderabad against             ,,
         The Hindu, Hyderabad
13.      Complaint of Shri Kulamarva Balakrishna Padubidru,          ,,
         Karnataka against Prajavani, Kannada daily, Mangalore,
         Karnataka

         Press and Defamation

14.      Complaint of Shri Murlidhar Melwani, Ulhasnagar,            ,,
         Maharashtra against the Editor, Ulhas Champion,
         Ulhasnagar, Maharashtra
15.      Complaint of Shri Nanikram Sidhwani, Ulhasnagar,            ,,
         Maharashtra against the Editor, Ulhas Champion,
         Ulhasnagar, Maharashtra
16.      Complaint of Vivekanand Education Society, Mumbai           ,,
         against the Editor, The Times of India, Mumbai
17.      Complaints of Vivekanand Education Society, Mumbai          ,,
         against the Editors, Loksatta, Mumbai and Metro
         Chembur - Mid Day, Mumbai
18.      Complaint of Shri Madhusudan, Dehradun against the          ,,
         Editor, Ghati Ka Bharat, Dehradun
19.      Complaint of Shri Rajendra Singh, Secretary, District       ,,
         Redcross Society, Rewari, Haryana against the Editor,
         Punjab Kesari, Ambala Edition                               ,,


                                      40
S. No.   Parties                                                   Date of
                                                                   Decision

20.      Complaint of Shri Vijay Kumar Khetrapal, Secretary, October 16,
         U.P. Advertisers Association, Meerut, U.P. against the 2006
         Editor, Hira Times, Meerut, U.P.
21.      Complaint of Shri Sandeep Gupta, Delhi against the           ,,
         Editors, (i) Public News, Delhi, (ii) Indo Europe News,
         Delhi, (iii) Fashion India, Delhi, (iv) Krishna Avtar,
         Delhi and (v) Rashtriya Hindi Samachar Patra, Delhi
22.      Complaint of Principal, Government Women College,            ,,
         Gurgaon, Haryana against Mahamedha, Delhi
23.      Complaint of Principal, Government College, Gurgaon          ,,
         against the Editor, Dainik Bhaskar, Gurgaon
24.      Complaint of Dr. T.B. Singh, Joint Director (Admn.),         ,,
         Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Science, Delhi
         against Rashtriya Sahara, New Delhi
25.      Complaint of Director, Indian Institute of Aircraft          ,,
         Engineering, Mahipalpur Extension., New Delhi against
         The Times of India, New Delhi
26.      Complaint of the Editor, Brij Vimla Vani, Pratapgarh,        ,,
         Uttar Pradesh against Dainik Lok Mitra, Pratapgarh U.P.
         and D.I.O., Pratapgarh, U.P.
27.      Complaint of Shri Dharambir Singh, Bijnore, U.P.             ,,
         against Amar Ujala, Meerut
28.      Complaint of Superintendent of Police, Pithoragarh,          ,,
         Uttaranchal against Amar Ujala, Bareilly
29.      Complaint of Shri Ganesh Singh, M.P. New Delhi               ,,
         against Samaria Express, Samaria
30.      Complaint of Principal, S.D. College against Din Pratidin,   ,,
         Haryana
31.      Complaint of Shri Ashok Khemka against The Hindustan         ,,
         Times, New Delhi
32.      Complaints of Shri Tasneem Ahmed, Chief Conservator of ,,
         Forests, Amravati, Maharashtra against the Editor, Lokmat,
         Nagpur

                                    41
S. No.   Parties                                                  Date of
                                                                  Decision

33.      Complaint of Shri Shaifur Rahman, Proprietor,           October 16,
         Asha Arts, Hyderabad against The Times of India,           2006
         Hyderabad
34.      Complaint of Shri J.V. Chalupathirao, District Public       ,,
         Relations Officer, East Godavari District, Kakinada,
         Andhra Pradesh against Yadhardha Godhala Sanjeeva
         Rupam Vaarathi, Telugu Evening daily, Kakinada,
         Andhra Pradesh
35.      Complaint of Smt. Qamar Jehan Kausar, Owner of              ,,
         Metro Lodge, Hyderabad against The Eenadu,
         Telugu daily, Hyderabad
36.      Complaint of Shri M.A. Basith, IPS, D.G. and I.G. of        ,,
         Prisons and Correctional Services, Hyderabad against
         The Eenadu, Nellore edition, A.P.
37.      Complaint of Shri Narsimha Reddy, D.G. and I.G. of          ,,
         Prisons and Correctional Services, Hyderabad against
         The Eenadu, Nellore edition, A.P.
38.      Complaint of Shri M.A. Basith, IPS, D.G. and I.G. of        ,,
         Prisons and Correctional Services, Hyderabad against
         The Eenadu, Nellore edition, A.P.
39.      Complaint of Shri M.A. Basith, IPS, D.G. and I.G. of        ,,
         Prisons and Correctional Services, Hyderabad against
         The Eenadu, Nellore edition, A.P.
40.      Complaint of Shri M.A. Basith, IPS, D.G. and I.G. of        ,,
         Prisons and Correctional Services, Hyderabad against
         The Eenadu, Nellore edition, A.P.
41.      Complaint of Shri M.A. Basith, IPS, D.G. and I.G. of        ,,
         Prisons and Correctional Services, Hyderabad against
         The Andhra Jyoti, Telugu daily, Hyderabad
42.      Complaint of Shri Narsimha Reddy, D.G. and I.G. of          ,,
         Prisons and Correctional Services, Hyderabad against
         The Andhra Jyoti, Telugu daily, Hyderabad
43.      Complaint of Shri M.A. Basith, IPS, D.G. and I.G. of        ,,
         Prisons and Correctional Services, Hyderabad against
         The Andhra Jyoti, Telugu daily, Hyderabad

                                    42
S. No.   Parties                                                  Date of
                                                                  Decision

44.      Complaint of Shri M.A. Basith, IPS, D.G. and I.G. of October 16,
         Prisons and Correctional Services, Hyderabad against    2005
         The Andhra Jyoti, Telugu daily, Hyderabad
45.      Complaint of Shri Narsimha Reddy, D.G. and I.G. of          ,,
         Prisons and Correctional Services, Hyderabad against
         The Vartha, Hyderabad
46.      Complaint of Shri M.A. Basith, IPS, D.G. and I.G. of        ,,
         Prisons and Correctional Services, Hyderabad against
         The Vartha, Hyderabad
47.      Complaint of Shri M.A. Basith, IPS, D.G. and I.G. of        ,,
         Prisons and Correctional Services, Hyderabad against
         The Vartha, Hyderabad
48.      Complaint of Shri M.A. Basith, IPS, D.G. and I.G. of        ,,
         Prisons and Correctional Services, Hyderabad against
         The Vartha, Hyderabad
49.      Complaint of Principal, Chirec Public School, Hyderabad     ,,
         against Deccan Chronicle, Secunderabad
50.      Complaint of Secretary, Ootcamund Club, Ootcamund,          ,,
         Tamil Nadu against New Indian Express, Coimbatore
51.      Complaint of Shri Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar,      ,,
         Bangalore against Lankesh Patrika, Bangalore
52.      Complaint of Shri Sandeep Rai Rathore, IPS,                 ,,
         Superintendent of Police, Tuticorin,Tamil Nadu against
         Naveena Netrikan, Chennai
53.      Complaint of Shri S.M. Pasha, Convenor, Shariath            ,,
         Protection Council, Chennai, Tamil Nadu against Deccan
         Chronicle, Chennai
54.      Complaint of Father Paul G.D. Cunha, Parish Priest,         ,,
         Our Lady of Victories Church, Shimoga, Karnataka
         against Mathukathe, Bangalore
55.      Complaints of Dr. V.B. Tharakeshwar, Lecturer,              ,,
         Department of Translation Studies, Kannada University,
         Hampi and others, Karnataka against Hai Bangalore,
         Karnataka


                                    43
S. No.   Parties                                                 Date of
                                                                 Decision

56.      Complaint of Shri Om Prakash, Inspector General of     October 16,
         Police, Northern Range Belgaum against Hai                2006
         Bangalore, Karnataka
57.      Complaint of Shri S. Puttaswamy Kas, Bangalore             ,,
         against Lankesh Patrike, Kannad Weekly, Bangalore
         Communal, Casteist and Anti Religious Writings
58.      Complaints of Dr. Krishen Kak, IAS (Retd.) New Delhi       ,,
         against The Hindu, Chennai
59.      Complaints of Shri V.H. Dalmia, President, Vishva          ,,
         Hindu Parishad, New Delhi against The Economic Times,
         New Delhi
60.      Complaint of Shri V. Krishnan against The Telegraph,       ,,
         Kolkata
61.      Complaint of Shri S. Abuthalha, Madurai, Tamil Nadu        ,,
         against Tamilian Express, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
         Press and Morality
62.      Complaint of Dr. C.D. Narshimha Reddy, Editor, Public      ,,
         Relations Voice, Hyderabad against the Editor, Economic
         Times, Mumbai




                                   44
                    Adjudications of the Council
Harassment of Newsmen
1)      Shri Shadab Hussain                               1.    The Chief Secretary
        Mandal Correspondent                 Versus             Government of U.P.
        Jadid Markaz                                            Lucknow
        Bahraich (U.P.)                                   2.    The Secretary
                                                                Home (Police) Department
                                                                Government of U.P.
                                                                Lucknow
                                                          3.    The District Magistrate
                                                                Bahraich (U.P.)
                                                          4.    Superintendent of Police
                                                                Bahraich (U.P.)
                                                          5.    Shri Ishrat Mahmood Ali
                                                                Maulvi
                                                                Idgah Kajipura
                                                                Bahraich (U.P.)
Complaint
       Shri Shadab Hussain, Mandal Correspondent, Jadid Markaz, Bahraich
(U.P.) has filed this complaint dated 20.12.2004 against the local police
authorities alleging inaction on his complaint against a local Maulvi whose son
and associates abused and manhandled him following publication of a report
captioned “àÉÖiÉ´ÉããÉÉÒ BÉEÉÒ àÉxÉàÉÉxÉÉÒ ºÉä ¤ÉncÉãÉÉÒ BÉEÉ ÉʶÉBÉEÉ® cè <ÇnMÉÉc” (Idgah, a victim of
decay due to the Maulvi’s arbitrariness” in the issue dated 31 st October-6 th
November, 2004 of his weekly newspaper. The Maulvi also reportedly filed a
case against the complainant under Sections 323/352/504/509-IPC. The
complainant termed the action of the Maulvi and inaction of the police authorities
as an assault on the freedom of the press.
       Giving details, the complainant submitted that in the critical news item
he highlighted mismanagement in the Idgah and corrupt activities of its trustee,
Ishrat Mahmood Khan. The complainant alleged that annoyed by critical
publication the trustee of the Idgah threatened him to face the consequences
and on 11.12.2004 he was abused and manhandled by son of Ishrat Mahmood
Khan and others. The complainant went to the local police station but neither
his report was registered nor any action had been taken by the police. On
13.12.2004 a group of journalists met the Superintendent of Police and apprised
him about the incident. At his instance the local police filed the complaint No.
NCR 156/04 under Sections 352/323/504/509 just as a formality. The

                                                 45
complainant also met the District Magistrate and he directed the Superintendent
of Police to file report within 10 days. But later neither any action had been
taken against the culprits nor any security had been provided to him. According
to the complainant, due to political pressure the police authorities were not
interested in any effective action against the accused who had a criminal
tendency/record as per past record. Moreover, Ishrat Mahmood Khan filed false
criminal case against him in the police station and pressurised him to withdraw
the complaint, the complainant added.
       Comments of the Chief Secretary, Secretary (Home) Police Department,
Government of U.P., Superintendent of Police, Bahraich, District Magistrate,
Bahraich and Shri Ishrat Mahmood Khan, Maulvi, Idgah Kajipura, Bahraich
were invited on 18.5.2005. The District Magistrate, Bahraich was also requested
to ensure that the complainant does not face any hindrance in discharge of his
duties as a journalist.
Comments of Shri Ishrat Mahmood Khan, Maulvi, Idgah
        Shri Ishrat Mahmood Khan, Maulvi, Idgah Kajipura (Bahraich) vide his
comments dated 8.6.2005 while denying the allegations submitted that the
complainant had deliberately filed this complaint for personal animosity. Shri
Khan submitted that he and the complainant were both members of the “Avkaaf
Bachao Sangharsh Samiti”. The complainant being involved in the objectionable
activities was terminated from the Samiti and a news item relating to his
termination was published in the Dainik Hindustan issue dated 11.12.2004. As
a result, the complainant became annoyed and not only misbehaved with him
but also threatened. He filed an FIR No.1141/04 under Sections 304/504/506-
IPC in the Police Station. Shri Hussain also filed an application before the Chief
Judicial Magistrate, Bahraich under Section 155(2) on 13.12.2004 and the same
was later dismissed. Shri Ishrat Mahmood alleged that Shri Hussain did not
enjoy good reputation in the field of journalism and by publishing false and
baseless news items he misused the freedom of press. He further claimed that
being associated with a religious place he remained calm and did not exaggerate
the issue.
Comments
       The District Magistrate, Bahraich vide his comments dated 8.6.2005
submitted that the matter was inquired by the Superintendent of Police, Bahraich
and in his inquiry report he submitted that Zonal Officer, City, Bahraich inquired
the matter on the spot and reported that the parties were under strict vigilance
and SHO had also been instructed to keep an eye on the situation.
       The Superintendent of Police, Bahraich in his comments dated 18.6.2005
also confirmed that the law and order in the area was under control and after

                                        46
inquiry it was revealed that the incident of ill-will happened on 11.12.2004
between the complainant and Shri Ishrat Mahmood due to personal animosity
and same was resolved later. He submitted that the allegation of the complainant
could not be substantiated that there was any threat to the freedom of press. He
further issued specific directions also for security of the complainant.
        The Under Secretary, Confidential Section-2, Government of U.P. vide
his letter dated 22.8.2005 filed inquiry report of the Superintendent of Police,
Bahraich and informed that the matter relating to the complaint was under trial.
He submitted that local police had been directed to ensure security of the
complainant.
       A copy each of the comments received from the respondents were
forwarded to the complainant vide Council’s letters dated 29.6.2005 and
14.9.2005. The complainant was also asked to specifically comment on the
statement of the Under Secretary, Government of U.P that the matter is pending
before the Court of Law.
Hearing Adjourned
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
Lucknow on 24.3.2006. The complainant Shri Shadab Husain was present in
person while S/Shri Viyodhan Yadav, Additional District Magistrate, Khursid
Ahmed, District Information Officer, Vijay Kumar, Superintendent of Police
and Shri Ishrat Mahmood, Multavi , Idgah represented the respondents.
       The complainant reiterated the averments made in the complaint. He
added that the police till date had not informed him as to what action had been
taken on his complaint. The police was giving protection to the opposite party.
He added that when the case was filed against him, he also filed a case against
the opposite party.
       Shri Isharat Mahmood Khan in his written submission filed before the
Inquiry Committee submitted that all the allegations of the complainant were
without basis. It was further submitted that the complainant and he both were
the member of “Abkaaf Bachao Sangharsh Samiti”. The complainant was
involved in objectionable activities. Thus the Board in its meeting dated
9.12.2004 terminated the complainant from the Samiti. On reading the news in
the issue dated 11.12.2004 in Dainik Hindustan about his expulsion from the
Samiti, the complainant became annoyed and got a threatening press release
published in Dainik Hindustan on 14.12.2004 under the heading “Revolt in
Samiti”. The complainant also threatened him. Further, it was submitted that he
filed an FIR against the complainant on 11.12.2004 and the police after
investigation registered a case under Sections 384/504, 506 IPC. The matter
was pending before Civil Judicial Magistate, Behraich. The charge sheet had

                                       47
been filed and the complainant was on bail. The complainant also registered a
case against him under Sections 352, 323, 504, 506 IPC.
        The Superintendent of Police appearing for respondent Police authorities
submitted that the matter did not have connection with press freedom. Both the
complainant and Ishrat Mahmood Khan had filed cases against each other and
the matter was under trial in the Court. He added that the matter was sub-
judice. The complainant countered this by adding that his functioning, as a
journalist would be adversely affected, if the police did not act upon the threats
being held out to his life.
        The Committee considered the material available on record and the oral
submissions advanced before it by the parties. The matter was adjourned to be
listed before it to enable the complainant to file rejoinder to the written statement
filed at the time of hearing by Ishrat Mahmood, the respondent. The complainant
was further directed to send the complete details of the cases pending trial in
the Courts.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
      The matter was again taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 22.8.2006. Shri Vijay Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Bahraich
appeared for the respondent police authorities while there was no appearance
on behalf of the complainant.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
        The complainant vide his letter dated 14.8.2006 reiterated the averments
earlier made in the complaint. It was, however, added that in the case filed by
Ishrat Mahmood Ali, the second respondent the chargesheet had been filed in
the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate by the police and that he had obtained
bail in the case. The police was acting in connivance with the second respondent.
       Shri Ishrat Mahmood Ali, the second respondent in his written arguments
dated 17.8.2006 submitted that in the incident quoted by the complainant, the
complainant and his associates were on bail.
       The representative of the police authorities stated that the complainant
and Shri Ishrat Mahmood Ali had personal animosity and both got cases filed
against each other. The incidents have nothing to do with the journalistic duties
of the complainant. He assured that the security of the complainant will be
ensured as a part of general law and order duty of the police.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       The Inquiry Committee considered the material available on record and
the oral arguments advanced before it by the representative of the respondent

                                         48
police authorities. The Committee accepted that the complainant, Shri Shadab
Hussain and the second respondent Shri Ishrat Mahmood Ali had personal
enmity amongst them and they were seeking remedy by filing complaints against
each other with the police. It had no bearing with the freedom of the press and
the complainant was trying to take the shelter of the Press Council to settle his
personal scores with the second respondent. The Inquiry Committee took on
record the assurance given by the respondent police authorities to ensure the
security of the complainant and recommended to the Council to drop further
proceedings in the matter.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

2)     Mohd. Junaid Tamuri                      1. The Chief Secretary
       Bureau Chief, Amar Ujala                    Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
       Etawah                                      Lucknow
       Uttar Pradesh            Versus          2. The Secretary
                                                   Home (Police) Department
                                                   Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
                                                   Lucknow
                                                3. The Superintendent of Police
                                                   Etawah, Uttar Pradesh
Complaint
        The President, Etawah Press Club, Etawah, U.P. vide his letter dated
8.10.2002 has forwarded this complaint of Mohd. Junaid Tamuri, Bureau Chief,
Amar Ujala, Etawah against the local police officials for threatening and harassing
him.
        Mohd. Tamuri alleged that since he had drawn the attention of the higher
district and police officials towards the misdeeds and anti-social activities of
Shri Somdutt Sharma, Police Inspector, Kotwali Etawah and Shri Ramcharan
Verma, Traffic Inspector, Etawah, he had earned the wrath of the respondent
police officials. They not only harassed him but also threatened to kill him to
take revenge. According to the complainant both the respondent officials were
involved in promoting the sale of narcotics, gambling and satta and made money
from the anti-social elements.
       Giving details the complainant submitted that on 24.9.2002 workers of
Congress party demonstrated at the crossing of Municipal Corporation, Etawah
against the cancellation of allotment of land allotted to the Indira Gandhi

                                        49
Foundation. The demonstrators burnt the effigy of the Chief Minister in the
presence of police while the police present at spot remained a silent spectator.
The photographer of Amar Ujala was present there and he took photographs of
the incident. The news item with photo covering the demonstration was
published in the Amar Ujala in its issue dated 25.9.2002.
        Since the Police Inspector Shri Sharma was present on the spot, he called
the photographer of Amar Ujala at the Police Station and asked him to provide
negative of the photographs. The photographer explained to him that these
cannot be provided as photos were taken from a digital camera. The complainant
stated that irked by the incident, the Inspector did not allow the photographer
to take photographs of the Rally organized by Samajwadi Party. The
complainant alleged that a murderous attack was made on him by some anti-
social elements in connivance with the police officials. An FIR was filed in the
police station but the Inspector released the accused without taking any action
against him. According to the complainant the action of the respondent officials
amounts to suppression of the freedom of the Press. He requested the Council
to provide him security.
Comments
      Comments of the Government of U.P. and Superintendent of Police,
Etawah were invited on 17.2.2003.
        In his comments dated 2.5.2003 the Deputy Secretary, Govt. of U.P.
informed that the instant matter was inquired into by the District Magistrate,
Etawah and it was revealed by inquiry that the allegation made by the
complainant against the Police Inspector were completely baseless, untrue and
that the complaint was filed with a prejudice against the respondent official. It
was further stated in the inquiry report that inspite of repeated request made to
the complainant to present his claim and documents, he failed to do so. This
itself proved that the complaint was false and baseless. Thus no further action
is required for lack of substance. He filed a copy of the Inquiry Report.
Counter Comments
       The complainant vide his counter comments dated 9.7.2003 submitted
that comments of the Government of Uttar Pradesh were prima facie wrong
and should be dismissed. According to the complainant the whole inquiry report
of the Deputy Collector, Etawah lacked objectivity and was clearly subjective
in nature. The complainant submitted that the inquiry report had conspicuously
ignored to discuss the evidential material and documents filed by him. This
clearly showed the prejudice and preferential treatment of the Inquiry Officer
to save the Inspector of Police and his other criminal associates. According to
the complainant many applications were submitted to the Inquiry Officer seeking

                                       50
transfer of the respondent Inspector Kotwali Etawah for holding an impartial
and fair inquiry but the district/State administration did not pay any heed to it.
As a result the police inspector freely abused his powers to terrorise his
witnesses. He alleged that the inquiry officer had intentionally and mischievously
given a clean chit to the respondent inspector.
        The complainant submitted that the respondent inspector was habitual
of fabricating forged General Diary reports in order to save criminals for which
he had been earlier suspended by the Sr. Superintendent of Police, Etawah. He
requested to quash the report and to take necessary action against the respondent.
       A copy of counter comments was forwarded to the respondent on
29.7.2003 for information.
First Hearing
       The matter was posted for hearing before the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 29.3.2005. Shri Akhilesh Tiwari, Deputy Superintendent of Police,
Etawah appeared on behalf of the respondent authorities. The representative of
the authorities had filed the reports of District/City Magistrate and statement of
various persons with a forwarding letter of Senior Superintendent of Police.
The complainant’s request for adjournment was acceded to.
         After the conclusion of the Inquiry Committee meeting held on 29.3.2005,
a letter dated 30.3.2005 was received from the complainant intimating that the
suspension order of the respondent Inspector Shri Somdutt Sharma had been
revoked consequent upon the order of the Hon’ble Court and the Senior
Superintendent of Police, Moradabad, Shri G.K. Goswami had taken him in the
district where he was posted. The complainant stated that Senior S.P., Additional
S.P., SDM and Area Magistrate who had prepared fake documents against him
were still posted in Moradabad. The complainant further stated that he made
complaint against the respondent Inspector to higher authorities leveling charges
that the respondent, by running a gambling den, illegally earned Rs. 15 lakhs
which annoyed the district administration. The district administration with the
help of goons, in pre-planned manner on 6.10.2002 attacked to kill him and a
case in Kotwali Police Station was registered against them. He requested the
Council to call action taken report from the former Senior S.P., Shri Hariram
Sharma who had initiated action in May-June 2003 against the erring officials
in the case of gambling.
       A copy of complainant’s letter dated 30.3.2005 was forwarded to the
respondent on 14.7.2005.
Further Adjournment
       The hearing was also adjourned twice on 26.7.2005 and 5.10.2005 on
the requests of the parties.

                                        51
IVth Adjournment

       When the matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 5.1.2006, the complainant was present in person along with Shri
Ganesh Gyanarty, Advocate and Dr. S. Jahoor Ali Warsi. There was no
representation from the respondents side.

Submissions before the Inquiry Committee

        Shri Ganesh Gyanarty, Advocate while reiterating the complaint
submitted that the complainant had made a complaint to IG regarding the
gambling den on which an inquiry was made. The counsel informed that the
complainant had exposed the activities of the Shri Somdutt Sharma, Police
Inspector and Shri Ramcharan Verma, Traffic Inspector. He stated that because
of this, the complainant had earned the wrath of police officials. Shri Goswami,
Superintendent of Police did not help them in the matter. The counsel further
submitted that functioning of the police in Etawah is not upto the mark and
when the journalists write about the functioning of the police they are attacked.
The counsel stated that the complainant is a courageous person and writes in
public interest. When he complained to the higher officers against the harassment
by Shri Somdutt Sharma, an enquiry was started but thereafter no further action
was taken. As an evidence of the measure of the police animosity against him,
he filed a copy of the letter written by the police authorities to all the departments,
informing them that the complainant had left his job at Amar Ujala. He contended
that this was not the job of the police authorities and had been done so that he
did not get the cooperation of the departments.

Directions of the Inquiry Committee

       After hearing the submissions made before it, the Inquiry Committee
directed the District Administration to ensure the safety of the complainant and
to ensure that there is no hindrance in the performance of his journalistic duties.
The Inquiry Committee further directed that notices should also be issued to
Shri Goswami, Superintendent of Police, Shri Somdutt Sharma, Police Inspector
and Shri Ramcharan Verma, Traffic Inspector seeking their personal appearance
at the next hearing.

Vth Adjournment

       At hearing by the Inquiry Committee at Lucknow on 24.03.2006, the
complainant Mohd. Juned Taimuri was present in person while there was no
appearance on behalf of the respondent authorities. The SSP, Itawah had
requested by fax dated 23.03.2006 for adjournment as the Chief Minister was
scheduled to visit Itawah on the day.

                                          52
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       The complainant submitted that inspite of the directions given by the
Inquiry Committee on 05.01.2006, security was not provided to him. He
requested that he may be provided security so that he could perform his
journalistic duties freely and fearlessly.
       The Inquiry Committee noted from the record that the notice of hearing
sent to the respondent police authorities through the Chief Secretary had been
received back with postal remarks “to whom it belonged”. The Inquiry
Committee while adjourning the matter directed the Secretariat of the Council
to ensure service of notice on the respondent for the next meeting. The Inquiry
Committee further directed that directions of the Inquiry Committee given on
05.01.2006 be again brought to the notice of the authorities through the Chief
Secretary of the State to ensure safety of the complainant till pending disposal
of the matter.
         The Special Secretary to the Government of U.P., giving reference to the
directions of the Inquiry Committee conveyed by a letter dated 31.05.2006, vide
his letter dated 18.7.2006 directed the Superintendent of Police, Etawah, to ensure
security of the complainant and to send the compliance report to the Press Council
of India and the Government. A copy of the letter was sent to the Council.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       When the matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 22.8.2006, there was no appearance before it form either side.
The notice of hearing sent to the respondents’ viz., Shri Somdutt Sharma, Police
Inspector, Etawah, and Shri Ramcharan Verma, Traffic Inspector, Kotwali,
Etawah, were received back with postal remarks ‘gone to Moradabad’ and ‘No
person of this name in the Kotwali’ respectively.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        The Inquiry Committee noted from the record that the State Government,
pursuant to the directions of the Inquiry Committee, had initiated necessary
steps to ensure the personal security of Mohd. Juned Tamuri, the complainant.
However, the Inquiry Committee reiterated its earlier decision that the State
Government should ensure that the complainant does not feel hindrance in the
discharge of his journalistic duties and file a report on the action taken in the
matter. The Inquiry Committee recommended to the Council to close
proceedings in the matter with the above.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.
                                        53
3)    Shri Sudama Prasad Dubey                1. The Chief Secretary
      District President                         Government of U.P.
      Rural Journalist Association               Lucknow
      Lalitpur (U.P.)                         2. The Secretary
                                                 Home (Police) Department
                                       Versus    Government of U.P.
                                                 Lucknow
                                              3. The Superintendent of
                                                 Police
                                                 Lalitpur (U.P.)
                                              4. The District Magistrate
                                                 Lalitpur (U.P.)
Complaint
      Shri Sudama Prasad Dubey, District President, Rural Journalist
Association, Lalitpur (U.P.) has filed this complaint dated 12.12.2004 against
former Gram Pradhan for harassing, threatening and assaulting him and the
consequent inaction of the police authorities.
       Shri Dubey submitted that he published some critical news items
highlighting misdeeds and corrupt activities of the former Gram Pradhan and
earned his wrath. As a result, he was threatened many a times by Shri Ramdas
and at last on 20.11.2004 he was attacked by Shri Ramdas and his sons while
he was going to cover a news in village Bansi. According to the complainant,
somehow he managed to escape from there and filed a case under Sections
323/324/506 IPC in the Police Station. During such attack his hand was fractured
but the police was siding with accused and failed to take any action.
        The complainant submitted that journalists of the area protested against
this attack and demonstrated before the ADM and ASP to arrest the culprits and
provide protection to him as well as to his family members.
        According to the complainant inspite of assurance given by the higher
officials, no action had been taken against the erring persons. The complainant
apprehended threat to his life. He requested to arrest the culprits and provide
him security.
       Notices for Statement in Reply were issued to the Chief Secretary,
Secretary, Home (Police) Department, Government of U.P., District Magistrate
and Superintendent of Police, Lalitpur (U.P.) on 17.5.2005 for their comments
in the matter.
       The complainant vide his letter dated 14.6.2005 while forwarding Medical
Report and X-Ray Report of his fracture, submitted that due to attack on
20.11.2004 he had to remain in the District Hospital for seven days. Reiterating
                                       54
his original complaint, the complainant submitted that the police had filed cases
against him with the sole intention to suppress the freedom of the press but
failed to succeed in its mission due to interference of the journalists.
      A copy of the complainant’s letter was forwarded to the respondent-
Government of U.P. vide Council’s letter dated 21.6.2005 for their consolidated
comments in the matter.
Comments
        The Under Secretary, Government of U.P., Lucknow vide his letter dated
12.7.2005 (received in the Secretariat of the Council on 16.8.2005) informed
that it was revealed after inquiry in the matter that police had initiated necessary
and appropriate action in the matter. The papers related to the FIRs filed by the
complainant and the accused have been presented before the court and no
further action is required. He filed a copy of the report of the Superintendent of
Police, Lalitpur in the matter, who informed that the matter had been inquired
into by the Circle Officer, Talwahat. It was revealed that the complainant, Shri
Sudama Prasad Dubey and Shri Ram Das Sharma had animosity since last 20
years and both were habitual of filing cases against each other exaggerating
allegations. On 20.11.2004 the complainant filed FIR against Shri Ram Das
Sharma under Sections 324, 323, 504 and 506 of IPC but later it was changed
to Sections 323 and 506 of IPC since no cut by pointed weapon was found on
his body. Later the respondent Shri Ram Das Sharma also filed FIR under
Sections 395, 397 IPC against the complainant and on 8.12.2004 both the
challans were presented before the court of law.
       It was also stated in the Inquiry Report that being President of the Rural
Journalist Association, the complainant having influence over the journalists
got signature of the journalists and published the news about the incident
exaggerating the facts. As per the report, the local police had kept vigilance
over the activities of both the sides and since the matter had been presented
before the court no further action required.
        In response to the Council’s letter dated 21.6.2005, the Under Secretary,
Government of U.P., Lucknow vide his letter dated 26.9.2005 while furnishing
a copy of Inquiry Report of the Superintendent of Police, Lalitpur submitted
that the Circle Officer, Telwahat, had completed the inquiry on the allegations
made by the complaint and no further action/inquiry required in the matter. In
his inquiry report the Circle Officer, Telwahat while reiterating the earlier
comments stated that the complainant had infact filed this complaint to maintain
his pressure.
       A copy of the comments received from the respondent was forwarded
to the complainant vide Council’s letter dated 24.8.2005.

                                        55
Counter Comments
        The complainant in his counter comments dated 30.8.2005 alleged that
the Inquiry Report filed by the Circle Officer was far from truth. The police
had not initiated appropriate action in the matter with the intention to save the
culprit. It had not filed the FIR under the desired Sections. The complainant
stated that he had been continuously getting threatening calls. He alleged that
the police by ignoring his complaints and initiating one sided action had
conspired to suppress the freedom of the press.
       A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent on
9.9.2005 for information.
        The complainant in his further reply dated 18.2.2006 has submitted that
he had informed that Council that the Inquiry Report filed by the police authority
was false and meant to save the culprit. He has further stated that the case
registered under Sections 107/116 has been dismissed and his name implicated
into other two cases by the police after his filing the complaint in the Council
are also false. The complainant requested the Council to demand correct report
from the respondent police and provide protection to him as well as to his
family members.
      The complainant’s letter dated 18.2.2006 was forwarded to the
respondent on 23.2.2006 for information.
Matter Adjourned
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry committee at Lucknow
on 24.03.2006. Shri Shyam Vir Singh, SHO, Lalitpur was present for the police
authorities while there was no appearance on behalf of the complainant. The
complainant had, however, vide his letter dated 7.3.2006 expressed his inability
to appear before the Committee and requested that matter may be decided on
the basis of documents already submitted by him.
       The representative of the police authorities stated that the complainant
and his neighbour, Shri Ram Das Sharma had animosity for last about 20 years
and both were habitual of filing complaints against each other. On 20.11.2004
the complainant filed FIR against Ram Das and later Ram Das filed FIR against
the complainant. On 8.12.2004 both the challans were filled in the court. Both
the cases were found false. He further stated that in the medical report fracture
was found in the bone but on the objections of Shri Ram Das the CMO constituted
a board of 4 doctors. They checked up again and reported that there was no
fracture. He filed the report of the CMO. He further added that criminal
proceedings were pending in the court.
       The Inquiry Committee while adjourning the matter directed that a copy

                                        56
of the documents submitted before the Committee by the representative of the
respondent, be sent to the complainant for his rejoinder.
       The directions of the Inquiry Committee were conveyed to the
complainant vide Council’s letter dated 24.7.2006 forwarding therewith the
copies of letters dated 23.3.2006 and 7.4.2006 filed by S.P., Lalitpur alongwith
the report of Circle Officer, Telwahat.
       The Circle Officer, Talwahat in his report of March, 2006 addressed to
Superintendent of Police, Lalitpur stated that the allegations made by
complainant regarding non-taking action in relevant section of IPC is not true.
An FIR No. 496/04 was lodged by the complainant’s father Shri Radhey Shyam
against Shri Ramdas Sharma under Sections 324/323/504/506 IPC and got the
complainant medically examined in which fracture was indicated. However,
Shri Ramdas Sharma requested for re-examination of Shri Sudama Prasad Dubey
by Chief Medical Officer. A panel of four doctors re-examined Shri Sudama
Prasad Dubey and in their medical report, no fracture was found. Therefore,
Section 324 of IPC was deleted.
        It has also been stated in the Report of Circle Officer that the
complainant’s allegation that only one sided inquiry was made by the police is
not correct. The complaint filed by Shri Ramdas Sharma under Sections 395/
397 IPC was registered against Shri Dubey but the police found that these
allegations were false. The police therefore removed these sections of IPC from
the FIR and action was taken only under Sections 323/504/506 IPC.
       Circle Officer further stated that police had taken action against both the
parties in every complaint filed by them. In response to the letters of the
complainant to the district administration, it was communicated to the
complainant that if he wants any kind of personal security, he can write to the
authorities and they will provide security. But the complainant did not write
any letter to the respondents. However, instructions had been issued to the
SHO, Bansi that if the complainant sends any complaint, it may be examined.
The Circle Officer has also stated that police never issued any wrong information
against press, and all the reports filed by the police are true.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 22.8.2006. The complainant was present before it in person while
Shri Shailendra Kumar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Lalitpur alongwith
Shri Shiv Bahadur Singh represented the respondent authorities.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       The complainant in his oral submissions reiterated the complaint. He

                                        57
added that whenever he wrote against Ramdas, a complaint was filed by Ramdas
with the police. His name was unnecessarily included in the complaint and
later finding it false, his name was removed from the FIR.
        The Deputy Superintendent of Police stated that a complaint was filed
against the complainant in 2002 and when it was found that his name was
falsely implicated it was removed from FIR in the year 2002 itself. He added
that there was personal animosity between Shri Ramdas and cousin brother of
the complainant who were registering FIRs against each other. The complainant
had nothing to do with journalism.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        On careful consideration of the record and the oral arguments put forth
before it by the parties the Inquiry Committee noted that apparently the
complaint did not relate to the freedom of the press. However, it noted that on
a number of occasions the complainant name had been mentioned in the FIR
but later on finding him innocent his name was deleted from the FIR. It, therefore,
directed the police authorities to carefully scrutinise the complaint made to
them against Shri Sudama Prasad Dubey, the complainant before the Council
and his name may be included, lawfully as per rules, in the FIR. The police
authorities should also ensure that the complainant should not be harassed in
any manner and he should not face hindrance in performance of his journalistic
duties. With the above observations, the Inquiry Committee recommended to
the Council to dispose off the complaint.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

4)     Shri Dinesh Pankaj        1. The Chief Secretary
       Editor/Publisher   Versus    Government of U.P.
       Kamgaron Ki Duniya           Lucknow
       Mathura (U.P.)            2. The Assistant Labour Commissioner
                                    Government of U.P.
                                    Lucknow
                                 3. The City Magistrate
                                    Mathura (U.P.)
Complaint
       This complaint dated 15.1.2005 has been filed by Shri Dinesh Pankaj,
Editor/Publisher of Mathura based Hindi monthly magazine Kamgaron Ki
Duniya against Shri A.K. Sinha, Assistant Labour Commissioner alleging
                                        58
harassment following publication of a series of critical news reports from
October 2002 to January 2003 issues captioned “{ÉÚ´ÉÇ ºÉcɪÉBÉE gÉàÉɪÉÖBÉDiÉ xÉä +É{ÉxÉä
ºÉàÉÚSÉä BÉEɪÉÇBÉEÉãÉ àÉå gÉÉÊàÉBÉEÉå BÉEä ÉÊciÉÉå BÉEÉä +ÉxÉnäJÉÉ cÉÒ ÉÊBÉEªÉÉ” and “gÉàÉ BÉEɪÉÉÇãÉªÉ àÉå §É­]ÉSÉÉ®
SÉ®àÉ {É® - {ÉÚ´ÉÇ +ÉÉÊvÉBÉEÉ®ÉÒ BÉEä +ÉÉnä¶ÉÉå BÉEÉ {ÉÉãÉxÉ ºÉÖÉÊ´ÉvÉÉ ¶ÉÖãBÉE ãÉäBÉE® xÉcÉÓ ÉÊBÉEªÉÉ ” respectively.
According to the complainant, the respondent telephonically threatened him to
stop the publication of the magazine but, he, despite the threats continued the
publication of the magazine. The complainant submitted that the respondent
had been harassing him by way of making trouble with the printing press as
well as issuance of government advertisements. The complainant further
submitted that he filed a complaint on 5.2.2002 with the District Magistrate and
an inquiry was conducted through the City Magistrate who found the Assistant
Labour Commissioner guilty but no action has been taken on the report of the
City Magistrate. The complainant alleged that the respondent was prejudiced
towards him. The complainant requested the Council to take action against the
erring officer Shri A.K. Sinha.
      Comments of the Chief Secretary, Government of U.P., Labour
Commissioner, Lucknow and City Magistrate, Mathura were invited in the matter
on 19.4.2005.
Comments
        The Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Admn.), Mathura, vide his letter dated
12.5.2005, furnished the report dated 10.5.2005 of the Assistant Director,
Information, Mathura. The report stated that the complainant filed his complaint
against the Assistant Labour Commissioner, Shri A.K. Sinha in April 2003 which
was sent to the Secretary, Labour Department, Government of U.P. through
District Level Journalist Committee, and the Administration had written to the
Labour Commissioner, Kanpur for necessary action. Consequently Assistant
Director, Information, Mathura again wrote to the Labour Commissioner, Kanpur
requesting him to take necessary action in the matter. On the direction of the
District Magistrate, an inquiry was got conducted through the City Magistrate
and the report of the City Magistrate was received in May 2004 in the office of
Information Department, Mathura and in the year 2004 the Assistant Labour
Commissioner was transferred from the District.
        The report further stated that the Assistant Labour Commissioner initiated
action under Labour Act against Shri Satish Chander Agarwal, owner of Pawan
Printing Press, Mathura where the magazine of the complainant had been printed
and if the action taken by the Assistant Labour Commissioner against the owner
of the printing press was wrong, it should have been objected to by the owner
of the printing press instead of the complainant.
          The respondent SDM submitted that the complainant is free to publish

                                                         59
his magazine and the publication of the magazine was neither stopped nor
there has been any restriction to publish it. The respondent further stated that
the Under Secretary, Government of U.P. and Assistant Director, Information,
Government of U.P., vide their letters dated 24.6.2003 and 9.7.2003 respectively,
had referred the instant case to the Labour Commissioner, Kanpur for necessary
action.
Comments of Assistant Labour Commissioner
       In his comments dated 25.6.2005, the respondent Assistant Labour
Commissioner, Bijnor while reiterating submitted that the allegations are remain
unsubstantiated and stated that neither he harassed the complainant nor
obstructed the publication of any newspaper/magazine. He alleged that the
complainant by malicious attitude and vested interest filed numerous complaints
against him and thus harassing him by making false complaints against
him at different places. He charged the complainant for indulging in yellow
journalism.
       A copy each of the comments of the respondent SDM and Assistant
Labour Commissioner was forwarded to the complainant on 1.6.2005 and
8.7.2005 respectively for his information/counter comments.
Counter Comments
          The complainant in his undated counter comments received in the
Secretariat of the Council on 4.7.2005 on the comments of the SDM, Mathura
submitted that his magazine was being published from M/s Pawan Printing
Press and the respondent Assistant Labour Commissioner asked the owner of
the printing press on phone that before publishing the magazine its proof be
shown to him and in the event of non-compliance by the owner of the printing
press, false cases would be registered against him under the Labour Act. He
further stated that the respondent by misusing his power and ignoring the Labour
Enforcement Officer by showing false inspection of the printing press through
Labour Inspector registered false cases against the printing press owner Shri
Satish Chand Agarwal. He alleged that the District Administration and the
Assistant Director, Information are not serious towards the cases of harassment
of the journalists. The complainant further alleged that the respondents
are giving protection to the dishonest, corrupt and arbitratory officers directly
or indirectly. He requested the Council to take cognizance on the report of
the City Magistrate and punish the guilty respondent, Assistant Labour
Commissioner.
       A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent on
8.7.2005 for information.

                                       60
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 5.5.2006. Shri Dinesh Pankaj, the complainant appeared in person. S/
Shri B.K. Singh, Deputy Labour Commissioner, Asit Kumar Singh and Deep
Raj Jain, Advocate, were present on behalf of the respondent authorities.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       The complainant submitted that his Patrika was published in Pawan
Printing Press. The owner of the press was asked by the Labour Commissioner
to show him the proof before taking out final print. He was being threatened
time and again and was asked not to print the magazine. He further stated that
when efforts to restrain him failed, false cases were registered against the printing
press owner and fine was also imposed on him. Now his magazine was not
being published as no printing press was ready to publish the magazine due to
pressure of the Labour Inspector. He also said that the owner of the said printing
press would not come out to support his (complainants) contentions as his
own business would be adversely affected by antagonizing the Labour
Department.
        The counsel for the respondent authorities contended that as the owner
of the printing press was found on inspection to be paying fewer wages to two
of its employees, fine was imposed on him, which was duly deposited by the
press owner.
       The Inquiry Committee desired to know from the advocate as to how
many printing presses were inspected and challenged under the Minimum Wages
Act during the period in which M/s Pawan Printing Press was challaned.
The advocate was not able to answer the query. He pleaded that the owner
of the press had not complained to the Press Council of India or any other
authority.
Matter Adjourned
        The Inquiry Committee, in order to be satisfied of the bonafide of the
action of respondent, in imposing fine on the Pawan Printing Press from where
the complainant was getting his magazine published, decided to adjourn the
matter with directions to the respondent authorities through its counsel to file a
detailed statement showing as to how many printing presses were inspected
and challaned in Mathura under the Minimum Wages Act during the period
the Pawan Printing Press was fined. They were further directed to let the
Committee know as to how many time the Pawan Printing Press was booked
before the period the complainant’s magazine began to be printed at Pawan
Printing Press.

                                         61
       As per directions of the Inquiry Committee dated 5.5.2006 the
respondent, Additional Labour Commissioner, Kanpur (U.P.) vide his letter dated
19.6.2006 has forwarded to the Council letter dated 12.5.2006 written by Deputy
Labour Commissioner, Moradabad addressed to him and copy inter alia
endorsed to Press Council of India. It is stated in the letter that the Assistant
Labour Commissioner had inspected the Press Premises under the Labour Act
during the period and challan was made on the press during the year 2000-
2003 as per list attached. The list shows that in the year 2003 the following
Printing Presses were booked under different provisions:
       1.   M/s Automatic Printing Press, MWA
       2.   M/s Laxmi Printing Press, NHA, Factory Act
       3.   M/s Girdhari Lal Agarwal Printing Press, MWA
       4.   M/s Pawan Printing Press, MWA, Shop Act
       A copy of the letter dated 19.6.2006 was forwarded to the complainant
vide office letter dated 1.8.2006 for comments.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 22.8.2006. The complainant, Shri Dinesh Pankaj appeared in person.
Shri A.K. Singh and Ms. Kalpana Srivastava, Assistant Labour Commissioners,
Bijnore and Mathura respectively, were present on behalf of the respondent
authorities.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       The representative of the respondent authorities stated that the inspection
on the Pawan Printing Press was a routine one. There was no malafide in
conducting the inspection. Moreover, the owner of the printing press was not
an aggrieved party. There were about 12,000 shops in the area and routine
inspections were done on the shops which were not registered to ensure that
the owners get their shops registered. During 2003, four printing presses
including Pawan Prining Press were inspected in routine. Later on, the Chief
Judicial Magistrate, Mathura, imposed fine which was duly paid by the owner
of the printing press. It was pointed out that the concerned officer Shri A.K.
Sinha was transferred from Mathura.
        The complainant in his oral arguments stated that each officer was allotted
a particular area, but the inspection on Pawan Printing Press was conducted by
an officer in whose jurisdiction the area did not fall. According to rules, the
outcome of the inspection itself but the owner of printing press received the

                                        62
remarks only after a period of 15 days. The complainant submitted that the
owner of Pawan Printing Press Shri Satish Chand Aggarwal has filed an affidavit
on 16.4.2003 before the Inquiry Officer, Camp Mathura, that Shri A.K. Singh,
ALC had threatened over the phone on 5.1.2003 to show the proofs of the
material composed by the complainant magazine before publication or face
dire consequences. He added that no printing press was ready to publish his
magazine due to pressure by the Labour Department.

        The respondent denied the delay in sending the report and submitted
that reports are sent by post when the party refuses to accept the report in
person.

Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee

        The Inquiry Committee carefully considered the material available on
record and the oral arguments advanced before it by the complainant and the
respondent. It noted that the City Magistrate in his Order dated 24.4.2004 had
noted the statement of the complainant regarding the affidavit of the owner of
the printing press and regarding absence of any serial number in the inspection
notice and observed that the Assistant Labour Commissioner (ALC) was expected
to appear before him to explain the position, but the Assistant Labour
Commissioner sent a letter dated 24.2.2003 giving wrong facts that the
complainant was neither printer nor publisher of Kamgaron Ki Duniya. In the
end of the said order, the City Magistrate found the ALC guilty and recommended
that action may be taken against him as per rules. Although, there was no
documentary evidence to prove that the printing presses in Mathura had refused
to publish the complainant’s magazine, the circumstantial evidence indicated
that there was some pressure on the printing presses due to which the
complainant’s magazine was not being published. Any type of pressure by the
governmental authorities, direct or indirect, amounts to curtailment of the
freedom of the press, the Committee opined. The Inquiry Committee, therefore,
decided to recommend to the Council to uphold the complaint, call upon the
State Government of Uttar Pradesh to ensure that the Labour Department of the
State Government does not create any such undue pressure on the printing
presses, which may cause hindrance to the complainant in getting his magazine
published.

Decision of the Council

        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.
                                       63
5)     Shri Harshwardhan Arya        1. The Principal Chief Conservator
       Resident Editor        Versus    of Forests
       Lokmat Samachar                  Maharashtra State,
       Nagpur, Maharashtra              Nagpur (Maharashtra)
                                     2. Shri Tasneem Ahmad
                                        Chief Conservator of Forests
                                        (Territorial)
                                        Amravati, Maharashtra
Complaint
        Shri Harshwardhan Arya, Resident Editor, Lokmat Samachar, Nagpur
(Maharashtra) has filed this complaint dated 18.4.2005 against Shri Tasneem
Ahmad, Chief Conservator of Forests, Amravati for alleged threats following
publication of critical news item captioned “Spend one crore in 2 days:
Instructions of the Chief Conservator of Forests” in the issue dated 31.3.2005
of his newspaper. The complainant submitted that annoyed with the publication,
the respondent vide his letter dated 7.4.2005 while denying the contents not
only called upon him to explain the basis of publication but also threatened
him to provide evidences supporting the story within two weeks or else the
action will be taken as per law.
        While objecting to the language of the respondent’s letter, the complainant
vide letter dated 18.4.2005 submitted that if the respondent had any objection,
he could have filed his rejoinder clarifying the facts. But instead of doing so he
threatened him and used objectionable language which was an attack on the
freedom of the press.
       Notices for statement in reply were issued to the Chief Conservator of
Forests (Territorial), Amravati and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests,
Maharashtra State, Nagpur, Maharashtra on 16.9.2005.
Comments
       The respondent Chief Conservator of Forests (Territorial), Amravati in
his comments dated 27.9.2005 while denying in totality the allegations levelled
by the complainant submitted that in fact the complainant had filed this complaint
in order to cover up his action of publishing false and fabricated story against
him and unsuccessfully tried to drag the entire Lokmat Group just to escape
from his own liability.
        The respondent submitted that he had not written letter dated 7.4.2005
with any intention of insulting Shri Harshwardhan Arya or anybody whosoever,
or attacking freedom of press or threatening Lokmat Group of Newspapers in
any manner. The respondent submitted that the complaint had been lodged by
the complainant before the Council merely with the intention of launching a
                                        64
counter offensive against him to prevent/discourage him and other similarly
placed officers from coming to the Council in future even if such false news
items are published by him. He requested to dismiss the complaint.
        A copy of the comments was forwarded to the complainant vide Council’s
letter dated 4.10.2005 for information.
       The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Maharashtra State, Nagpur
in his reply dated 18.10.2005 submitted that he was not directly concerned
with this matter. He requested that the notice issued to him be cancelled and
decision on the complaint may be taken keeping in view the factual position
explained by Mr. Tasneem Ahmed, Chief Conservator of Forests, Amravati
Circle, Amravati.
       The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Maharashtra State, Nagpur
was informed vide Council’s letter dated 28.11.2005 that the charge of threats
to press freedom lay against a government servant in his official position and
thus his request regarding cancellation of notice cannot be acceded to.
Ist Adjournment
      The matter was called out for hearing before the Inquiry Committee at
Pune on 8.2.2006. S/Shri O.K. Mahajan, Divisional Forest Officer (Vigilance)
and N.B. Gudge, Deputy Forest Officer, Planning, were present before the
Committee for the respondent, while the complainant editor had requested for
adjournment as he was unable to attend the hearing due to unavoidable
circumstances.
       In view of the adjournment of the three counter complaints, listed
simultaneously, the Inquiry Committee acceded to the request of the complainant
and adjourned the matter.
IInd Adjournment
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 13.7.2006. There was no appearance before it from either side.
       The respondent, vide his letter dated 6.7.2006 requested for adjournment
on the ground that the Monsoon Session of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly
was going on and many legislative matters needed his urgent personal attention.
The complainant had also requested for adjournment.
       On the request of the parties the Inquiry Committee adjourned the matter
and the counter complaints.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
      When the matter in hand and the related counter complaints were taken
up by the Inquiry Committee at Hyderabad on 21.9.2006, none of the parties
                                      65
entered appearance before the Inquiry Committee. The Personnel Manager of
the Lokmat in a fax dated 20.09.2006 requested for adjournment of the case
due to unavoidable work.
       The Inquiry Committee noted that the parties to the complaints and
counter complaints listed before it on three occasions, did not appear to be
seriously interested in pursuing their grievance. It therefore recommended to
the Council to dismiss the case.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

6)     Suo-motu action with reference to issuance of an interim order/notice
       under section 144 Cr. P.C. dated 7.12.2005 directing the Editor of
       Andhra Jyothi to appear before the Revenue Divisional Officer,
       Visakhapatnam.
         The attention of the Press Council of India was drawn to the debate
regarding infringement on the fundamental rights of press by Government of
Andhra Pradesh raised in Rajya Sabha by Shri Ravula Chandra Sekar Reddy,
M.P. informing the House about the interference with media and infringement
of their rights by issuing an interim order/notice under Section 144 Cr.P.C.
dated December 7, 2005 directing the editor of Andhra Jyothi to appear before
the Revenue Divisional Officer in Visakhapatnam at 4 p.m. The reference records
that the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh was reportedly unhappy with the
reporting in the newspaper. As per order of the Government of Andhra Pradesh,
no report about an officer of the Government or any officer should be published
without reference to that officer and without revealing the source of information.
There shall be a Screening Committee appointed, headed by the Public Relations
Officer of the Government and with three persons from rival newspapers.
And thirdly, that there shall be a detailed code of conduct for this particular
newspaper.
        Further, as per news reports in the section of the Press, a Screening
Committee had been set up for the purpose consisting of three senior journalists
of rival newspapers with the District Public Relations Officer as the Convener.
The three journalists, on becoming aware of all these background developments
protested and withdrew their name. Subsequently, the State Government too
hastily rescinded the aforesaid orders in the face of vehement opposition from
all sections sensing that the move could boomerang. A press note was, later on,
issued hurriedly saying that the Chief Minister was furious on learning about

                                       66
the notice and reiterated his commitment to freedom of the pres and asked the
District Collector to give a clarification on the ruckus.
       The Council, after consideration of the matter felt that the act of the
officer in passing the order appeared to warrant suo-motu cognizance of the
matter by the Council.
       The Council vide letters dated 4.5.2006, asked the Government of Andhra
Pradesh as well as the Editor, Andhra Jyothi to furnish a report on the facts of
the case to enable the Council to take further course of action in the matter.
1.    Reports of the Editor, Andhra Jyothi
        In response to Council’s letter dated 4.5.2006, the Editor, Andhra Jyothi
vide letter dated 2.6.2006 has filed his report on the facts of the case:
      (i)    that Mr. M. Venkateswara Rao, Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO),
             Visakhapatnam served a Notice cum interim Order (M.C. No.52/
             2005) under Section 144 Cr. P.C., in his capacity as Sub-Divisional
             Magistrate to the editor of Andhra Jyothi, Mr. K. Ranchandra
             Murthy on 07.12.2005.
      (ii)   The notice alleged that Andhra Jyothi has been publishing adverse
             news items about alleged land deals by IAS, IPS officers and other
             Civil Servants besides Politicians in Visakhapatnam District. The
             notice also furnished a few examples of some of the alleged adverse
             news items published by Andhra Jyothi, which were enclosed along
             with the notice.
      (iii) The Order, which was served on Andhra Jyothi sought to screen
            before publication news reports pertaining to public servants.
      (iv) In his notice, the RDO by virtue of the power vested in Section 144
           of Cr. P.C. ordered that;
             (a) Andhra Jyothi should refrain from publishing baseless and
                 malafide allegations on public servants without taking the
                 opinion of the officers concerned and without revealing the
                 source of information.
             (b) Any news item published in Andhra Jyothi that could malign
                 the personal character and value system of any public servant
                 should hereafter pass through a Screening Committee
                 comprising The Hindu Chief of Bureau, Mr. R. Sampath,
                 Vaartha Chief of Bureau, Mr. S.S. Siva Sankar, Eenadu’s
                 Reporter, Mr. Srinivas as members, with the District Public
                 Relations Officer as the Convener.

                                       67
             (c) The notice further directed to reply as to why not a detailed
                 code of conduct be made for Andhra Jyothi with regards to
                 such news items so as to prevent the publishing of similar
                 news items in future.
             (d) The notice further stated that the interim order shall come into
                 force with immediate effect and will remain in force until
                 further orders.
       (v)   The notice further directed the editor to explain in person as to
             why not the order be made final at 4.00 p.m. on 9.12.2005 at
             RDO office in Visakhapatnam, failing which suitable action will be
             taken.
       (vi) Journalists Unions described the action of the RDO as an attempt
            to curtail the freedom of the Press. On learning about the
            implications of the order the Government intervened and got the
            order annulled. Journalists gathered at the collectorate held a
            demonstration denouncing the official’s action.
       (vii) Mr. R. Sampath who was unilaterally nominated as a member of
             the Screening Committee has actively participated in the rally to
             protest against the action of the District Administration.
2.     Reports of Revenue Divisional Officer, Visakhapatnam
        The Revenue Divisional Officer, VIsakhapatnam, Shri M. Venkateswara
Rao vide letter dated 22.8.2006 filed his reports on the facts and submitted that
in the recent past, a series of adverse news items were being published regularly
in Andhra Jyothi against the Senior Officers and other public servants of
Visakhapatnam District with careless and biased attitude which want to the
extent of not only maligning the character and image of those officers in public
but also shatter the faith of the public likely to be bestowed upon those officers.
In such cases, such officers were likely to face hostile situation in public while
dealing with sensitive subjects such as removal of encroachments, rehabilitation
etc. and above all much annoyance was caused to such officers who were
lawfully employed added the respondent. He further submitted that in those
adverse news items, allegations of serious nature had been levelled against the
public servants, attributing connections with illegal land dealings, without
sufficient reason and evidence which was likely to shatter the faith of the
public in general on the Government, which the officers represented and in
such case the system of governance would likely to be affected at large and
the public could also cause hindrance to the public servants in discharging
their legitimate duties which ultimately could cause disturbance to public
tranquility.

                                        68
       In the light of the aspect stated above, the Revenue Divisional Officer
submitted that he was inclined to come to a conclusion that unless and other
wise publication of this sort of mudslinging news item against the senior officials
and government servants, was put to rest, there was every likelihood of
disturbance to public tranquility and annoyance to the persons lawfully
employed and that there was urgent and imminent need to prevent such things
by invoking the provisions of Sec.144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code.
Accordingly, he had issued notice and interim order U/s 144 of Cr. P.C. directing
the Editor, Andhra Jyothi to refrain from publishing news items of baseless and
malafide allegations against the public servants without taking their opinion
and without revealing the source of such information and also directed to reply
as to why detailed code of conduct should not be framed with regard to
publication of such news items in future. The DRO and Addl. District Magistrate,
Visakhapatnam, after analyzing the whole issue felt that his issue needs further
scrutiny and accordingly passed orders in Mc. No. 2/2005/A2 dt. 18.12.2005
U/s 144(5) of the Cr. P.C. rescinding the orders of the RDO & SDM,
Visakhapatnam issued in MC.No.52/2005 dt. 7.12.2005.
       Shri M. Venkataswara Rao, the Revenue Divisional Officer,
Visakhapatnam submitted that the said order dated 7.12.2005 was issued by
him in good faith and in accordance with the provisions of Sec.144 of the Code
of Criminal Procedure as a measure of confidence building among public
servants and as intended against a couple of Telugu Dailies which were indulging
in publication of mudslinging news items against the public servants but not
against the entire media as projected by the media people and as such could be
considered as infringement of the freedom of the press as guaranteed under the
Constitution of India.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 22.9.2006
at Hyderabad. Shri K.Rama Chandra Murthy, Editor, Andhra Jyothi was present
in person, while Shri C. Nageshwar Rao, State Public Prosecutor, Andhra Pradesh
High Court, Shri Sandeep Sultania, Joint Collector and Shri M. Venketashwar
Rao, Revenue Divisional Officer, appeared for the State Government of Andhra
Pradesh.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       The representative of Andhra Jyothi submitted that the Order was a direct
attempt to thwart the independence of the Press.
      The counsel for the Government of Andhra Pradesh submitted that the
RDO had issued the impugned order having observed that the Andhra Jyothi
was publishing reports against Government Officers which were unverified

                                        69
and were likely to effect their efficient discharge of duties. There was no malafide
or misuse of authority in the action. He took this action of his own volition, and
as soon as his seniors were seized of it, the Order was rescinded by his officer,
DRO-cum-ADM, Visakhapatnam. He submitted that the government of Andhra
Pradesh was committed to protecting and promoting the freedom of the Press
and would not violate any provision of the Constitution.

Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee

        The Inquiry Committee upon hearing the parties to the suo motu inquiry
initiated by the Press Council, noted the records and submissions before it. It
expressed its deep disapproval of not just the action of the RDO but also the
reply filed by him before the Council justifying the Order issued by him. Even
during the oral submissions before the Council, the said RDO, present before
the Committee did not come forth to respond to the concern expressed by the
Committee. No record was placed before the Committee to establish that the
action was taken with the consent of or under the direction of any of his officers.
The Committee opined that the RDO has either deliberately misconstrued the
provisions of law to interfere with the free functioning of Andhra Jyothi or he
was not well equipped to discharge the duties entrusted to him. It has to be
appreciated that the media is an integral part of any democratic form of the
government and functions as the eyes, ears and voice of the public. In case the
press deviates from its assigned duties and responsibilities, there are sufficient
well defined laws to being them back on the correct path, but Section 144 Cr.
P.C. is not one of them. Noting that the seniors of the RDO had taken due steps
to rescind the impugned order as a remedial measures, the Committee placed
on record its expectation that the government or any of its officer will in future
take due care to ensure against recurrence of any such action. The Committee
further directed that State Government to file within two weeks a report on the
administrative action taken against the said RDO.

       The Inquiry Committee recommended to the Council to decide the matter
in terms of the above observations and directions.

Decision of the Council

       The Council perused the records and the report of the Inquiry Committee
and noted that the government had not yet intimated the action taken in pursuance
of the directions of the Inquiry Committee dated 22.9.2006. Therefore,
the Council while accepting and adopting the report and recommendation of
the Inquiry Committee, decided that the Government of Andhra Pradesh be
directed to file requisite information within two weeks of the receipt of the
decision.

                                        70
7)     Shri Jaleen Khan                        1. The Managing Director
       Editor                  Versus             A.P. Minorities Finance
       Voice of Minorities                        Corporation Ltd.
       Gunture, Andhra Pradesh                    Hyderabad
                                               2. Shri S.M. Shabbir Basha
                                                  Former Executive Director
                                                  A.P. Minorities Finance
                                                  Corporation Ltd.
                                                  Hyderabad
Complaint
        This complaint dated 24.11.2004 has been filed by Shri Jaleel Khan,
Editor, Voice of Minorities, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh against Shri S.M. Shabbir
Basha, Former Executive Director, A.P. Minorities Finance Corporation Ltd.,
Guntur alleging threats to his life.
       The complainant submitted that some daily newspapers published
complaints against the former Executive Director, A.P. Minorities Finance
Corporation Ltd., Guntur and he sent some news clippings to State Finance
Corporation Ltd., Hyderabad for information. The Executive Director was
subsequently transferred to Kurnool. Ever since then the Executive Director
bore grudge against him. On 20.11.2004 he went to Guntur District Minorities
Finance Corporation Ltd. for news coverage. There, four rowdies, henchmen
of former Executive Director not only insulted and rebuked him but also warned
him with dire consequences. The complainant reported the incident to the
Collector and A.P. Minorities Finance Corporation apprehending danger to his
life and property but no action has been taken. The complainant alleged that
such act of the respondent resulting in causing problem to him in collecting
news and in discharging his duties as an editor. He requested the Council to
take action against the culprits.
       Comments of the Managing Director and Shri S.M. Shabbir Basha,
Executive Director, A.P. Minorities Finance Corporation Ltd., Hyderabad were
invited on 20.7.2005.
Comments
        The respondent V.C. & Managing Director, A.P. State Minorities Finance
Corporation Ltd. Hyderabad in his comments dated 30.9.2005 while submitting
that the allegations levelled by the complainant had been found false and baseless
and stated that Shri S.M. Shabir Basha, former Executive Director was transferred
to Kurnool from Guntur on administrative grounds contrary to any complaint
from the complainant or from others. Further, he was also repatriated to his
parent department on his willingness and relieved on 31.12.2004.

                                       71
       A copy of the comments was forwarded to the complainant on 6.10.2005
for information.

       Notice issued to Shri S.M. Shabir Basha, former Executive Director, A.P.
State Minorities Finance Corporation Ltd., Hyderabad was received back
undelivered from the postal authorities.

Appearance before the Inquiry Committee

       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on
22.9.2006 at Hyderabad. Shri K. Ramanuja Chary, Advocate appeared for
the A.P. Minorities Finance Corporation. The complainant in a telegram
dated 18.9.2006 requested the Council to dispose of the case on the basis of
record.

Submissions before the Inquiry Committee

       Learned counsel for the respondent authorities intimated the Inquiry
Committee that Shri S.M. Shabbir Basha, former Executive Director of the
Corporation was no more in the Corporation and had been sent back to his
parent department.

Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee

       The Inquiry Committee considered the material on record and was of
the opinion that the officer against whom the complaint had been lodged had
since been repatriated to his parent department and the Corporation had no
powers to initiate any action against him at this stage. Further the Inquiry
Committee noted that the complainant had not given any fresh facts whether
the said officer had caused any harm to the editor or the newspaper. In the
absence of any cause of action, the Inquiry Committee opined that no further
action was warranted in the complaint and allowed the matter to be closed. It
recommended to the Council accordingly.

Decision of the Council

        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.




                                       72
Facilities to the Press

8)    1. Shri Suresh Chandra Rohra             1. Chief Secretary
         Correspondent                            Government of Chhatisgarh
         Nai Duniya                               Raipur
         Korba, Chhatisgarh
                              Versus
      2. The President                         2. The Director
         Chhatisgarh Patrakar                     Information & Public
         Sangharsh Samiti                         Relations Department
         Korba, Chhatisgarh                       Government of Chhatisgarh
                                                  Raipur, Chhatisgarh
Complaint
        This complaint dated 10.6.2004 and 14.6.2004 has been filed by Shri
Suersh Chandra Rohra, Correspondent, Nai Duniya and the President,
Chhatisgarh Patrakar Sangharsh Samiti, Korba respectively against the policy
decision of the Government of Chhatisgarh and Municipal Corporation, Korba
attempting centralization of Government advertisements thereby promoting
corruption and working against the interest of small newspapers. The
complainants alleged that the State Government’s policy of inclusion of the
local bodies like Municipal Corporation/Nagar Nigam and district level
institutions in the “Chhatisgarh Samvad”, an agency to regulate Government
advertisements was socially and morally against the interest of small newspapers.
They apprehended that such centralization of advertisements of local bodies
might give rise to the corruption. The complainants alleged that this policy is
an attack on the freedom of Chhatishgarh press and it should not be implemented
for the small newspapers who may never be able to receive advertisements in
competition to large number of big and medium newspapers.
       Notices for Statement in Reply were issued to the Chief Secretary and
the Director, Information and Public Relations Department, Government of
Chhatishgarh Raipur on 12.7.2004.
Statement in Reply
       The Commissioner, Directorate of Public Relations, Raipur in his
comments dated 1.9.2004 submitted that the State Government has exempted
local bodies while directly issuing advertisements to the newspapers. He further
informed that 1/3rd of the commission collected by the Government in issuing
advertisements has been earmarked for the pension fund of the journalists.
While relying on the letter dated 16.8.2004 of Chief Executive Officer,
                                       73
“Chhatisgarh Samvad” it was intimated that the State Government has given
exemption to local bodies in directly issuing advertisements to the newspapers
which was modified since earlier semi-government organizations, Public
Enterprises, Corporation, Mandals and autonomous bodies were brought under
the control of “Chhattisgarh Sambad” an associate organisation of the Public
Relations Department of the State Government. The respondent while denying
the allegation made in the complaint stated that the decision taken by the
Government earlier was also in the interest of journalists.
       A copy of the Statement in Reply was forwarded to the complainant on
9.12.2004 for information/counter comments.
Counter Comments
         In his unsigned and undated counter comments, received in the
Secretariat of the Council on 4.8.2005, the complainant while reiterating his
complaint requested that the policy of the Government of Chhatisgarh to
centralize the Government advertisements be changed and Information offices
of all the 16 districts of the State be given rights to issue advertisements of
district level as per past practice adopted 15 years back. The complainant further
stated that the present Chhatishgarh Government had intended to earmark for
the pension fund of the journalists from the 1/3rd commission collected by the
government in issuing advertisements but after more than one year
implementation has not been done in this regard. However, with the
announcement of the abovesaid pension policy Government has improved its
image among the public but done injustice towards journalists’ community. If
the government intend to earmark for the pension fund, it should start from its
own fund nor from the 1/3rd commission collected by the government in issuing
government advertisement. He requested the Council to render justice to them.
      A copy of the unsigned and undated counter comments of the
complainant was forwarded to the respondent on 23.11.2005 for information.
Respondent’s Reply
        On the unsigned counter comments of the complainant, the respondent
Commissioner, Directorate of Public Relations, Govt. of Chhatishgarh, Raipur
in his rejoinder dated 1/12/2005 submitted that the Public Relations Deptt. and
the Chhatishgarh Sanwad have been authorised to release advts. in pursuance
of the decision of the State Government and this has been done keeping in
view the tradition followed by the erstwhile State of M.P. Further, the news are
published through Distt. Public Relations office and no advts. released for these
and are issued only to State-level newspapers. He further stated that though the
implementation of the pension scheme for the journalists is not mandatory for
the Government and it is under the process of planning a pension scheme for

                                        74
the welfare of the Journalists’ with the assistance of insurance/co-operative
banks in agreement with journalists. The respondent denied the averment of
the complainant that justice is not being given to the journalists in the State.
      A copy of the rejoinder of the respondent was forwarded to the
complainant on 15.12.2005 for information.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       When the matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 14.7.2006. Shri Umesh Mishra, Assistant Director, Public
Relations Department was present on behalf of the respondent authorities of
Government of Chhatisgarh while there was no appearance on behalf of the
complainant.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
        The representative of the respondent authorities submitted that the State
Government had already issued orders for decentralizaton of release of
advertisement of lower level. He further submitted that the advertisement policy
was under formulation and till it was formed they were following the
advertisement policy of the Madhya Pradesh Government. The advertisements
were being issued to State level newspaper only. He added that local bodies
were directly releasing their advertisements to the newspapers. About pension
to the journalists, he stated that a Committee had been already formed.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       On consideration of the record and the oral submissions of the
representative of the respondent authorities, the Inquiry Committee noted that
the government had already taken appropriate action for decentralization of
advertisements release process and a Committee had been formed to look into
the issue of pension to the journalists. The Advertisement Policy of the State
was also being drawn up. Thus, the Committee opined that the grievances of
the complainants had been largely ventilated. While recommendations of the
Council to allow the matter to rest the Inquiry Committee decided to recommend
it to direct the State Government to study Press Council of India’s model
advertisement policy while formulating the advertisement policy of the State
Government and to provide for transparency and non-discrimination in release
of advertisements.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

                                       75
9)     Shri M.M. Nawab                        The Chief Secretary
       Editor                   Versus        Government of Uttar Pradesh
       Bahar-E-Hardoi                         Lucknow
       Urdu Weekly
       Hardoi (U.P.)
                                              The Director
                                              Information & Public Relations
                                              Department, Government of U.P.
                                              Lucknow

                                              District Information Officer
                                              Hardoi (U.P.)
Complaint
        This complaint dated 21.12.2004 has been filed by Shri M.M. Nawab,
Editor, Bahar-E-Hardoi, Urdu Weekly, Hardoi(U.P.) against District Information
Officer and Assistant Information Officer, Hardoi for cancelling the declaration
of his newspaper terming it as irregular due to which DAVP has not been
releasing advertisements to his newspaper. The complainant alleged that his
press accreditation has also not been renewed by the respondent, which affected
his journalistic duties. According to the complainant, he has been facing
problems in performing his journalistic work due to indifferent attitude of the
respondent-DIO, Hardoi. The complainant furnished a copy of the letter dated
18.8.2004 received from the District Information Officer, Hardoi with a copy
endorsed to the District Magistrate, Hardoi, DAVP and RNI informing that the
declaration of his newspaper itself gets cancelled for non-availability of 50%
of the issues in a quarter and without authenticating new declaration he was not
entitled to publish the newspaper. The complainant submitted that he had
regularly been filing all issues of his newspaper in the office of the Information
Department but the staff deputed there had never given him acknowledgement.
        The complainant further submitted that in response to the District
Information Officer’s Notice dated 18.8.2004 he clarified his position vide his
letter dated 26.8.2004 that his newspaper was being published regularly for the
last 14 years and he had been depositing each issue in the District Information
Office as per rules but no reply has been received from the respondent. He
alleged that the respondent has been deliberately trying to close down his
newspaper being prejudiced towards him. The complainant also alleged that
he has also been deprived of information about the official press conferences.
        The complainant vide his letter dated 17.8.2005 clarified that after getting
notice from DIO, Hardoi declaring his newspaper as irregular and asserting
that the declaration of the newspaper stands automatically cancelled under the

                                         76
provision of the PRB Act, 1867, he stopped the publication of his newspaper.
However, he has not received any notice from the District Magistrate, Hardoi
regarding cancellation of his newspaper’s declaration. He requested the Council
to direct the DIO, Hardoi to withdraw his notice so that he can publish his
newspaper without any hindrance.
       Comments of the Chief Secretary, Director Information & Public
Relations Department, Government of U.P. and District Information Officer,
Hardoi (U.P.) were invited on 29.8.2005.
Comments
       The District Information Officer, Hardoi in his comments dated 16.9.2005
while denying the allegations of the complainant submitted that the notice had
been issued to the complainant as per Section 5(6) of the Press & Registration
of Books Act, 1867. He also drawn the attention towards Section 11(A) of the
PRB Act, 1867 according to which the complainant is required to furnish two
copies of each issue of his newspaper on publication. Due to violation of afore-
said section of the PRB Act, 1867, the Notices dated 25.3.2004 and 18.9.2004
were issued to the complainant. Denying the allegation of the complainant that
notices were deliberately issued to him malafide despite filing of all issues of
his newspaper as stated, the respondent clarified that the complainant’s news-
paper was not the only one to whom notices were issued. In fact notices were
issued to 12 such newspapers held as irregular. According to him, the declara-
tion of such newspapers stands automatically cancelled and a new declaration
shall be necessary before commencing publication.
       The allegation levelled by the complainant that no “Receipt Register”
has been maintained in the information Office or no acknowledgement is given
for submission of newspaper is false. Since the declaration has been cancelled
on technical grounds no information at District Magistrate level was required
to be provided to the complainant.
       A copy of the comments of the respondent-DIO, Hardoi was forwarded
to the complainant on 26.9.2005 for his counter comments.
Counter Comments
        The complainant in his counter comments dated 7.10.2005 while
reiterating what he had submitted in his complaint that his newspaper is being
published regularly for the last 19 years and he had been submitting regularly
two-copies of the issue of his newspaper in DIO office but he had been denied
its acknowledgement. He alleged that the notice had been issued by the
respondent due to malicious attitude towards him.
       A copy of the counter comments of the complainant was forwarded to
the respondents on 24.10.2005.

                                       77
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
Lucknow on 24.3.2006. The complainant, Shri M.M. Nawab was present before
it in person while Shri Anand Swaroop Choudhry, Additional Information
Officer, Hardoi, represented the respondent authorities.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
        The complainant in his oral submissions reiterated the averments made
in the complaint. He added that he sent the issues of the newspaper regularly to
District Information Officer but he had no proof to substantiate his statement as
he was not given receipts. He had also kept the issues of newspaper in his own
office and could produce the same when asked for.
        The representative of the respondent authorities submitted that there was
no malafide behind issuing of notice to the complainant. It was only to make
him aware that his publication was not regular. He added that on receipt of
issues of newspaper from the publisher, proper receipt was issued. He produced
before the Committee the counter-foils of some of the receipts issued by his
office. He further stated that the notice was issued to 12 publications. He assured
the Committee that on submissions of the copies of the newspapers by the
complainant, the declaration would be restored.
Matter kept Pending
        On consideration of the record and the oral arguments advanced before
it the Inquiry Committee noted that the complainant’s case was that despite
publication of weekly regularly and submitting the issues in the office of District
Information Officer(DIO), his recognition for the purpose of advertisement was
not renewed and he was served a notice by the DIO. Consequently, he stopped
the publication. The respondent had justified their action claiming that weekly
was not regular and the publisher failed to submit requisite number of issues
with the DIO’s office. The respondent’s representative showed the counter-
foils of some of the receipts showing the receipt of issue of periodicals in the
DIO’s office. It appeared to the Committee that documents produced by the
respondent required proper scrutiny to establish their authenticity more so as
some of the receipts in the book were kept blank and could be filled up at a
later date. As the respondent’s representative has assured the Committee that
on receipt of the requisite documents from the complainant his case for
restoration of recognition would be considered, the Inquiry Committee directed
the complainant to file the issues of the newspaper of the relevant period with
the office of DIO. The respondent DIO was directed to process the case of the
complainant for restoration of declaration on receipt of required documents
from the complainant. The respondent was further directed to intimate to the
Council the decision taken in the matter.

                                        78
       The complainant vide his letter dated 30.03.2006 informed the Council
that he had gone to DIO office on 25.3.2006 for submitting the issues of his
newspapers of the relevant period as per directions of the Inquiry Committee
meeting held on 24.3.2006 at Lucknow. The respondent however refused to
receive the same unless written direction is received from the Press Council of
India.

      On the contrary, DIO, Hardoi, vide his letter dated 20.7.2006 has
informed that the complainant did not file the issues of his paper nor the
complainant contacted the office.

Appearance before the Inquiry Committee

      The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 22.8.2006. Shri Dinesh Kumar Garg, District Information Officer,
was present on behalf of the respondent department, while there was no
appearance on behalf of the complainant.

Submissions before the Inquiry Committee

      The DIO by a letter dated 5.8.2006 again informed that the complainant
had not submitted the copies of the newspaper as per directions of the Inquiry
Committee given at Lucknow. In his oral submissions reiterated what he
informed by his letter. He added that a letter was sent to the complainant.

Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee

         The Inquiry Committee noted the contradictory stands before it and
reiterating its earlier decision, directed the complainant to send the issues of the
newspaper of the relevant period to the Office of the DIO through registered
post and the DIO to process the case of the complainant for restoration of
declaration on receipt of the requisite documents. The Inquiry Committee
recommended to the Council to dispose of the complaint accordingly.

Decision of the Council

        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.




                                         79
Principles and Publication

10)   Dr. O.P. Agnihotri                      The Editor
      Joint Managing Director        Versus   Rozgar Sangrah, Hindi weekly
      Uttar Pradesh Bhoomi                    Agra, Uttar Pradesh
      Sudhar Nigam
      Lucnow (U.P.)
Complaint
        This complaint dated 28.6.2003 had been filed by Dr. O.P. Agnihotri,
Joint Managing Director, Uttar Pradesh Bhoomi Sudhar Nigam, Lucknow against
Rozgar Sangrah, Hindi weekly, Agra, U.P. for publication of an unauthorised
advertisement in its issue dated 14-20 March, 2003 regarding appointment of
SC and OBC in the Nigam. In the advertisement the last date of filing the
application was mentioned as within four days from the date of publication of
the advertisement whereas the last date mentioned by the Nigam in the
advertisement actually, issued to other papers on 25.2.2003 was within 15 days
from the date of the publication of the advertisement. The complainant has
alleged that the facts were twisted by the respondent and the advertisement was
published unauthorisedly. The complainant has also furnished to the Council,
a copy of the complaint of some of the applicants given to Senior Superintendent
of Police, Lucknow alleging that the time limit of four days in the advertisement
published by Rozgar Sangrah was too less to apply and all the four days were
gazetted holidays thereby depriving them to post their applications and the
Corporation had conspired to fill the vacancy secretly.
       The complainant had written a letter dated 28.6.2003 to the respondent
editor calling explanation but no response.
Written Statement
       Show-cause notice was issued to the respondent on 17.10.2003. The
respondent Editor, Rozgar Sangrah in his written statement dated 5.11.2003
has submitted that the Rozgar Sangrah weekly is being published under Section
19(1) (A) of the Constitution of India and also Right to Information for the
welfare of un-employed youths. The respondent has submitted that the
information regarding vacancies is being published free of cost by the newspaper
with an objective to give details of all the vacancies in their weekly, which
were published in other newspapers of the country to educate the unemployed
since all the newspapers are not available at all the places. The respondent has
submitted that Rozgar Sangrah is a weekly and published once a week in
advance. The advertisement in question was published by other newspapers
on 3.3.2003 and the last date was not mentioned in the advertisement. The

                                       80
advertisement in question was published in Rozgar Sangrah in its issue of 14th
March 2003 which was available in the market on 7.3.2003. As the date of
publication was 14.3.2003, the last date was mentioned as within four days
from the date of publication of the advertisement. The respondent has submitted
that if the last date was published as within 15 days from the date of publication
of the advertisement then the last date comes to 28.3.2003 as per advertisement
published by other newspapers on 3.3.2003. Due to this fact the change was
carried out to save the interest of the applicants. The respondent denied having
received complainant’s letter dated 28.6.2003.
Complainant’s Counter Comments
        A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
28.11.2003. The complainant has submitted that under Section 19(1)(A) every
one has a right to information but it does not mean free information to mislead.
The complainant has submitted that the advertisement was published by Dainik
Aaj and Dainik Swatantra Bharat on 25.2.2003 and not on 3.3.2003. The
respondent had no right to publish the advertisement in distorted and misleading
manner. The complainant has submitted that publication of misleading
advertisement by the respondent landed the Uttar Pradesh Bhoomi Sudhar Nigam
in trouble, such as, queries from Prime Minister’s Office and student’s complaints
to CBI, because it was impossible for them to send applications within four
days.
      A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent on
23.2.2004.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was listed before the Inquiry Committee for hearing at New
Delhi on 13.7.2006. Shri Arun Kumar Rawat, editor, along with Shri P.K.
Agarwal, Advocate appeared for the respondent newspaper, while the com-
plainant remained unrepresented.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
        The counsel for the respondent argued that the advertisement was
published in the issue dated 14.3.2003 of the Weekly. The Weekly publishes
compilation of advertisements from different papers, free of cost, in public
interest. Since the issue of Weekly was available in the market a week earlier to
the published date of the issue i.e. 7.3.2003, the last date for submitting
application was mentioned as within four days from the date of advertisement.
He further stated that the complainant did not mention as to what financial loss
was suffered by them. In response to the query of the Committee as to why the
matter was published as advertisement and not as news if it was meant only for
information, he was unable to give any satisfactory reply.
                                        81
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        The Inquiry Committee considered the material on record. On perusal
of the matter in question, it noted that the impugned material carried no indication
that it was carried as a news for information of the readers. In fact, the change
in time limit tended to mislead the prospective applicants and thereby caused
them to complaint against the Nigam. The publication of this advertisement
free of cost also created a false impression among the public that the State
Government was releasing advertisements to the Weekly and thus helped to
give it a standing which it did not enjoy. The publication was absolutely unethical
and irresponsible, the Inquiry Committee held. The Inquiry Committee, therefore,
recommended to the Council to warn the respondent Editor, Rozgar Sangrah,
Hindi Weekly, published from Agra over the publication of the advertisement
in question and to direct him to refrain in future from publishing unlawful and
misleading information in any form.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

11)    Shri T.T. Adhikari                           The Editor
       Dwarka                          Versus       Hindustan Times
       New Delhi                                    New Delhi
Complaint
       This complaint, dated 7.10.2004 has been filed by Shri T.T. Adhikari,
Dwarka, New Delhi against The Hindustan Times, New Delhi for allegedly
misleading the public by carrying incorrect dateline and mixing pages of various
editions when circulated outside Delhi.
       The complainant submitted that the first page of The Hindustan Times
available at Srinagar on 1.10.2004 was datelined New Delhi, Late City’ and
from the next page onwards upto the last page it was marked as ‘HT,
Chandigarh’. He has alleged that the respondent has mislead the public by
circulating their Chandigarh edition as New Delhi Late City edition by just
changing the first page of the newspaper.
      Comments of the respondent The Hindustan Times were invited on
14.2.2005.
Comments
        The General Manager & Company Secretary, The Hindustan Times in
his comments dated 28.3.2005 submitted that the world of newspaper journalism;
right from reporting to printing has undergone a major change due to advent of

                                        82
computers and internet. At present, it is possible to transmit newspaper pages
across cities in a matter of seconds and the same pages can be printed and
distributed in two or more cities simultaneously. This is quite different from the
earlier practice when newspapers printed at New Delhi were physically
transported to other cities and distributed in the evening or even the next day.
The respondent further stated that with a view to provide timely and latest news
to their readers in the Northern region of the country, the respondent opened a
printing center of its New Delhi edition at Chandigarh on 19.4.2000 and the
prominent difference in the paper printed from Chandigarh and distributed from
there to Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh
is that they carry local and regional news in the inside pages in addition to
national and international news. The respondent further submitted that The
Hindustan Times does not have separate Chandigarh edition but only a printing
center and the entire compilation and preparation of the newspaper takes place
at New Delhi though it is printed at Chandigarh so that it reaches its readers
quickly otherwise it would reach the readers by evening or even the next day.
Therefore the respondent submitted that the newspaper use ‘ND’ on the masthead
of the newspaper as Chandigarh printing center is a part of New Delhi edition
and hence The HT Chandigarh paper distributed at Chandigarh is the New
Delhi Edition.
      A copy of the comments of the respondent was forwarded to the
complainant on 6.5.2005 for information.
First Hearing
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 6.1.2006. The complainant was not present. Shri Gaurav Aggarwal
represented the respondent, The Hindustan Times. However, a letter dated
22.12.2005 was received from the complainant stating, inter alia, that he is a
reader of The Hindustan Times and only wanted that the Council should stop
such practices of The Hindustan Times if they were found illegal and improper.
He stated that the matter may be decided on the basis of the material on record.
       When the matter was called out, the representative of the respondent
requested for a pass over which was granted. The matter thereafter was adjourned
to hear the counsel at length on the issue that affected readers interest.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
        The matter was again taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on
21-22.8.2006 at New Delhi. Shri Gaurav Aggarwal and Ms. Prerna Mehta,
counsel entered appearance for The Hindustan Times. The complainant in his
letter dated 7.8.2006 requested the Council to decide the matter on the basis of
material provided by him.

                                        83
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
        The counsel for the respondent submitted that The Hindustan Times has
only printing presses in Patna, Lucknow and Chandigarh and that the first
main page of all the editions is prepared at Delhi. The inner pages can be edited
by the local editors to replace Delhi news with the news of local interest. Earlier
the practice was to print the whole newspaper at Delhi and transport it to outside
Delhi. This was however, not only did transportation take time but news of
local interest could not be made available to their readers. In this, their effort
was to give news which would be of interest and relevance to the local readers.
He averred that they had no intention to mislead any reader and sought guidance
of the Council in the matter. He pleaded that he tried to obtain the norms/
guidelines on the subject but could not get any such norms.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        The Inquiry Committee discussed the matter. It agreed with the
complainant that the dateline New Delhi on the masthead of the newspaper
called an edition other than New Delhi has a tendency to mislead the readers.
The Committee felt that if the technology made it possible for the local editor to
edit the inner pages of the paper, using the same technology, the datelines on
the masthead could also be corrected to indicate the area specific edition. The
Inquiry Committee directed The Hindustan Times to take corrective steps to
clear the confusion amongst their readers. It recommended to the Council to
dispose of the matter with above advise.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

12)    Shri C. Satish                                  The Editor
       Hyderabad                      Versus           The Hindu
       Andhra Pradesh                                  Hyderabad
Complaint
       This complaint dated 21.7.2004 has been filed by Shri C. Satish against
“The Hindu”, Hyderabad edition alleging publication of biased news articles
captioned “When farmers die” and “Chandrababu: image and reality” authored
by Shri P. Sainath in its respective issues dated 22.6.2004 and 5.7.2004 and
non-publication of his dissenting views on the aforesaid articles. According to
the complainant, the impugned articles reveal the respondent newspaper’s ex-
cessive bias in favour of Marxist oriented rhetoric. He averred that the media
like Universities is overwhelmingly infested with Marxists who masquerade as
                                        84
intellectuals, writers, and human rights activities. They make frequent outbursts
against “communal BJP”, Chandrababu etc. but not against corruption and
several decades of Congress and Communists ruining economy. The complain-
ant submitted that in the name of socialism, Government companies and of-
fices were overstaffed and were made to sell goods/services at a loss causing
financial bankruptcy. He submitted that before shedding tears on panchayats,
one should not forget that they have become very corrupt, feudal and non-
performing long back. The complainant further submitted that for the present
problems in agriculture and rural section one should hear the reasons and solu-
tions from experts like Swaminathan and not a biased Sainath or the Congress
and Communist politicians.
         The complainant vide his further communication dated 19.2.2005 while
reiterating that the respondent is prejudiced and partial in publishing the news
article, forwarded a clipping of the news article titled “Dealing with Naxalism”
published in The Hindu issue dated 17.2.2005. He alleged that the respondent
disallowed dissenting views of the readers. The complainant further
alleged that the respondent denied his right of reply by refusing to publish his
rejoinder/letter to editor. He requested the Council to take necessary action in
the matter.
       Initially comments of the respondent Editor, The Hindu were invited on
20.12.2004 but when no reply was received a show-cause notices was issued
to the respondent, “The Hindu”, on 17.6.2005.
Written Statement
        In his written statement dated 27.6.2005, the respondent editor, The Hindu
while denying the allegedly frivolous and mischievous allegations submitted
that their newspaper is known for its impartial and unbiased views. He further
submitted that ‘The Hindu’ has always been fair in publishing letters received
condemning criticizing and/or praising reviews and article published by it though
it is absolute discretion of the editor. The respondent reiterated that “The Hindu’
has a history of publishing unbiased news and views. He also clarified that the
non-publication of letter of the complainant was due to space constraints contrary
to alleged reason put forth by the complainant as it would be next to impossible
to publish all letters received from readers. Further, the complainant had made
sweeping allegations and uncalled for remarks against them which is unbecoming
of a reader of ‘The Hindu’. The respondent concluded that the complaint is
devoid of merits and has no basis whatsoever and ought to be disposed of
outright.
      A copy of the written statement of the respondent was forwarded to the
complainant on 6.7.2005 for information.

                                        85
Counter Comments
        In his counter comments dated 30.7.2005, the complainant submitted
that the statement of the respondent newspaper contains unwarranted use of
adjectives like ‘frivolous’ and ‘mischievous’. He further submitted that the
statement of the respondent that he made two complaints is false. The
complainant stated that just by repeating over and over that the newspaper is
unbiased and impartial, the respondent cannot hide the fact that they had become
biased.
       A copy of the counter comments of the complainant was forwarded to
the respondent on 12.8.2005 for information.
Appearance before the Committee
       The matter came up for hearing before the Inquiry Committee on
21.9.2006 at Hyderabad. The complainant appeared in person. Shri N. Ram,
Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu, Chennai in a letter dated 11.9.2006 stated that the
complainant had not given sufficient evidence that the newspaper offended
against the provisions of the Press Council Act and did not conform to the
procedure of inquiry satisfying the condition as to how the publication or non-
publication of material was objectionable.
Submissions before the Committee
        The complainant in his oral submissions before the Inquiry Committee
reiterated his complaint and added that the respondent newspaper instead of
replying to his letter described it as frivolous. He also referred to the observations
of Ombudsman of The Hindu on the issue of balanced presentation of views.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
         The Inquiry Committee, on consideration of records and submissions
made before it, opined that the freedom of the press is an integral part of freedom
of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution
of India. The editor or management of a newspaper also enjoys the right to lay
down and pursue policy of a paper or subscribe to a political thought. Yet in
doing so it has to ensure that the facts presented to the readers are true and
correct. In writing an article also an author enjoys the right to present his own
viewpoint. That it is the essence of free press in a democracy and for that very
reason that it is essential to ensure the presence of divergent media subscribing
to varying political thought. In the instant case if the author subscribed to a
particular thought that he presented in his article, the paper could not be faulted
for it. Insofar as publication of the complainant’s letter is concerned, The Hindu
has clarified that their non-publication was due to scarcity of space. There is
nothing on record to lead the Committee to believe any malafide behind it

                                          86
though it would have been advisable for the editor to have selected the letter
for publication even after being apprised of its own reader’s strong views on
the issue instead of dismissing them as frivolous.
       The Inquiry Committee recommended to the Council to close the matter
with these observations.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

13)   Shri Kulamarva Balakrishna                   The Editor
      Padubidri                  Versus            Prajavani, Kannada Daily
      Karnataka                                    Mangalore, Karnataka
Complaint
       This complaint dated 4.11.2004 has been filed by Shri Kulamarva
Balakrishna of Padubidri (Karnataka) against “Prajavani”, Kannada Daily
Bangalore edition against publication of an article and opinion piece by Mr
Nagesh Hegde with a separate comment in “Prajavani” under the caption “For
Treatment of Cancer Cow’s urine”-Essence of deathlessness?” (English
Translation) in its issue dated 21.10.2004 concerning propagation of cow urine
therapy as a possible cure for cancer terming it as an unscientific, misleading
publication hurting public interest. The English translation of the news item
reads as follows:-
                 “This is a rare report. For a patient in deathbed, as the
        last resort cow’s urine was given to drink. The result was the
        patient completely recovered a doctor from Kasaragod reported.
        This was not a miracle. From the time of Sushruta this treatment
        was known, says the doctor. But this is entirely scientific has
        not been proved. Claiming this as the only remedy and excluding
        normal medication, resorting to Urine therapy could be
        dangerous.”
               For details the address of the ENT doctor was published
        along with photograph.
       According to the complainant the publication of the impugned article
and the opinion piece opposing the premise at another space were misleading
and harmful to the public interest as the both pieces are unlikely to be read by
the same readers, thus promote unfounded superstitions. Besides, there was no
journalistic justification for the publication of “cow urine cure” article. The
                                        87
complainant submitted that the publication of the alleged ENT Specialist, Dr.
Satyashankar’s photo, address with his telephone number was intended to
enhance the credibility of the report and was entirely misleading and against
professional ethics enjoined on an Indian Medical Association member. Terming
it as the worst form of “accommodative and abetment” journalism, the
complainant contended that it is professionally impermissible to a medical doctor
to be party of such conduct. It is unlawful for any one including a monastic
swami, unregistered as a medical practitioner of any kind to dispense cure of
any kind. He submitted that a rejoinder dated 23/10/2004 was sent to the
respondent but no reply was received despite a reminder dated 29.10.2004.
       Show cause notice dated 8.6.2005 was issued to the respondent editor
‘Prajavani’, Mangalore.
Written Statement
        In response, the Assistant Editor, Prajavani, in his written statement dated
19.7.2005 while stating that they did publish the impugned article regarding
cow urine as a possible cancer therapy but it was neither touted as a miracle
therapy nor a cancer cure. Rather a sufficient warning was prominently carried
in the box right under the headline. Further the doctor who recommended the
said therapy himself suggested it be used as a last resort when there is no other
way to save the patient was quoted in the impugned feature. Further pre-
publication verification regarding urine therapy was resorted to by way of relying
on the clinic proceeding reported in a profession medical journal “Journal of
Autorhinoloringalogy and Head & Neck surgery”. Further with a view to
forewarn the readers another article by their staff columnist was carried in the
editorial page. Since necessary precaution had been taken there was no violation
of journalistic ethics. It was published with a bonafide intention of highlighting
the newer possibility of merging the ancient wisdom with emerging modern
medicines.
      A copy of the written statement of the respondent was forwarded to the
complainant on 26.7.2005 for information/counter comments.
Counter Comments
        In his counter comments dated 3.9.2005 the complainant submitted that
the media has led to deterioration in the law and order situation, social values
and promoted a general sense of indiscipline and chaotic social conditions
leading social disharmony. He submitted that the editorial staff of the ‘Prajavani’
did not convince themselves of the authenticity of the article independent of
the claim of the doctor.
       A copy of the counter comments of the complainant was forwarded to
the respondent on 16.9.2005 for information.
                                        88
Appearance before the Committee
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 22.9.2006
at Hyderabad. Ms. R. Akhileshwari, Special Correspondent appeared for the
‘Prajavani Daily’. The complainant however, in an e-mail dated 12.9.2006 while
using derogatory comments against the working of the Council in taking up
this matter after considerable period, intimated that he wish to withdraw the
complaint.
Recommendations of the Committee
       The Inquiry Committee in view of the complainant’s e-mail informing
withdrawal of the complaint, decided to recommend to the Council to allow its
withdrawal.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.


Press and Defamation
14)   Shri Suresh Murlidhar Melwani    The Editor
      Ulhasnagar                Versus Ulhas Champion, Hindi Weekly
      Maharashtra                      Ulhasnagar, Maharashtra
Complaint
       Shri Suresh Murlidhar Melwani, Ulhasnagar,( Maharashtra) through his
advocate forwarded to the Council a copy of his legal notice dated 23.4.2003
issued to the Editor, Ulhas Champion, Hindi Weekly Ulhasnagar (Maharashtra)
for publication of allegedly false news articles captioned “Chandra Cloth Centre”
and “Rahul Collection’s owner had grabbed lakhs of rupees of the business” in
the issue dated 27.3.2003
       In the impugned news item the complainant had been described as a
famous cheater allegedly grabbing a number of peoples’ money amounting to
lakhs of rupees. It was alleged in the impugned news item that the complainant
had grabbed lakhs of rupees from the different business people and taken
commission of Rs.500/- even from a Painter and that he earned lakhs of rupees
by not making payment of registration fees. It was alleged that the complainant
had misappropriated the funds of the Panchayat.
        Denying the allegations, the complainant submitted that the respondent
earlier also had published such malicious news reports as follows: -
                                       89
 S.No.                      Captions                            Dated
 1       Suresh Melwani steals stamp duty worth         February 27-March 5,
         rupees 25 lakhs                                2003
 2       Whether Suresh Melwani embezelled              March 13-19,2003
         stamp duty worth Rs. 25 lakhs –
         Whether Suresh Melwani will answer?
 3       Why Suresh Melwani was removed from             March 20-26, 2003
         the post of Secretary?
 4       Suresh Melwani misused his post.               March 20-26,2003
 5.      Chandra Cloth Centre & Rahul Collections       March 27-April 2, 2003
         owner Suresh Murlidhar Melwani had
         grabbed lakhs of rupees of the business
         community. Suresh Melwani misused his
         post.
 6.      Suresh Melwani embezzled Rs.6 lakhs.            April 10-23, 2003
        The complainant submitted that the respondent had been deliberately
publishing the same article against him by using different words. The respondent
editor was misusing the newspaper by publishing false news to extort money
from the innocent people. The complainant alleged that the respondent had
been publishing the defamatory news articles against him for personal benefit
in order to extort money. The complainant’s notice to the respondent for
withdrawing the allegations and the false statements evoked no response.
No Written Statement
     A show-cause notice was issued to the respondent editor, Ulhas
Champion on 7.1.2004. Editor failed to file written Statement.
Matter Adjourned
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at Pune
on 7.2.2006. There was no appearance on behalf of the complainant while Shri
M.K. Sharma represented the respondent newspaper. The respondent editor
had expressed his inability to appear before the Committee due to his illness.
        The representative of the respondent newspaper expressed his inability
to contest the case on its merits and requested for adjournment. The Inquiry
Committee acceding to the request, adjourned the matter to be listed before it at
one of its future meetings with direction to file the reply to the Show cause
notice. A copy of the complaint was also handed over to the representative of
the respondent with directions to file the written statement immediately. But no
written statement has been filed despite reminder dated 29.5.2006

                                       90
Matter Relisted
       The matter was again listed for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 13.7.2006. Shri Vinod Kumar Gaur respondent editor was present
before the Committee while the complainant was not represented.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
        The respondent editor in his written submissions before the Committee
stated that he had reported that the complainant made the purchase deal of a
shop only on Rs.20/- stamp paper. All the news items were based on facts. Yet
if the complainant produced evidence to show that these facts were incorrect,
he was ready to publish the contradiction.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        On perusal of the record the Inquiry Committee noted that at the last
meeting of the Inquiry Committee on 7.2.2006 at Pune, the complainant was
not present before the Committee. The complainant even now neither requested
for adjournment nor he was represented before the Inquiry Committee despite
received the notice of hearing. Under the circumstances the Committee had no
reason not to proceed on the premise that the complainant was not interested to
pursue the matter. The Committee, thus, recommended to the Council to dismiss
the complaint for non-prosecution.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

15)   Shri Nanikram Sidhwani        The Editor
      Ulhasnagar             Versus “Ulhas Champion” Hindi Weekly
      Maharashtra                   Ulhasnagar, Maharashtra
Complaint
       This complaint dated 12.2.2004 has been filed by Shri Nanikram
Sidhwani, Ulhasnagar, Maharashtra against “Ulhas Champion”, Hindi weekly,
Ulhasnagar for publication of an allegedly false and defamatory news item
under the caption “Nanik Sidhwani’s three illegal shops will be demolished”
(English translation) in its issue dated 22.1.2004.
        It is alleged in the news item that Nanik Sidhwani had constructed three
illegal shops which were causing problem of passage for the general public.
Thus Shri Tony Lalwani of Ulhasnagar Journalist Union had demanded
demolition of these shops but till date these shops were not demolished. It has

                                       91
also been reported in the news item that Tony Lalwani had told “Ulhas
Champion” that if these three illegal shops are not demolished by 30.1.2004,
he will file a Writ Petition against Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation in High
Court.
       The complainant while denying the allegations has submitted that the
impugned news item is highly objectionable and published with the sole motive
to blackmail him, as the respondent editor had demanded a gratification of
Rs. 6000/- per month from him and on his refusal to pay the same, the editor
spoiled his name by publishing the impugned news item. The complainant has
submitted that his shops are totally legal. The complainant has submitted that if
the shops were illegal then UMC would have demolished them long back. The
complainant has submitted after the impugned publication, since he was the
President of Shopkeepers Association, Gajanand Market, Ulhasnagar, each and
every shopkeeper was asking about the news item causing embarrassment to
him.
Written Statement
      A show cause notice was issued to the respondent editor, Ulhas Champion
on 02.07.2004.
      The respondent editor in his written statement dated 29.07.2004 while
denying the allegations levelled by the complainant has submitted that the
complaint is false, frivolous and not maintainable in law. The respondent has
submitted that the complainant has filed the complaint as a weapon to extort
money other than for any genuine relief. The respondent has submitted that the
complaint is filed to harass the journalists and create fear and terror in the
minds of the professional journalists. The respondent has requested to dismiss
the complaint.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
16.8.2004 for information.
Matter Adjourned
         When the matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee
at Pune on 7.2.2006, there was no appearance on behalf of the complainant
while Shri M.K. Sharma represented the respondent newspaper. The respondent
editor had expressed his inability to appear before the Committee due to his
illness.
       The representative of the respondent newspaper expressed his inability
to contest the case on its merits and requested for adjournment. The Inquiry
Committee acceding to the request, adjourned the matter to be listed before it at
one of its future meetings.

                                       92
Matter Relisted
       The matter was again listed for hearing by Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 13.7.2006. Shri Vinod Kumar Gaur respondent editor was present
before the Committee while the complainant was not represented.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
        The respondent editor in his written submissions before the Committee
stated that it had been widely reported in the media that there were many illegal
constructions going on in Ulhasnagar. If the complainant could produce papers
to show that his shops were legal he would publish the contradiction.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       On perusal of the record, the Inquiry Committee noted that at the last
meeting of the Inquiry Committee on 7.2.2006 at Pune, the complainant was
not present before the Committee. The complainant even now neither requested
for adjournment nor he was represented before the Inquiry Committee despite
receiving the notice of hearing. Under the circumstances, the Committee had
no reason to believe that the complainant was not interested to pursue the matter.
The Committee thus recommended to the Council to dismiss the complaint for
non-prosecution.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

16)    The Authorised Signatory                          The Editor
       Vivekanand Education Society           Versus     ‘‘The Times of India”
       Mumbai                                            Mumbai
Complaint
       This complaint dated 31.10.2003 has been filed by the Vivekanand
Education Society, Mumbai objecting to two news items captioned “Student
molested by school peon, others” and “NGOS come to the aid of assaulted
girl” published in The Times of India issue dated 4.9.2003 and 6.9.2003
respectively.
       It was reported in the impugned news item that :
       “an eight year old student of Chembur’s Swami Vivekanand School,
Chembur, was sexually abused several times between June and August by the
school peon and other men from a nearby slum. The incident occurred during
school hours in a hut outside the campus, the victim’s parents said in a police

                                        93
complaint.” On one occasion, the girl has been marked absent for 10 consecutive
days even after her father personally dropped her to school …..and the girl had
identified the peon as one Gulab.”
        The complainant has submitted that the respondent newspaper neither
checked the facts of the case, nor did they contact the school authorities to
cross-check the veracity of the story. The complainant has submitted that the
school authorities immediately contacted the concerned Police Station to set
the record straight and they simultaneously wrote to the newspaper to publish
the correction but the respondent ignored the same. The complainant has
submitted that their legal counsel as well as the parent of the victim girl wrote a
letter on 10.9.2003 to the respondent, The Times of India but to no avail. The
complainant has submitted that the respondent failed to comply with the code
of conduct and professional ethics, therefore the Secretary of the Society
addressed a letter on 20.9.2003. The complainant has submitted that the
respondent published a clarification in Chembur Ghatkopar plus supplement
on 8.10.2003, which was mischievous. The statements attributed in the
clarification to the office bearers of the Vivekanand Education Society were in
fact never made by them. The complainant has objected that the original news
was published on page 3 of the Bombay edition and the clarification had been
carried only in the Chembur Ghatkopar plus supplement. The respondent thus
failed to maintain standard of journalistic ethics and committed professional
misconduct. The complainant requested the Council to intervene in the matter
and conduct hearing.
No Written Statement
       A show cause notice was issued to the respondent editor, The Times of
India on 8.7.2004. The respondent did not file written statement.
Hearing Adjourned
        When the matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
Pune on 7.2.2006 S/Shri J.P. Wadhwani and Laxman P. Kanal advocate appeared
for the complainant while there was no appearance on behalf of the respondent,
The Times of India.Reiterating the averments made in the complaint, the
representative of the complainant added that the incident was not in their
knowledge and only after the impugned publication, their attention was drawn
to the incident in which their school was not involved. The mother of the girl
sent a letter to The Times of India clarifying the facts which was not carried by
the newspaper. The legal notice was also ignored by it. The counsel for the
respondent contended that in the FIR filed by the parents of the girl it was
stated that the incident of sexual harassment took place outside the school but
the news reports created an impression as if the school management was guilty
and the incident took place in the school. None of the employees of the school
                                        94
was involved. On coming to know about the involvement of the bus driver, the
bus contractor was changed on the earlier occasion.
        The Inquiry Committee felt that it needed more facts in the matter before
taking any view. The Committee opined that the allegations made in the news
report were of serious nature and were required to be controverted by the
complainant with relevant documents including the FIR and the English
translation of the mother’s statement. The Inquiry Committee while adjourning
the matter to be placed before it at one of its future meetings directed the
complainant to file all documents in support to show that the allegations in the
news report were wrong and to explain the action taken on the earlier complaint
of the parents of the girl.
        The counsel for the complainant, vide his letter dated 20.03.2006, has
complied with the direction of the Inquiry Committee and filed the copies of
FIR No.66 dated 19.02.2003, FIR No. 261 dated 18.08.2003. The school
authorities had made inquiries from the bus contractor and pursuant to the said
inquiries has forwarded vide letter dated 24.02.2003 by Sugam Travels informing
the complainant that the driver was dismissed from the service.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was again taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 13.7.2006. There was no appearance before it. The complainant
had, however, vide his letter dated 26.6.2006, requested for consideration of
the matter on the basis of material on record.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        On perusal of the record, the Inquiry Committee at the outset expressed
its displeasure over the above conduct of the respondent paper. On merits of
the case, it noted that the mother of the girl had filed an FIR on 19.2.2003
regarding the sexual abuse of the child with the police and on that basis the
driver of the bus was arrested for interrogation. It was also an admitted fact that
the school authorities also made inquiries and a letter was sent to the transporter
whose bus was deployed by the school for the school children. The transporter
dismissed the driver from the services. In another statement given by the parents
of the girl, there is a mention of a bank chowkidar as well as unknown rickshaw
puller. The school authorities also failed to inform the parents of the girl when
she was continuously marked absent for 10 days. The responsibility of the
school towards a child being sent by parents having full faith in the school
cannot be denied. The respondent had also published the rejoinder sent by the
girl’s parents, though it would have been advisable to have published it in the
main paper instead of the supplement. The paper erred on this count.
       It recommended to close the case accordingly.
                                        95
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

17)    Shri J.T. Wadhwani                      1) The Editor
       President                Versus            Metro-Chembur-Mid-Day
       The Vivekanand Education Society           Mumbai
       Mumbai, Maharashtra                     2) The Editor
                                                  Lok Satta
                                                  Mumbai
Complaint
       The Vivekanand Education Society, Mumbai filed these complaints
against Metro Chembur-MID-DAY Mumbai and Lok Satta, Mumbai,
Maharashtra for publishing allegedly untrue, mischievous and defamatory news
reports as follows:-

 S.No                Caption                        Newspaper and issue
 1.      “Teacher hits girls with duster”           Metro Chembur-Mid Day
                                                    September 3-9, 2003
 2.      “Swami Vivekanand parents to form          Metro Chembur-Mid-Day
         panel”                                     September 10-16, 2003
 3.      “Appointing ayahs not our job: Swami Metro Chembur-Mid-Day
         Vivekanand Management”               September 17-23, 2003
 4.      “Suspense of complaint of Sexual           Lok Satta
         Assault in school”                         September 12, 2003
        The complainant submitted that the news items regarding a case of alleged
molestation of a minor girl published by the respondent-editors were baseless,
false, vexatious and misleading. The complainant alleged that the respondent
newspapers neither checked the facts nor contacted the school authorities to
cross check the veracity of the story. According to the complainant the
newspapers were not fair in publishing the impugned news reports. Giving the
factual position about the incident of hitting a girl, the complainant submitted
that the said girl bunked the classes along with few other girls and did not join
the class despite sending them two messages. This admitted act of indiscipline
deserved punishment and the connected teacher gave the punishment of a light
tap with the duster. This was a matter of internal discipline and necessary action
as per inquiry was started on 27th August 2003. The complainant alleged that

                                        96
the small trivial incident had been blown out of proportion and the respondent
reporter with ulterior motive had created the sensational story.
       Regarding the news article about sexual abuse of a girl connected with
the story, the complainant clarified that no school peon was involved in the
matter nor anything happened in the school premises.
        The complainant submitted that the school authorities wrote to the
respondent editors vide their letter dated 24.9.2003 to publish the correction
but failed to receive any reply despite issuance of reminders. The complainant
requested the Council to intervene in the matter and to take necessary action
against the respondent editors.
     Show-cause notices were issued to the respondent-editors, Metro
Chembur-Mid Day, Mumbai and Lok Satta, Mumbai on 13.1.2004.
Written Statement of Lok Satta
       The respondent-editor, Lok Satta in his written statement dated 2.6.2004
submitted that the complaint was frivolous and baseless and filed only as an
afterthought to intimidate the press and suppress coverage of a crime. The
respondent editor submitted that the news report was carried in good faith, in
public interest, believing it to be true and correct, based on information received
from reliable sources within the school management after further verification
with police records and without any malice towards anybody. According to the
respondent, the complaint was without any cause and liable to be dismissed.
      A copy of the written statement received from the editor, Lok Satta was
forwarded to the complainant on 9.7.2004 for information.
       Metro Chembur-Mid Day did not file written statement.
Hearing Adjourned
       When the matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
Pune on 7.2.2006 S/Shri J.P. Wadhwani and Laxman P. Kanal advocate appeared
for the complainant, Shri L.M. Shahil, advocate was present for the respondent
newspaper Metro Chembur-Mid Day while Lok Satta remained unrepresented.
        The counsel for the respondent, Mid Day requested for adjournment on
the ground that he did not have a copy of the complaint and that he was not
aware of the facts of the case. The representative of the complainant stated that
they sent the clarification, which was not published by the respondent
newspapers. He contended that in the FIR filed by the parents of the girl it was
stated that the incident of sexual harassment took place outside the school but
the news reports created an impression as if the school management was guilty
and the incident took place in the school. None of the employees of the school

                                        97
was involved. On coming to know about the involvement of the bus driver, the
bus contractor was changed on the earlier occasion.
        The Inquiry Committee felt that it needed more facts in the matter before
taking a view. The Committee opined that the allegations made in the news
report were of serious nature and were required to be controverted by the
complainant with relevant documents including the F.I.R. and the English
translation of the statement of the girl’s mother. The Inquiry Committee while
adjourning the matter to be placed before it at one of its future meetings directed
the complainant to file all documents in support to show that the allegations in
the news report were wrong and to explain the action taken on the earlier
complaint of the parents of the girl. A copy of the complaint was handed over
to the advocate of the respondent newspaper, Mid Day.
       The counsel for complainant vide his letter dated 20.03.2006 complied
with the directions of the Inquiry Committee and filed the copies of FIR No.66
dated 19.02.2003, FIR No. 261 dated 18.08.2003. The school authorities had
made inquiries from the bus contractor and pursuant to the said inquiries
forwarded a letter dated 24.02.2003 by Sugam Travels informing the
complainant that the driver was dismissed from the services.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
        The matters were again listed for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 13.7.2006. Shri N.B. Joshi, advocate was present on behalf of
the respondent newspaper, Lok Satta while the other respondent, Metro Chembur-
Mid Day remained unrepresented. The complainant vide his letter dated
26.6.2006 had expressed his inability to appear before the Committee due to
financial constraints. He had, however, requested that the matter may be decided
on the basis of material on record.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       Learned counsel for Lok Satta submitted that the complainant had
impugned the publication on three counts, namely, the newspaper did not check
the facts; it did not contact the school’s authorities to cross check the veracity
of the facts and non-publication of their clarification. Referring to the news
item he pointed out that the news report itself contained the statement of Mrs.
Vaswani, Executive Secretary of the School. Whether the incident took place
or not, it was for the police to find out with whom the parents had lodged an
FIR. It was also a fact that doctors of J.J. Hospital who treated the girl had
confirmed the incident. He pleaded that the report was extremely balanced and
was based on facts. The mother of the victim had named the school peon. He
further stated that the school authorities never sent any clarification except a
legal notice.

                                        98
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
         The Inquiry Committee carefully considered the material on record and
the oral arguments of the learned counsel for Lok Satta. The Committee observed
that it was an admitted fact that the parents of the girl had lodged an FIR narrating
the incident. Thus, the Committee held that the news report was not without
basis. Secondly, the version of the Executive Secretary was also published in
the news report itself. The Inquiry Committee was satisfied that Loksatta had
published the report keeping in mind the ethics of journalistic conduct. It,
therefore, decided to recommend to the Council to dismiss the complaint being
without substance. The Committee felt that the complaint against Mid-Day also
had to be treated similarly. It however, expressed its displeasure over the callous
attitude of the Mid-Day in not responding to the show cause notice of the Council
dated 13.1.2004 and remaining absent before the Committee after seeking
adjournment at the last hearing. It recommended to the Council to advise the
paper to ensure due representation in future.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

18)    Shri Madhusudan                           The Editor
       Media Co-ordinator/   Versus              Ghati Ka Bharat, Hindi Weekly
       Protocol In-Charge                        Dehradun
       Uttaranchal Power Corporation
       Dehradun, Uttaranchal
Complaint
       This complaint dated 3.5.2005 has been filed by Shri Madhusudan, Media
Co-ordinator/Protocol In-Charge, Uttaranchal Power Corporation, Dehradun,
Uttaranchal against Ghati Ka Bharat, a Hindi weekly published from Dehradun
for publication of an allegedly false and misleading news item captioned “Big
Scandal of Crores of Rupees over the distribution of advertisements by
Madhusudan, employee of Power Corporation” in its issue dated 25.3.2005.
       The complainant has submitted that he has no right to release
advertisements and the question of receiving commission/bribe does not arise.
The complainant has submitted that he had issued a registered legal notice
dated 20.4.2004 to the respondent editor asking him to provide proofs, on the
basis of which the false and misleading news item was published but nothing
had been heard from the respondent. The complainant has submitted that instead

                                         99
of giving proofs, the respondent editor addressed a letter dated 26.4.2005 to
the Chairman & Managing Director, Uttaranchal Power Corporation requesting
him to provide detailed information about the complainant. This act of the
respondent editor proves that he had no knowledge about the complainant and
had published the news item in question without any proof in hand. The
complainant has submitted that after publication of the news item in question,
the respondent wrote a letter dated 1.4.2005 to his Department asking for
advertisement. The complainant has submitted that the respondent editor is
habitual of publishing sensational news items. The complainant has requested
the Council to take action in the matter.
Written Statement
        Show-cause notice was issued to the respondent editor on 20.5.2005.
           In his written statement dated 13.6.2005 the respondent Editor, “Ghati
Ka Bharat” has submitted that the news item in question was published in public
interest and the same was based on true facts. The respondent has submitted
that no defamation has been caused due to publication of said news item. The
respondent has submitted that the news was published to draw the attention of
the officers of Power Corporation, Information & Public Relations Department
and the Chief Minister to the manner of working of the complainant. The
respondent has submitted that a large number of journalists of Dehradun have
been harassed by the complainant. The journalists from time to time have passed
resolution against the complainant and sent them to the Government as well as
C.M.D., Power Corporation. The respondent has submitted that in response to
the complainant’s notice he had sent a reply but the same was received back
undelivered from the postal authority with the remarks “BÉEÉ{ÉEÉÒ àÉÉãÉÚàÉ BÉE®xÉä {É®
|ÉÉ{iÉBÉEiÉÉÇ BÉEÉ {ÉiÉÉ xÉcÉÓ SÉãÉÉ ÉÊãÉcÉVÉÉ ´ÉÉ{ÉºÉ |Éä­ÉBÉE BÉEÉä’’ The respondent editor has
submitted that he had to send reply at the address of Uttaranchal Power
Corporation. The respondent has submitted that the complainant has misused
his official position by distributing advertisements among his own favourite
journalists instead of to the newspapers recognized for advertisements. The
respondent has submitted that due to publication of news in Ghati Ka Bharat,
the Government became cautious in issuing advertisements involving huge
amount. The respondent has further submitted that being a recognized
newspaper for advertisements, he has a right to ask for advertisements. The
respondent has submitted that the compliant has been filed by the complainant
to save himself from the inquiry to be conducted by (L.I.B.) Local Intelligence
Bureau.
      A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant for
information on 23.6.2005.

                                              100
Complainant’s Counter Comments
       The complainant in his counter comments dated 19.7.2005, while
denying the allegations levelled by the respondent has reiterated what he had
submitted in his complaint. The complainant has submitted that on inquiry the
cashier of National Union of Journalists, Dehradun has denied having passed
any resolution dated 26.2.2005. The complainant has submitted that all the so-
called resolutions were passed after filing the complaint. The complainant has
submitted that the respondent in his written statement has referred to a letter
written by the political leader to C.M.D. regarding advertisements scam but the
name of the political leader has not been mentioned.
       A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent on
20.10.2005 for information.
Hearing Adjourned
       The matter was called out for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 18.11.2005. The complainant was present in person while Shri Krishan
Gopal represented the respondent newspaper.
        The respondent filed his written counter statement to the rejoinder of the
complainant along with a number of documents a copy of which was handed
over to the complainant. The complainant in his oral arguments reiterated the
averments made in the complaint and added that he was employed in the
Corporation on contract basis. He had no role in deciding who was to be released
advertisements and he only worked as a media co-ordinator. He added that the
respondent was habitual of publishing false and defamatory news report with
the sole aim of blackmailing others. The charges of amassing properties/vehicles
were baseless. He lived in a rented house. After the publication was forwarded
to higher authorities, an inquiry was held by the D.G.P. He requested that the
report of the DGP may be called for.
       The respondent editor contended that the impugned publication was
factually correct. The complainant was distributing advertisements according
to his wish and was taking 50% commission. They were not following any
advertisement policy. The news was in public interest to expose the corruption
going on in the department. He added that a case was pending before the Lok
Ayukata.
       As the respondent editor had filed the written statement with a number
of documents in support of his case, the Inquiry Committee decided to adjourn
the matter to afford an opportunity to the complainant to file his counter, if any.
Accordingly, the Committee directed the complainant to file his counter within
fifteen days from the date of hearing i.e. 18.11.2005 with a copy of the
respondent.
                                       101
Counters of the Parties
        The complainant vide his counter comments received in the Secretariat
of the Council on 23.12.2005 had denied all the allegations levelled by the
respondent vide his reply dated 18.11.2005 and requested the Council to take
strict action against the respondent editor and has demanded the cancellation
of his registration number.
       In response to complainant’s counter comments dated 23.12.2005 the
respondent vide his reply dated 10.3.2006 while reiterating his written statement
had denied all the allegations and informed the Council that the news item
published is authentic. The respondent had filed a list of newspapers to whom
the advertisements were distributed by the Department in last four years. The
respondent has requested the Council to dismiss the complaint.
       A copy of the letter dated 10.03.2006 filed by the respondent was
forwarded to the complainant vide office letter dated 28.03.2006 for information.
IInd Adjournment
        When the matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 4.5.2006 the complainant appeared in person while the
respondent editor by his letter dated 1.5.2006 requested for adjournment on
medical grounds. The request for adjournment was backed by the medical
certificate. The complainant filed some additional documents to substantiate
his complaint. The report of inquiry sought from the DGP, Uttaranchal had also
not been received. On the request of the respondent editor the Inquiry Committee
adjourned the matter.
Final Hearing
      The matter was again taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 13.7.2006. The complainant, Shri Madhusudan was present in
person while S/Shri Krishan Gopal and U. Goyal represented the respondent
newspaper, Ghati Ka Bharat.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       The respondent editor submitted that they have collected documentary
evidence which proved that the complainant was fully authorised to issue
Release Orders (Ros) for issuance of advertisements. He had issued
advertisements worth lakhs of rupees to one newspaper in a day. Many
newspapers who were not in the approved list of newspapers for release of
governments advertisements were given advertisements by the complainant.
At the time of publication of news there were bungling in the corporations.
Many persons complained against the complainant. He added that he had met
the Chairman and Managing Director who had assured action against the

                                      102
complainant but nothing happened. He further submitted that the complainant
was a very powerful and resourceful man. He could easily get the copy of any
document. He stated that a letter was written to the Chairman and Managing
Director (CMD) of the corporation for release of an advertisement for their
Samarika issue, the CMD marked the letter to Deputy General Manager and
Deputy General Manager to Media Co-ordinator. This was a proof that the
complainant was authorised to release advertisements and that he was very
powerful. The editor however agreed that Release Orders (Ros) are signed by
DGM. The editor summed up by saying that their only grievance was that the
advertisements should be issued to only those newspapers who were approved
by the Government to receive the advertisements.
        The complainant reiterated his complaint and pleaded that subsequent
to his filing complaint with the Press Council, the respondent editor approached
every forum with the complaint against him trying to bring pressure on him.
Reiterating to the averments made in the complaint, the complainant added
that the complaint made before Lokayukt, Uttaranchal by the respondent editor
was dismissed by the Lokayukt on 20.01.2006. Even recently on 19.5.2006
the respondent editor published defamatory news against him.
       The respondent editor countering the statement of the complainant
submitted that the Lokayukt had asked them to file an affidavit but he did not
have the copy of the document with him here.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        The Inquiry Committee carefully considered the material available on
record and the oral arguments put forth before it by the parties. The Committee
noted that in the impugned news report dated 25.3.2005, the editor had alleged
that Madhusudan who had become a very powerful man was involved in scam
of crores of rupees in release of advertisements. He was also alleged to take
50% commission from the journalist’s and the complainant’s visits to the Chief
Minister’s residence was also questioned. According to the respondent the
complainant was fully authorised to release advertisements. The complainant
had categorically stated that his job profile among other works included
preparation of Release Orders (Ros) after the approval of and under the
directions of his senior officers. The Release Orders were issued only after
signatures of DGM. Among the various documents filed before the Committee
by the respondent editor document No.7-8 detailed the jobs assigned to Shri
Madhusudan, the complainant. It was clearly indicated that one of the job
assigned to the complainant was preparation of Ros on order of CMD/JMD/
Director (HR). This clearly indicated that the complainant had only powers to
prepare the Ros and as admitted by the respondent also, the RO was released
only after the signature of the DGM. There was nothing on record to establish

                                      103
that the complainant enjoyed the authority stating in the news report. The Inquiry
Committee was, thus, of the considered opinion that the impugned news report
was published recklessly without verifying the facts and was per se defamatory
to the complainant. The respondent was persistently publishing news reports
against the complainant, without having in his possession any documents to
substantiate the charges. The Committee found the respondent guilty of violating
the norms of journalistic conduct regarding verification of facts and defamatory
writings. For violation of the above said norms of journalistic conduct the Inquiry
Committee decided to recommend to the Council to uphold the complaint and
censure the respondent newspaper, Ghati Ka Bharat, Hindi weekly published
from Dehradun and its editor. It further recommended that the copies of the
adjudication of the Council be sent to Registrar of Newspapers for India, DAVP,
I&PRD, Government of Uttaranchal and District Magistrate, Uttaranchal for
such action as deemed fit by them.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.
Note: Shri Keshav Dutt Chandola, member did not participate in the
      proceedings of the case as his newspaper had been cited as one of the
      beneficiaries of advertisements from the Uttaranchal Power Corporation.

19)    Shri Rajender Singh                             The Editor
       Secretary                         Versus        Punjab Kesari
       District Red Cross Society                      Ambala
       Rewari, Haryana                                 Haryana
Complaint
        This complaint dated 13.6.2005 has been filed by Shri Rajender Singh,
Secretary, District Red Cross Society, Rewari, Haryana against “Punjab Kesari”,
Ambala edition for publication of an allegedly false news item captioned “Fraud
in Fund Raised for Tsunami Victims” “Cheap bed sheet purchased and sent” in
its issue dated 17.4.2005.

                It is was reported in the news item that for Red Cross Society
        which is known world over for helping the poor, downtrodden and
        helpless people has become a way of earning money for the officials of
        Rewari district.
                 According to sources, a Committee was constituted by the
        District Administration to help the Tsunami victims. In this Committee,

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       District Red Cross Secretary, Mr. Rajender Singh, D.E.T.C. and S.D.M.
       were included as a members. With the help of the people, a sum of
       Rs.17,53,175/- were received to this Committee for the help of Tsunami
       victims. The Committee decided to send essential commodities after
       purchasing from the market with this amount. When some people came
       with dry ration i.e. rice, dal, sugar etc. to deposit with the society, then
       Secretary refused to take these items and asked the people to donate
       cash only.
               The members of said Committee reached Panipat and contacted
       the same Firm from where the Deputy Commissioner Panipat had already
       purchased the bed sheets and the members finalised to purchase 5000
       bed sheets @Rs.175/- per bed sheet. Sources say, after that Sh. Rajinder
       Singh, Secretary, Red Cross Society went alone to said Firm of Panipat
       and purchased 5000 bed sheets @Rs.40/- per bed sheet and got these
       loaded in a truck and sent it whereas this item was to be sent through
       other members and city Magistrate. Sources say that Secretary has
       earned a lot in this transaction. In the society which was formed during
       the regime of Bhajanlal Government, Rajinder Singh was promoted from
       Assistant Secretary to Secretary in the year 1989. The vigilance team
       found Rajinder Singh guilty in their inquiry conducted at Jind in
       purchasing of 250 tricycles. Recently, Secretary Rajinder Singh being
       in the grade of 8000/- has got higher grade of Rs.10000-325-13900
       which is given to a employee who has earned good reputation and
       achievements on completion of 15 years service. But, here, Municipal
       Council has taken over the Working Women’s Hostel being run by the
       Red Cross Society in Sati Colony; D.C. Office has taken over a canteen
       of the Red Cross Society in premises of D.C. office, Bal Bhawan has
       taken over the Astha Kunj, General Hospital/Health Department has
       taken over the blood bank, X-ray Films and medical examination for
       grant of driving license etc. On the whole all the projects under Red
       Cross Society have been closed. The question is how the higher grade
       was given to Secretary ? Sources say that Secretary got this grade with
       the connivance of then Deputy Commissioner, C.R. Rana. Secretary
       got money from the Society for his father’s treatment from A.I.M.S. New
       Delhi who was suffering from cancer three years ago.
        About one year ago, the son of Secretary was arrested for having wrong
challan of a Judge posted at Narnaul. The cost of 5000 bed sheets @ Rs.175/-
per bed sheets comes to Rs.8.75 lacs while Secretary Rajinder Singh says that
these 5000 bed sheets were purchased for Rs.3.35 lacs only. According to
reliable sources in actual these 5000 bed sheets were purchased for Rs.2 lac
@ Rs.40/- per bed sheet. Thus it is clear that Secretary has earned (embezzled)

                                       105
a huge amount amounting to Rs.6.75 lacs out of the fund collected for help of
victims of Tsunami. Truth may come out after conducting a high level inquiry.
To know much about it, we tried to contact the Secretary but he was not
available for his version. In this regard Deputy Commissioner Shri Mohinder
Kumar says that higher grade given to Secretary is as per rules and norms. He
refused to comment on the past losses and achievements of the society saying
that he has recently joined at Rewari. He further said that all unspent amount/
fund (after deducting the cost of bed sheets) collected for help of Tsunami
victims has been deposited with PM’s Relief Fund.

      The complainant has submitted that the news item is false and misleading
and published to defame him in the society.

       The complainant submitted that he sent detailed clarification to Punjab
Kesari but it was neither published nor replied. He requested the Council to
take necessary action against the respondent newspaper.

Written Statement

        A show cause notice was issued to the respondent editor on 19/12/2005.
In response the respondent-editor, Punjab Kesari submitted that the news item
published by the newspaper is factual and has been published in the ordinary
course of the publication of the newspaper and without any ill-will, malice or
malafide towards anybody. The respondent has submitted that the news item
has been published only as news sent by their district level News Reporter in
the interest of the general public and for no other reason. The respondent has
submitted that despite this without admitting the correctness of the complaint,
they have carried the necessary clarification in Punjab Kesari, Ambala issue
dated 31st December 2005. The respondent has requested the Council to dismiss
the complaint.

       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the respondent editor
on 2.3.2006 for his reply.

Counter Comments

        The complainant has filed his counter comments dated 29.5.2006 and
expressed his dissatisfaction with the publication of the rejoinder on 31.12.2005
and submitted that he is disappointed on reading the written statement of the
respondent who refused to admit that the impugned news item is false. The
complainant has stated that he issued a letter dated 27.4.2005 to the respondent
drawing their attention to the news item in question, which levelled false and
baseless allegations against him. The respondent not only declined to publish
the rejoinder but also did not even care to give its reply.

                                      106
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 14.7.2006. The complainant Shri Rajinder Singh was present in person.
Shri N.C. Soni, Advocate, represented the respondent newspaper.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       The counsel for the respondent in his oral arguments submitted that
according to the complainant, the headline of the news report was objectionable.
The news was published to convey that Tsunami victims were not treated badly
as the Committee had been set up to purchase bed sheets costing Rs.175/- per
bed sheet but actually the bed sheets @ Rs.67/- were purchased. This fact had
been admitted by the complainant himself. He added that there was no
concoction in the news. It might be that some of the facts had been exaggerated.
However, the clarification of the complainant was published, though the
newspaper stood by the report.
        The complainant stated that the Red Cross Society purchased 5000 bed
sheets of the same quality as the Panipat Administration had purchased. Apart
from the allegation of purchase of bed sheets and making money out of the
deal, many other false and misleading charges of personal nature were published
in the news report. He added that the Red Cross Society was helping the victims
directly as well as contributing to the government funds. After publication of
such misleading news, people would hesitate to come forward to donate to the
Red Cross Fund and ultimately the sufferers would be the victims. The
complainant added that a detailed clarification was and the same was published
in a way which repeated the allegation again. The savings were sent to the
Prime Minister Relief Fund.
        The counsel for the respondent argued that the complainant did not use
the funds properly. The savings at the cost of quality were not proper. He added
that earlier also in the purchase of tricycles, inquiry was held and the complainant
was warned. He further stated that the complainant held a public post and,
therefore, he should be open to criticism. He, however, stated that they were
not supporting the news or the reporter, but since the news report come to the
notice of the reporter who was not traceable, the counsel offered to publish the
clarification of the complainant in a proper manner.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       The Inquiry Committee considered the material available on record and
the oral arguments put forth before it. The Committee felt that the respondent
newspaper had published the impugned news report without taking the version
of the concerned at pre-publication stage, on the charge that the bed sheets
were purchased for Rs.40/- each. Further, the rejoinder did not in any manner
                                        107
identify the report to which it was related, thus negating its impact. The Inquiry
Committee expressed its deep displeasure over the manner the respondent
newspaper, Punjab Kesari had published the impugned news report. However,
as the counsel for the respondent had offered to publish the clarification of the
complainant in proper form, the Inquiry Committee directed the respondent
newspaper to publish the clarification of the complainant already available with
them within 15 day of the receipt of the adjudication of the Council with due
reference to the impugned report, and to forward a copy of the issue carrying
the same to the complainant and the Press Council for record. It recommended
to the Council to dispose of the complaint with the above directions of the
respondent newspaper.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

20)    Shri Vijay Kumar Khetrapal                     The Editor
       Secretary                          Versus      Hira Times
       Western U.P. Advertisers                       Meerut
       Association, Meerut                            Uttar Pradesh
       Uttar Pradesh
Complaint
       Shri Vijay Kumar Khetrapal, Secretary, Western U.P. Advertisers
Association, Meerut, U.P. has filed this complaint dated 20.3.2002 through his
advocate against Hira Times, Hindi daily, Meerut for publication of false, biased
and misleading news item captioned “Hoarding Theke Ke Sambandh Mei Bogus
Sansthan Ke Bogus Adhyaksh Ne Conference Boolayee” (Bogus President of
bogus organisation called a Press Conference in connection with hoarding
contracts) in the issue dated 17.12.2001.
                        In the news item it has been reported that “a bogus
                President of bogus organisation called a Press Conference in
                connection with hoarding contracts. It is interesting that Ajay
                Rastogi who organised the Press Conference posing himself to
                be the President of that organisation, is not even registered.
                When the journalists posed questions on this, the President along
                with other people started looking blank. Ajay Rastogi, being
                the bogus President of Western U.P. Advertisers Association
                organized this Press Conference at Maharaja Agarsen Bhawan
                situated at Purva Mahaveer Delhi Road. According to the
                sources, Western U.P. Advertisers Association is not registered.
                                       108
               On receiving complaints of irregularities against this
               organisation, its registration had been cancelled. Due to this
               cancellation the people, who were using this organisation for
               their self-interest, got irritated and made all efforts to get it
               registered so that they could fulfil their vested interests. When it
               was proved that Western U.P. Advertisers Association was a
               bogus organisation, its office-bearers applied before Divisional
               Commissioner for its registration but they could not succeed
               due to charges of irregularities in the organisation and fulfilling
               vested interests/personal gains against its office bearers and
               the registration was not granted by Divisional Commissioner.
               In spite of all this, Ajay Rastogi, bogus President of bogus
               organisation, organised a press conference to throw dust in the
               eyes of the journalists. The Press Conference called in
               connection with removal of hoardings was insignificant because
               Municipal Corporation removed the hoardings keeping in view
               the orders of the Supreme Court. According to the sources,
               despite the fact that the Western U.P. Advertisers Association
               was bogus organisation, its office-bearers are engaged in
               fulfilling their vested interests.”
      The complainant has submitted that he and the Association member are
engaged in the business of advertisement by fixing hoardings etc. within Meerut
for more than 20 years. Earlier the opposite party was also a member of this
Association and is doing the business of advertisement separately from their
Association along with the printing of newspaper “Hira Times”.
       According to the complainant the opposite party got a tender of whole
of Meerut Advertisement business from Nagar Nigam, Meerut which was
challenged in Hon’ble High Court at Allahabad by them and this tender was
quashed being illegal. The petitioner association called a press conference on
16.12.2001 in Meerut against the illegal removal of hoarding material of
association member in respect of which a press note was published in “Dainik
Jagran”, Meerut, “Rashtriya Sahara” and “Amar Ujala” in their respective issues
of 17.12.2001 edition. On 17.12.2001 the opposite party who is also in the
business of advertisement and got Monopoly Rights from Nagar Nigam, Meerut
for advertisement for three years within Meerut, published a news in his own
newspaper “Hira Times” against the President and association.
       The complainant has alleged that the respondent has used Hira Times
newspaper for their personal gains and against the public interest. The
complainant has informed that a legal notice had been served on the respondent
but there has been no response.

                                      109
Written Statement
        Show-cause notice was issued to the editor Hira Times on 30.05.2003.
The respondent editor in his written statement dated 16.6.2003 has submitted
that the complaint is based on wrong facts and has been filed with prejudice to
misuse the legal procedure. The respondent has submitted that the news item
published in Hira Times on 17.12.2001 is true and based on facts. The
respondent has submitted that the registration of the Western U.P. Advertisers
Association was cancelled by the Deputy Registrar vide his order dated
8.11.2000 on receiving complaints of irregularities against this organisation
and the appeal filed against the order of Deputy Registrar dated 8.11.2000
before the Divisional Commissioner, was dismissed. The respondent has
submitted that a Special Leave Petition regarding the contract of hoarding was
pending in the Supreme Court and calling Press Conference on the issue was
contempt of court. The respondent has submitted that a copy of the written
statement was directly served upon the complainant but the said has been
received back from the postal authority with the postal remarks “Receiver could
not be traced despite repeated search”. This proved that the organisation is
bogus.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
7.7.2003 but the same has been received back in the Council from the postal
authority with the remarks: “left”. However, a copy of written statement was
also forwarded to Shri Lankesh Kumar, counsel for complainant which is not
received back.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       When the matter was called out for hearing before the Inquiry Committee
at New Delhi on 14th July, 2006 there was no appearance before it from either
side. The notice of hearing sent to the complainant was received back with the
postal remarks : “Addressee has gone somewhere after selling the house.”
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       The Inquiry Committee noted that the complainant did not inform the
Council about his new postal address due to which the notice of hearing could
not be served on him. Thus, the Committee proceeded on premise that he was
not interested in pursuing his complaint and recommended to the Council to
close the case for non-prosecution.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

                                      110
21)    Shri Sandeep Gupta                  1. Editor
       Kansal Health Care        Versus       Public News, Hindi weekly
       Delhi                                  Pitampura, Delhi
                                           2. Editor
                                              Indo Europe News
                                              Rohini, Delhi
                                           3. Editor
                                              Fashion India, Hindi weekly
                                              Pitampura, Delhi
                                           4. Editor
                                              Krishna Avtar
                                              Rohini, Delhi
                                           5. Editor
                                              Rashtriya Hindi Samachar Patra
                                              Rohini, Delhi
Complaint
        This complaint dated 24.1.2005 has been filed by Shri Sandeep Gupta,
Proprietor, Kansal Healthcare, a Chemist shop, Delhi against local press.
According to the complainant, in the month of September-October 2004, Shri
Hukam Chakleshwar Singh and Shri Abhay Pal Singh visited his shop and
introduced themselves as Editor-in-Chiefs of about 20 presses, offered
membership of their press with press card on payment of Rs. 2000/- per month.
A couple of days later, two other persons namely, Shri Varun Singh and Shri
U.S. Singhal visited him in the same fashion stating that they are running 20-22
press in the city. On refusal to the offer, the respondents started sending fictitious
complaints against his Chemist shop to various authorities, thereby causing
him great inconveniences, loss of business and reputation, harassment, mental
torture and agony, alleged the complainant. The complainant has submitted
that these local and small press people are misusing the weapons provided by
the government by issuing press membership cards on payment, thereby
expanding the scope of crime and corruption in the society.
Written Statement
       Show cause notices were issued to the six respondent editors on 1.3.2006.
       The respondent editors of Krishna Avtar, Fashion India and Public News
in their joint written statement dated 12.3.2006 have submitted that the
allegations levelled against them are false and has no foundation. The
respondents have submitted that the complainant has not mentioned the names
of 20 newspapers. The respondents have also submitted that they do not know
about Shri Abhay Pal who has no concern with any of the newspaper of their
group. The respondents have submitted that Shri Hukam Chakleshwar Singh

                                          111
is son of Ex. Member of Parliament and has good reputation in the society and
is not a marketing executive of the press. The respondents have submitted that
all the allegations levelled against Shri U.S. Singhal are false and groundless,
as Shri Singhal never met the complainant. The respondents have denied the
allegation that Shri U.S. Singhal and Shri Hukam Chakleshwar Singh demanded
Rs. 2000/- per month from the complainant. The respondent has submitted that
if the allegation of demanding of Rs. 2000/- is true the complainant should
have made complaint to the police. The respondents have submitted that they
received some complaints against Kansal Medical Store and the same were
forwarded to various authorities for proper verification and investigation. The
respondents have submitted that the complaint has been filed to harass them
and to harm the dignity of the press and their newspapers. The respondents
have submitted that the complainant has mentioned the names of Indo-Europe
News and Rashtriya Hindi Samachar Patra in his complaint, which have no
concern with their group. The respondents have submitted that no news was
published against Shri Gupta in any of their newspaper and thus no harm was
caused to the reputation of Shri Gupta. The respondents have submitted that
the complainant and his associates gave a threat of kidnapping to their
representative Shri Hukam Chakleshwar Singh for which they have made a
complaint to DCP (N/W), Commissioner of Police, Joint Commissioner
(Vigilance), Joint Commissioner (Crime). The respondents have submitted that
the complainant has tried to mislead the Council and has attacked a noble drive,
which is run by their group for redressal of public grievance and has tried to
destroy the dignity and reputation of their newspapers.
Counter Comments
      A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
18.4.2006.
        The complainant in his counter comments dated 15.5.2006 has submitted
that the complaint of Shri Kanchan Singh annexed with the written statement.
It was only to extract handsome money by way of blackmailing. The
complainant has submitted that Shri Kanchan Singh along with his brother Shri
Balbir Singh was tenant in their house and they remained with them for more
than a decade. Shri Kanchan Singh was in need of money for his business and
had made his request to his brother (complainant’s brother) for the same, which
was given to him. The complainant has submitted that on the due date he refused
to return the money. The Bank returned the cheques given by Shri Kanchan
Singh. The complainant has submitted that thereafter his brother filed a recovery
suit in the court of law on the basis of bounced cheques. Shri Kanchan Singh
was not appearing before the Court and as such, the Court issued non-bailable
warrants against Shri Kanchan Singh. The complainant has submitted that being
prejudiced with the action of his brother, Shri Kanchan Singh approached the

                                      112
respondents for redressal of his grievances. The complainant has submitted
that the respondents having full knowledge of facts started coming to his
brother’s shop as well as of his own and made illegitimate demand on one
pretext or the other. On their refusal to fulfill their illegal demands they started
sending fictitious, self-made and untenable complaints to various Govt. agencies
to cause loss to their business and reputation, harassment and mental torture
and thereafter they started blackmailing the complainant. The complainant has
requested the Council to take necessary action against the respondents.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 14.7.2006. There was no appearance before it from either side.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        The Inquiry Committee noted from the record that the notice of hearing
had been duly served on the complainant. Despite that, the complainant neither
appeared before the Committee nor had he requested for adjournment. Further,
there was nothing on record to show that following the alleged pressurizing
tactics, the respondents had used their newspaper to harm the reputation of the
complainant. The Inquiry Committee, thus, recommended to the Council to
dismiss the case.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

22)    The Principal                              The Editor
       Government Women College                   Mahamedha, Hindi newspaper
       Gurgaon                  Versus            New Delhi
       Haryana
Complaint
       This complaint dated 28.12.2004 has been filed by the Principal,
Government Women College, Gurgaon against Mahamedha, Hindi newspaper,
New Delhi for publication of an objectionable and defamatory news item in its
issue dated 23.12.2004 captioned “Allegation of Exploitation of Girls on
Lecturer” and in box “Allegation – In order to increase his connection he was
instrumental in sexual exploitation of girls”.
       The respondent newspaper reported that levelling allegation of
exploitation of girls had begun against some lecturers and clerks of Govt. College

                                        113
at Mehrauli Road. It was not clear how far these allegations were correct, but a
complaint, which was some time ago sent to President of India Prime Minister,
Governor, Chief Minister, and Education Minister to the department of Higher
Education and CBI in this regard, had raised many questions on the working
style of accused lecturer and clerks. It was published that one or two inquiries
had also been conducted on these allegations that got clean chit by taking
advantage of high connections. This lecturer was a terror to the extent that
when this complaint came for inquiry, he got a memorandum signed from the
male as well as female lecturer of the college regarding his being innocent and
clean. An advocate had filed a complaint against a lecturer of Political Science
and Clerk Raj Pal for lowering the educational moral values and had levelled
allegation that this lecturer was exploiting the girls with the help of the clerk
and even used the girls to establish relations with the officers. In the complaint
this lecturer was termed as sex maniac. Many lady lecturers were also scared of
this lecturer who calls himself Raja. It was believed that he had a hand behind
the complaints of two Rajya Sabha MPs against a lady teacher. The MPs had
complained against a lady teacher levelling allegations of scams in the hostel,
on which decision had been taken in favour of lady teacher. The high connection
of this lecturer can be established by the fact that he was posted in this college
for the last 20-22 years. Even if he was transferred to another college of the
city, he was successful in coming back to this women college situated on
Mehrauli Road. In the complaint the reasons for his long stay had been described
as his sex related working style.

        The complainant has submitted that the false, fabricated, malicious and
defamatory news item was published to tarnish the good reputation of the lecturer
and sincere clerk under a conspiracy hatched by one mischievous lecturer Shri
S.C. Sapra in connivance with press reporter, as Mr. N.S. Yadav, a senior faculty
member was signatory to college Council resolution dated 27th November 2004,
condemning the objectionable behaviour of Mr. S.C. Sapra towards the then
Principal, Smt. Rekha Rani Goyal and Mr. Yadav was a member of a Committee
which recovered university examinations sheets from the possession of Mr.
Sapra. Similarly, Mr. Raj Pal did not play to the tune of Mr. Sapra in helping
him in carrying out his nefarious designs of abetting copying in the examinations.
The complainant has submitted that the reporter of Mahamedha, Shri Arvind
Saini was disgruntled against Mr. N.S. Yadav as his unauthorized entry into the
college premises and attempts to talk to girls and taking their photographs was
not allowed. The complainant has submitted that both Mr. Sapra and Mr. Saini
entered into a criminal conspiracy to defame Mr. Yadav. The complainant has
submitted that when to stop Mr. Sapra in his nefarious design of copying in the
exams to help his favourites, he was not allowed to enter into the examination
centre on 24th March 2004; he misbehaved with her, and on her complaint Mr.

                                       114
Sapra was transferred from the college on 27th March 2004 and later on placed
under suspension w.e.f. 27.4.2004. Angered by this, Mr. Sapra in connivance
with reporter accelerated his defamation campaign against this college and
planted defamatory news item in Hindustan, Amar Ujala, Dainik Jagran, Dainik
Bhaskar and Mahamedha. The complainant has submitted that the false,
fabricated, malicious and defamatory news item was planted in Mahamedha
on 23rd December 2004, about five months after the inquiry into the complaint
of the said advocate basing the entire news item on the pseudonymous complaint
with the ulterior motive of defaming Shri Yadav a reputed lecturer of high
moral character and sincere clerk in particular and this prestigious college and
its innocent girls in general.
Written Statement
      A show cause notice was issued to the respondent editor, Mahamedha
on 18.11.2005.
        The Editor, Mahamedha in his undated written statement while taking
preliminary technical objections has submitted that he never received the letters
addressed to the editor by the complainant. Had such a letter been received, the
remedial actions would have been taken immediately. The respondent has
submitted that the news item published is not a part of any conspiracy to defame
the college nor it was fabricated one. The respondent has submitted that nowhere
in the news item the word sexual exploitation was used. Hindi meaning of
which is “ªÉÉèxÉ ¶ÉÉè­ÉhÉ” different from ¶ÉÉè­ÉhÉ . So far as the adjectives used by the
complainant with reference to political science lecturer are concerned, it may
the view of the complainant. The respondent has submitted that mentioning of
a conspiracy by the complainant reflects that there was something definitely
wrong happening in the college involving the lecturers of the college. So far as
the name of Shri N.S. Yadav is concerned the same was nowhere mentioned in
the news item. The respondent has submitted that the complainant herself agreed
that there were some allegations and on such allegations a high level police
inquiry was conducted. The respondent submitted that the news item was not
at all derogatory as alleged. The respondent has submitted that whole news
item was in connection with certain complaints against one lecturer and clerk
and scam in hostel. The respondent has submitted that the complainant in the
capacity of Principal is more interested in Shri S.N.Yadav and Shri Rajpal but
not the college. The respondent has submitted that the newspaper had not added
any thing to the report on its own and was willing to come forward for finding
a solution to the matter in an appropriate way so that sentiments of any person
are not hurt. The respondent has submitted that when the matter came to the
knowledge of the management, the concerned reporter left the job of
Mahamedha.
                                          115
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
24.1.2006 for information.
Counter Comments
        The complainant in her counter comments dated 20.2.2006 while
reiterating the allegations has submitted that the written statement of the
respondent is a bundle of falsehoods and does not address the complaint and
objections raised by her. The complainant has submitted that she had not only
sent the contradiction/clarification of the impugned news item to Shri Shekhar
Kapoor through Regd. letter dated 28.12.2004 followed by Regd. reminder
dated 7.1.2005 but also to four other persons connected with the newspaper
namely; Shri Pappu Bhati, President, Mahamedha Parivar, Shri Rakesh Mohan,
Owner & Printer, Dr. Sharad Johri, Publisher, Mahamedha and Shri Raj Kaushik,
News Editor, Mahamedha. The complainant has submitted that before publishing
the impugned news item, the reporter did not try to know the version of the
college Principal and the affected Pol. Science lecturer and clerk Shri Rajpal.
Thus the impugned news item was published under a deep-rooted conspiracy
to defame the prestigious women college, its reputed teacher of Pol. Science
and sincere clerk. In the caption highlighted on the top left side, the highly
defamatory allegation was published, “In order to increase his connection was
instrumental in bodily exploitation of girls!” The complainant submitted that
the identification of Shri N.S. Yadav as N S when lecturer of Pol. Science was
malafide. Further the so called complaint filed by one advocate was a
pseudonymous complaint made by Shri Sapra in connivance with the reporter
of Mahamedha to harass and blackmail Shri N.S. Yadav. The complainant has
submitted that planting of the defamatory news item about three/four months
after the conclusion of the inquiry and even after having the knowledge of the
same, in itself speaks of a deep-rooted bias and conspiracy. The complainant
submitted that the impugned news item adversely affected the image of the
institution as a whole.
       A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent on
28.2.2006 for information.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
      The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 14.7.2006
at New Delhi. S/Shri N.S. Yadav and J.P.S. Chauhan appeared on behalf of the
complainant, while Shri Vinay Kakkar, Advocate, represented the respondent
newspapers.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
     The representative of the complainant in his oral arguments stated that
Mahamedha published news alleging harassment and exploitation of girl students
                                     116
by one teacher and clerk of the college. The allegations were totally false and
published without verifying the facts from the college authorities. He further
stated that the clarification sent to various persons and by different modes was
not published by the respondent. He then reiterated the averments in the
complaint.

        Learned counsel for the respondent raised preliminary technical objection
on the maintainability of the complaint. On merits, the counsel contended that
it was not said that the girl students belonged to the complainant’s college.
They could be of some other college. The news was published on the report of
the correspondent who was not a party here. He added that as the matter related
to girl students, he would not like to discuss the matter in detail. The counsel
summed up by saying that the clarification of the complainant was not received.
Had they received the clarification of the complainant, the same would have
been published. The counsel then offered to publish the clarification.

Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee

        At the outset, the Inquiry Committee overruled the objection under the
provisions of the Inquiry Regulations. On the objections of the counsel that the
reporter was not made a party, the Committee observed that under the PRB Act,
1867, the editor was responsible for all publications in a newspaper. The Inquiry
Committee was also not convinced with the argument of the counsel for the
respondent that the complaint was not maintainable as it was filed by the Principal
who was the In-charge of the college and he/she has to look after the interest of
the college as well as the staff. On merits, on consideration of the record and
oral submissions made before it on behalf of the complainant and the respondent,
the Inquiry Committee noted that the report had been filed on the basis of the
material provided to the reporter of the paper who had since left the job. The
main grouse of the complainant was non-publication of the clarification. In
view of the offer of the learned counsel for the respondent for publication of
the complainant’s clarification, the Committee directed the complainant to send
the clarification of the college to the Council, and the respondent to publish the
same within a fortnight of its receipt from the Council. The respondent was
also directed to send a copy of the issue carrying the clarification to the Council
and the complainant for record. The Inquiry Committee recommended to the
Council to dispose of the matter accordingly.

Decision of the Council

        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

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23)   The Principal                              The Editor
      Government College             Versus      Dainik Bhaskar
      Gurgaon                                    Gurgaon
      Haryana                                    Haryana
Complaint
        This complaint dated 22.12.2005 has been filed by the Principal
Government College, Gurgaon, Haryana (returned on 31.1.2006) against Dainik
Bhaskar, Gurgaon for publication of false, malicious and defamatory news
report in its issue dated 2.12.2005 captioned “Government College inquiry
started again”. The complainant submitted that Shri Amit Nehra, Bureau Chief,
Gurgaon in connivance with the editor of Dainik Bhaskar, Gurgaon has printed
and published a false, malicious, mischievous and defamatory news report with
the motive of defaming and degrading the reputation of the prestigious women
college, its Principal and staff.
       As per the complainant the impugned news report levelled false
allegations of copying during annual examination, harassment of male and
female lecturers, running of benami canteen of hostel mess by a college clerk
have been levelled. False allegation of answer books of house examination
being checked by students are also levelled.
       The complainant submitted that she sent her clarification on 6.12.2005
to the Editor, Dainik Bhaskar to publish with prominence but till date the same
was not been published.
       The complainant pointed out that earlier she had filed complaints against
The Hindustan Times, Amar Ujala and Dainik Jagran on 13 impugned news
reports and the Council in its decision dated 7.10.2005 censured The Hindustan
Times and instructed Amar Ujala and Dainik Jagran to publish clarification
with prominence. The complainant submitted that as a repercussion of this
decision, the same elements joined hands with the Bureau Chief of Dainik
Bhaskar, Gurgaon. Further the Bureau Chief of Dainik Bhaskar filed a complaint
before the D.C., Gurgaon making the 13 news reports published in The Hindustan
Times, Amar Ujala and Dainik Jagran as base for reiteration of grievance against
the reputed lecturer Shri N.S. Yadav and sincere clerk Shri Raj Pal knowing
very well the fact that the Council has already pronounced its decision on these
news reports.
Written Statement
       Show cause notice was issued to the respondent editor, Dainik Bhaskar
on 3.3.2006.
       The Bureau Chief, Dainik Bhaskar in his written statement dated

                                      118
13.3.2006 submitted that the complainant has already filed a complaint of
blackmailing against the correspondent of Dainik Bhaskar before the D.C.,
Gurgaon and the D.C., Gurgaon has taken cognizance on the complaint. The
respondent has submitted that the D.C. has ordered an inquiry on 1.12.2005
regarding the activities of Government College, Gurgaon. To cover up her
misdeeds the complainant filed this complaint before the Press Council of India.
The respondent submitted that Dainik Bhaskar does not believe in yellow
journalism. Further the complainant retired on 31.1.2006 and while writing
this letter she has tried to mislead the Council.
Counter Comments
      A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
24.4.2006.
        The complainant in her counter comments dated 17.5.2006 submitted
that in the written statement dated 13.3.2006 Shri Amit Nehra, Bureau Chief,
Dainik Bhaskar had given distorted version about his reporter Shri Dhirender
Mishra. Shri Dhirender Mishra, a reporter of Dainik Bhaskar had planted totally
false, baseless news item in Dainik Bhaskar dated 24.7.2005 with the object of
defaming the college. The complainant has submitted that reacting to this false
news item, a complaint dated 27.7.2005 was made to the Editor, Dainik Bhaskar,
Noida under intimation to the Press Council of India and the D.C., Gurgaon.
The complainant has submitted that some local reporters of Gurgaon had let
loose a vilification campaign against this college in connivance with a tainted
and mischievous Lecturer, Mr. S.C. Sapra. The complainant has submitted that
the complaint dated 1.12.2005 filed before the D.C., Gurgaon was a coordinated
conspiracy of Shri Amit Nehra and tainted above mentioned Lecturer Shri
Subhash C. Sapra. The complaint was based on 13 impugned news items,
which had already been decided by the Press Council of India on 7.10.2005 as
false, misleading, twisted and defamatory. The complainant has submitted that
it is totally false and misleading that the allegations contained in impugned
news item dated 2.12.2005 were different from the allegation levelled in the 13
impugned news items decided upon by the Council on 7.10.2005. The
complainant while reiterating the allegations levelled in the complaint has
requested the Council to take necessary action against the respondent.
      A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent on
7.6.2006.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 14.7.2006. S/Shri N.S. Yadav and J.P.S. Chauhan were present on
behalf of the complainant while Shri Kulbhushan Bhardwaj, advocate repre-
sented the respondent, Dainik Bhaskar.
                                      119
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       The representative of the complainant reiterated that last year 13 false
news reports were published in some newspapers in which the Press Council of
India in its decision dated 7.10.2005 had censured one of the newspapers and
two newspapers were directed to publish the clarification. The clarification was
sent to them thrice under intimation to the Council but the newspapers did not
publish the same. Based on these news reports Dainik Bhaskar again carried
false and defamatory news report wherein all the allegations were reproduced
by Dainik Bhaskar. He reiterated other averments in the complaints.
        Learned counsel for the respondent contended that in the earlier
complaints Dainik Bhaskar was not a party. Whatever had been published was
based on facts gathered by their reporter. The complainant had already filed a
complaint against the correspondent of Dainik Bhaskar before the Deputy
Commissioner who had ordered an inquiry. The complainant also filed
complaint with the Press Council of India and Lok Sampark Samiti. The college
authorities had also misbehaved with a lady journalist. A Resolution condemning
their behaviour was passed in the meeting at the Press Club. The Centre
Superintendent A. K. Malik gave his report that copying was being done during
Examination by taking money. A special observer was appointed by the
University who sent his report, which was lost. The University changed the
Examination Centre. He stated that this news was published. The Food
Department on a complaint raided the canteen. This news was also published.
One Mr. Ashok Gahlot had filed complaint against Prof. N.S. Yadav regarding
exploitation of girls mentioning the name of the girl. An inquiry has been
instituted which the complainant was trying to stop.
       The representative of the complainant submitted that there was no
advocate by the name of Ashok Gahlot. The complainant was fictitious. The
correspondent of Dainik Bhaskar fully knew the outcome of the inquiry. The
news reports were published without verifying the facts. The clarification sent
was also not published.
      The counsel for Dainik Bhaskar stated that the impugned report was
based on available evidence. Therefore, no further publication was necessary
by way of clarification.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        The Inquiry Committee considered the material available on record and
the oral arguments advanced before it by the representatives of the complainant
and the respondent. It observed that before publishing the impugned news
report containing allegations of serious nature, the respondent did not care to
verify the facts from the college authorities. The respondent had also breached

                                      120
the norm regarding right to reply by not publishing the clarification of the
complainant dated 6.12.2005 sent to Dainik Bhaskar. The Inquiry Committee,
thus, decided to recommend to the Council to warn the respondent editor, Dainik
Bhaskar for violation of above norms of journalistic conduct. To afford the
complainant right to reply, the Inquiry Committee directed the complainant to
send the factual clarification to the Press Council of India which the respondent
editor may be directed to publish within 15 days of its receipt from the Council
with its own stand, if necessary, but without any counter-allegations, and to
forward a copy of the issue carrying the clarification to the Press Council of
India and the complainant for record.
        The Inquiry Committee also noted inter alia the submissions of the
complainant that the Amar Ujala and Dainik Jagran had grossly flouted the
directions of the Council by not publishing the clarification of the complainant.
It recommended that cognizance of these submissions may be taken in the
relevant file for appropriate follow up action.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.
F.N.:    Shri P.T. Shah, Member did not participate in the deliberation for the
        reason of his interest in the Bhaskar Group of Publication

24)     Dr. T.B. Singh                                  The Editor
        Joint Director (Admn.)               Versus     Rashtriya Sahara
        Institute of Human Behaviour &                  New Delhi
        Allied Sciences
        Delhi
Complaint
       This complaint dated 17.3.2004 has been filed by Dr. T.B. Singh, Joint
Director (Admn.) Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences (IHBAS),
Delhi against Rashtriya Sahara for publication of and allegedly false and
misleading news item in its issue dated 11.3.2004 under the caption
“ç'kklfud mis{kk dk f'kdkj bgckl’’(IHBAS- Victim of Administrative negligence).
The impugned news item reads as follows:

                  “Famous for treatment of Mental and Neurological illnesses,
        Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences has been neglected
        administratively. This began with the awarding of cleanliness/sanitation
        work to private agencies. The position in private wards is also not

                                      121
       satisfactory. Conditions of residential flats for Doctors, class III & IV
       employees are also very bad and the flats had been declared dangerous
       by the CPWD but they are not being repaired. As per some sources in
       the knows the cleanliness/sanitation position along with other facilities
       in the ward where influential patients are admitted, is better but conditions
       of general mental patients is very pitiable. Recently constructed 50
       bedded block, is often flooded with dirty sewer water and it becomes
       worse in rains. The health department during their round have taken a
       serious view of cleanliness/sanitation and have criticized institute
       administration. There could not be any improvement even after a period
       of fortnight. Security arrangement is not systematic. An unclaimed
       dead body of Gourav has been found in institution area. The relatives
       of patients have also shown their dissatisfaction for cleanliness/
       sanitation.”
        The complainant while denying the allegations has submitted that the
contents of the article are misleading and far from truth. The complainant has
submitted that all the wards and quarters are being cleaned and maintained
regularly on daily basis by engaging agencies with adequate experience in
such house keeping jobs and no incident of sewer water entering in the wards
has occurred as reported. The complainant has submitted that no official from
Health Department has inspected the Institute and their (complainant’s) Director
has not given any statement/interview regarding contents of the news item.
The complainant has submitted that such news items highlighting false and
misleading information leads to marked adverse effect on the best effort being
made by their institution to generate awareness and change the attitude of the
people towards mental illness and stigma related to services being rendered at
IHBAS. The complainant has submitted that the published matter is entirely
false and far from truth.
       The complainant with his complaint has forwarded a photocopy of news
item captioned “jksfx;ksa ds mipkj esa le>kSrk ugha’’(No compromise in patients’
treatment) published in Rashtriya Sahara issue dated 30.03.2004 in which no
reference of the impugned news item has been made.
No Written Statement
       Show cause notice was issued to the respondent editor, Rashtriya Sahara
on 4.7.2004. The respondent has not filed his written statement.
Matter Adjourned
       As the service report of the notice to the respondent was not complete,
the Inquiry Committee adjourned the matter to allow the respondent due and
fair opportunity of defending its case.

                                        122
      The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 6.1.2006. Dr. T.B. Singh, Joint Director (Admn.) the complainant,
along with Shri Bharat Bhushan, Assistant Administrative Officer, Institute of
Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences, Delhi was present in person. There was
no appearance on behalf of the respondent.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was again listed before the Inquiry Committee for hearing at
New Delhi on 21.8.2006. Shri M.M. Sharma, Assistant Administrative Officer
represented the complainant while Shri Gyan Prakash, staff reporter appeared
for the respondent newspaper.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
        The representative of the complainant reiterated the averments made in
the complaint. He added that the Institute was earlier under the Delhi
Government. After it became autonomous body, they got the quarters vacated
but still some persons who were not their employees did not vacate the quarters.
The wards and the hospital was got cleaned by out sourcing facilities. Steps
were being taken to have the dangerous quarters evacuated. He further stated
that no new construction was going on as alleged in the impugned publication.
The reporter did not verify the facts at pre-publication stage. He denied the
Director having given any statement.
        Shri Gyan Prakash, appearing for the respondent filed the written
submissions of the respondent editor. It was submitted therein that the news
report was based on facts and was published after proper verification by the
reporter. The news report contained the version of the Director of the Institute
also. Despite that the version of the complainant was carried in the issue dated
29.3.2006. It was further submitted, that many leading national dailies published
news about the worse condition of the Institute. The news was meant to highlight
the difficulties of the patients, doctors and other employees of the Institute.
        In his oral submissions the representative of the respondent repeated the
defence taken in the written submission of the respondent editor. He added that
many other newspapers published similar reports and that the paper stood by
the correction of the report. The situation remained the same till date. He claimed
that the matter was carried in public interest.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       The Inquiry Committee considered the material on record and the oral
arguments advanced before it by the representative of the complainant and the
respondent. It noted that the impugned report tried to present the facts as
witnessed by the reporter and being a premier health institute highlighting any

                                       123
shortcomings could not be taken as an attempt to malign the institute but only
to shake up the Institute and motivate it to give more marked attention to
corrective measures. It opined that the news item was in public interest, as it
was meant to bring to the notice of the authorities, the pathetic condition of the
patients and the staff of the Institute. The Committee observed that the news
was published with proper pre-publication verification and the paper
subsequently carried the version of the Director of the complainant Institute.
Though it would have been advisable to have given due reference to the
impugned report in this rejoinder, the respondent had complied with the norm
of right to reply by publishing the clarification of the complainant promptly.
Thus, the Committee did not find that the respondent had erred, in publishing
the impugned news report. The Inquiry Committee, therefore, recommended
to the Council to dismiss the complaint.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

25)    Shri Ajay Kumar                                   The Editor
       Director                       Versus             The Times of India
       Indian Institute of Aircraft Engineering          New Delhi
       Civil Aviation Department
       Government of India
       New Delhi
Complaint
       This complaint dated 11.6.2004 has been filed by Shri Ajay Kumar,
Director, Indian Institute of Aircraft Engineering, Civil Aviation Department,
Government of India, New Delhi against The Times of India, New Delhi for
publication of an allegedly false, biased and misleading news article under the
caption “GET OFF TO A FLYING START’ in its issue dated 24.5.2004. The
objectionable portion of the impugned article reads as follows:
                “Aviation industry is among the fastest growing industries in
       today’s time. One branch of aviation industry, which offers a scope for
       a bright and secure future is aircraft maintenance engineering….
       Unfortunately, coaching centers are taking the students for a ride, by
       claiming to be recognized by the DGCA and promising a degree on
       completion of the course. In fact the aircraft maintenance-engineering
       course is not a degree course but a ‘license course’, to be imparted by
       only the DGCA recognized institutes. These recognized institutes teach
       the approved syllabus of DGCA and after completion of the course
                                       124
       conduct internal examination. On the basis of the performance in these
       internal examinations, the results of successful candidates are forwarded
       to the DGCA for license examination. Thereafter, the aircraft maintenance
       engineer licenses are handed out. …To attract more and more young
       people, these institutes give attractive scholarships to the tune of Rs.
       60,000/- per annum, to the deserving and meritorious students in
       addition, there are attractive amenities for girls candidates.”
        Denying the allegation, the complainant has submitted that where the
newspaper’s edition “Education Times” is required to publish unbiased, sincere
and honest views for the millions of admission seekers, it was unfortunately
found publishing biased statements, expectedly at the patronage of some
Institute’s management. The article ridiculed the other competitive institutes
and glorified the one at the behest of which it was published. The complainant
has submitted that the cheap publicity should not be permitted in leading
newspapers more so when people take their articles as true. Instead of
biased views, it is duty of the newspaper that they should always publish honest
facts.
         The complainant has submitted that the impugned article speaks the
language of a particular management stating that all the institutes owned by it
as the only prominent institute in India and terms all other competitive institutes
approved by DGCA (Director General of Civil Aviation), Government of India,
as merely coaching centers, whereas there are 27 such institutes in India some
with better reputation than those mentioned in the article. The impugned article
even down plays their policy of merit scholarship and ridicule their policy of
girls’ promotion. The complainant has alleged that the respondent merely to
cater to the interests of a particular management has published the impugned
article.
       The complainant has submitted that he expressed his objection to the
respondent vide his letter dated 27.5.2004 and subsequent reminder dated
10.6.2004 with the request to publish a corrigendum but to no avail.
Comments
      Comments of the respondent editor, The Times of India were invited on
11.1.2005.
        The respondent in his comments dated 18.01.2005 has denied that the
said article was published at the behest of some person or educational institute
or it was biased, as alleged. The respondent has submitted that the said article
was published for the benefit of the student’s community at large. He has
submitted that the newspaper carries articles on various educational institutes
and courses conducted by them. The respondent has submitted that in this

                                       125
particular instance, the newspaper probably focused its attention more towards
a particular educational institute. The very purpose of this newspaper is to give
maximum information to the student community, who are the major readers of
this particular newspaper, and the newspaper caters to their needs. The
respondent has submitted that some coaching centers are taking the students
for a ride, by claiming to be recognized by the DGCA and promising a degree
on completion of the course. In fact, the aircraft maintenance-engineering course
is not a degree course but a “License Course”, to be imparted by only the
DGCA recognized institutes. These recognized institutes teach the approved
syllabus of DGCA and after completion of the course conduct internal
examinations. On the basis of the performance in these internal examinations,
the results of successful candidates are forwarded to DGCA and maintenance
engineer licenses are handed out. The respondent has submitted that by reading
in between the lines, a common man can understand that his newspaper has
not stated anywhere that the other institutes recognized by the DGCA are
coaching institutes It is the complainant who has stretched his imagination in
thinking otherwise. The respondent has submitted that as a responsible newspaper
it becomes the duty of the newspaper to caution its young readers from falling
into traps of various institutions who are fly-by-night operators. A word of
caution is advised to students to check before enrolling with such institutes
before they join these courses otherwise they will suffer the consequence of
being taken for a ride by such institutions. The newspaper has not published
the name of any institute stating that they are good or bad but the names of
some prominent ones were given just to highlight the issue. It appears that the
only grudge of the complainant is that the newspaper Education Times has not
named their institute and it seems to be only grievance of the complainant or
probably to put pressure on the newspaper, so that any future article appearing
on the issue would include the name of their institute.
        The respondent has submitted that a letter dated 27 th May 2004 was
received and efforts were made to contact the complainant on telephone, so
that his views could be taken but none were there to oblige the newspaper’s
queries. The newspaper made several efforts to contact the institute/complainant
to take their view and publish the same, but the complainant/institute refused to
entertain the calls.
       A copy of the comments was forwarded to the complainant on 9.3.2005
for information.
Matter Adjourned
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 6.1.2006. There was no presence either from the side of the complainant
or the respondent. The Inquiry Committee adjourned the matter to give one
more opportunity to parties to present their case.
                                      126
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
     The matter was again taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 21.8.2006. There was no appearance before it from either side.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        On perusal of the record the Inquiry Committee noted that the respondent
editor in the comments dated 18.1.2005 filed through his advocate, defended
the publication. It was also stated that efforts were made to obtain the version
of the complainant but the complainant as well as the Institute refused to take
their calls. A copy of the comments was sent to the complainant. The
complainant neither filed counter to the written statement nor was he represented
before the Committee, despite duly receiving the notice of hearing, to pursue
the case. Under the circumstances the Committee had no alternative but to
proceed on the premise that the complainant was not interested in contesting
case. It, therefore, recommended to the Council to dismiss the complaint for
non-prosecution.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

26)      Shri Om Prakash Srivastav            1. The Editor,
         Editor                        Versus    Dainik Lok Mitra
         Brij Vimla Vani, Hindi Weekly           Pratapgarh (U.P.)
         Pratapgarh (U.P.)                    2. Distt. Information Officer
                                                 Pratapgarh (U.P.)
Complaint
           Shri Om Prakash Srivastav, Editor, Brij Vimla Vani, Hindi Weekly,
Pratapgarh (U.P.) has filed this complaint dated 11.6.2003 against “Dainik Lok
Mitra”, Pratapgarh (U.P.) for publishing allelgedly false, misleading and
defamatory news items captioned “ÉʤÉxÉÉ BÉEɪÉÇ BÉEä cÉÒ £ÉÖMÉiÉÉxÉ BÉEÉ àÉÉàÉãÉÉ-ªÉÖ´ÉÉ BÉEãªÉÉhÉ
+ÉÉÊvÉBÉEÉ®ÉÒ BÉEä ºÉJiÉ ®´ÉèªÉä ºÉä {ÉjÉBÉEÉ® BÉEä àÉƺÉÚ¤Éä ÉÊ´É{ÉEãÉ ” (Case of payment without doing
any work-Journalist’s plans failed due to strictness of Youth Welfare Officer)
and “{ÉEVÉÉÔ iÉÉÆÉÊjÉBÉE BÉE® ®cÉ cè {ÉjÉBÉEÉÉÊ®iÉÉ BÉEÉÒ +ÉÉb àÉå ãÉÚ]-ÉÊVÉãÉä BÉEÉÒ {ÉjÉBÉEÉÉÊ®iÉÉ BÉEÉä ãÉMÉÉ
®cÉ cè BÉEÉÉÊãÉJÉ” (Fake Tantrik is looting in the guise of journalism-Stigmatising
journalism of the district) in the issues dated 29.3.2003 and 20.5.2003
respectively. In the impugned news items, the complainant is described as a
cheater and trickster. It was alleged in the impugned news item dated 29.3.2003
that the complainant who was also owner of a printing press had presented a

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fictitious bill amounting to Rs.18,000/- regarding supply of stationary items to
the Yuva Kalyan Vibhag (Youth Welfare Department) but failed to avail the
amount due to vigilance of the officer. In the second news item, the complainant
is called a deceitful hypocrate journalist who was bringing out the newspaper
with the only intention to blackmail the district higher authorities and political
leaders by his magic spell.
        The complainant has submitted that his newspaper is being published
regularly and is approved by the Central and State Governments for the purpose
of issuance of advertisements. Denying the allegations, the complainant has
submitted that impugned reports had been published deliberately with the sole
intention to defame him. The complainant denied the allegation that District
Magistrate had ever issued him a notice. The complainant submitted that a
legal notice dated 23.8.2003 issued to the respondent editor has evoked no
response. The complainant requested the Council to take necessary action
against the respondent-editor. The complainant also alleged that the respondent
in connivance with the DIO had tried to stop the publication of his newspaper
by publishing defamatory news items.
       A show-cause notice was issued to the respondent-editor, Lok Mitra on
3.12.2003. Comments of the District Information Officer (DIO), Pratapgarh
(U.P.) were also invited vide Council’s letter dated 3.12.2003.
Comments of District Information Officer, Pratapgarh
        The District Information Officer, Pratapgarh in his comments dated
17.1.2004 submitted that the DIO had no role to play in publication of
newspapers of the District or for that matter the “Lok Mitra” (respondent-
newspaper). As per availability of the newspaper and register maintained in
this regard in the department and the receipt book, a regularity report was being
sent to the Information Department of U.P. The respondent submitted that the
allegation of threat made in the complaint was false, baseless and unfortunate
and on the contrary it was the complainant who tried to pressurise the DIO
using different means at his disposal.
Written Statement-Dainik Lok Mitra
       The respondent editor, Dainik Lok Mitra in his written statement, received
in the Secretariat of the Council on 13.2.2004, submitted that the allegations
made in the complaint were false, baseless and malicious. According to him,
the complaint had been filed deliberately as the complainant was prejudiced
towards him. The respondent further submitted that the complainant’s name
was not mentioned in the impugned report dated 29.3.2003. The second news
report dated 20.5.2003 was based on the facts disclosed by the complainant
himself to the other persons and on the basis of the inquiry conducted by the

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then District Magistrate, Pratapgarh against the complainant. The respondent
stated that no contradiction was received from the complainant or from the
District Magistrate. The respondent has submitted that he is ready to publish
the contradiction, if received.
       The copies of the comments of the respondent District Information Officer,
Pratapgarh and the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
11.2.2004 and 8.4.2004 for information.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
        The matter was called out for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on
23.3.2006 at Lucknow. Shri Om Prakash Srivastav, the complainant was present
before it in person while Shri Santosh, editor represented the respondent
newspaper, Dainik Lok Mitra. S/Shri Rajinder Kumar Pandey and R.B. Singh,
District Information Officers, the second respondents also appeared before the
Committee.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
        The complainant in his oral submissions reiterated the averments made
in the complaint. He added that in the impugned news report he was levelled a
“tantrik” without any basis. The respondent editor had no proof to substantiate
the allegations made in the news item. He also alleged that the two respondents
were acting in connivance with each other to harm his reputation and publication
and to wrongly benefit Lok Mitra.
       The respondent editor stated that from the day he got accreditation from
the government, the complainant was keeping ill will against him. The
complainant was also indulging in Tantrik work and was cheating the innocent
people. Some people of the area, who were the victims, had complained about
the cheating of the complainant. He added that he could get written statements
from those persons.
       The DIO submitted that he did not at any point of time favour the paper
Lok Mitra and he sent the regularity report as per norms in respect of both the
papers. He also produced the receipt book of the department. He submitted
that contrary to the complainant’s claim that a paper could be certified as regular
when it was 80% regular, the criteria was of 75% regularity.
       The complainant challenged the above statement.
Matter Adjourned
       The Inquiry Committee, in order to obtain complete and correct facts,
directed the DIO to file documents to establish the criteria for certifying the
regularity of a publication. This it felt was necessary to establish whether the

                                       129
DIO was wrongly favouring the paper Lok Mitra. The Committee directed the
authorities to file the requisite documents within a week from the date of hearing
and adjourned the matter, granting the parties exemption from appearance at
the next hearing.
       As per directions of the Inquiry Committee the respondent DIO,
Pratapgarh vide his comments dated 24.3.2006 has submitted that the publication
of “Lok Mitra” was treated as regular on the basis of Section 22(6) of the
Advertisement Rules 2001 of the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The DIO, has
further submitted that the name of the complainant alongwith all other
Accreditation cards of the journalists were submitted before the District
Magistrate, Pratapgarh for renewal, but Accreditation card of only two journalists
were renewed by the District Magistrate, Pratapgarh. The matter of renewal of
Accreditation of six Journalists was placed before the Sub-Committee on
21.6.2003 and again on 11.11.2003 of the full bench of U.P. Press Accreditation
Committee which decided to renew the Accreditation of six Journalists along
with the complainant. After that the Press Accreditation was immediately issued/
handed over to the complainant.
      The respondent DIO has submitted that the complaint filed by the
complainant is baseless and far from the truth.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter again came up for hearing before the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 21.8.2006. The complainant Shri Om Prakash Srivastav was
present in person while Shri Santosh represented the respondent newspaper,
Dainik Lok Mitra. The respondent, Shri R.B. Singh, the second respondent was
also present before the Committee.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
      The complainant in his oral submissions reiterated what he had stated in
the complaint.
       The respondent editor stated that the news was based on the complaints
given by some persons and as they were afraid of the complainant, their names
were not mentioned. He, however, offered to publish the clarification of the
complainant.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        Insofar the issue of action taken by the DIO was concerned, the
Committee recommended to the Council to close the matter on the basis of the
clarification provided by the DIO.
     With reference to the impugned report by Respondent 1, the Inquiry
Committee noted the respondent editor’s offer to publish the clarification of the

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complainant and directed the complainant to send his clarification, without any
counter allegations, to the respondent and the respondent to publish the same
along with an apology within 15 days of the receipt of the clarification from
the complainant. The respondent was further directed to forward a copy of the
issue carrying the clarification to the Press Council of India as well as the
complainant for record. With the above directions to the parties the Committee
recommended to the Council to dispose off the complaint.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

27)   Shri Dharambir Singh                        The Editor
      Former Block President         Versus       Amar Ujala
      Haldor, Bijnore (U.P.)                      Uttar Pradesh
Complaint
       This complaint dated 3.10.2003 has been filed by Shri Dharambir Singh,
Former Block President, Haldor (Bijnore) against Amar Ujala, Agra edition for
publication of an allegedly false and misleading news item captioned “ Car and
Pistol of former Block President of Haldor stolen – police suspicious about
veracity of story” in its issue dated 24.9.2003.
        The news item reported that the Police was suspicious about truth of the
story regarding theft of a car and pistol of the former Block President. It felt
that the story was cooked up with a conspiracy to implicate someone. The S.P.
had informed that an FIR had been lodged and inquiry would be conducted.
        The complainant stated that he had lodged an FIR and the police found
the car but the Pistol and other items were missing from the car. The complainant
alleged that the news item was misleading. He sent his version to the respondent
editor, Amar Ujala, Agra on 1.10.2003 but he neither received any reply nor
his version was published. The complainant requested the Council to take action
against the respondent.
Written Statement
       Show-cause notice was issued to the respondent editor on 27.5.2004.
The respondent editor, Amar Ujala in his written statement dated 6.10.2004
submitted that there was no malice against the complainant and whatever was
published was based on the information received from the Kotwali Police Station.
The respondent submitted that the complainant has not informed in what manner
the news item was objectionable and which part of the news item was false.
The respondent has submitted that the allegation of the complainant against the

                                      131
reporter of the news item was ill founded, baseless and defamatory. They have
not violated any ethics of journalism. The news item was published bonafide
and in public interest without having any intention to defame the complainant.
The respondent requested the Council to dismiss the complaint.
      A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
18.1.2005.
Ist Hearing
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
Lucknow on 23.3.2006 S/Shri Sunil Kumar Awasthi and Sharad Tandon were
present on behalf of the respondent newspaper, Amar Ujala while there was no
appearance for the complainant. The complainant, Shri Dharambir Singh,
however, vide his letter dated 22.3.2006 requested for adjournment. He further
requested that the matter may be taken up at Delhi.
       On the request of the complainant the Inquiry Committee adjourned the
matter to be listed before it at one of its future meetings at Delhi.
Matter Relisted
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New Delhi
on 22.8.2006. The complainant, Dr. Dharambeer Singh, appeared in person,
while Shri Sunil Kumar Awastai, Advocate present on behalf of the respondent
newspaper.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
        The complainant stated that Amar Ujala was out to defame him and his
family by publishing false and baseless news reports for the last ten years. He
had suffered economically as well as socially. He added that after publication
of the news, he met Shri Ashok Madhu who promised to publish the clarification,
but he did not do so. About the recovery of the car and loss of the revolver, the
police had taken necessary action and registered a case, stated the complainant.
        The counsel for the respondent stated that no clarification was received
by them and if they had received the clarification, they would have published
the same. On being asked by the Committee as to whether he would be satisfied
if the respondent publishes his clarification, the complainant replied that at this
stage no fruitful purpose would be served if his clarification was published.
       The counsel for the respondent stated that the news was published on
the basis of the FIR registered by the police. Many other leading newspapers
published similar news reports.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       The Inquiry Committee considered the material on record and the oral

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arguments put forth before it. It noted that similar news report had been published
in other leading newspapers also. Moreover, in the news report, the source of
information was also quoted. The Committee also noted that the news was
based on the FIR registered with the police. The Committee was thus not satisfied
that the report was malafide. The complainant did not wish to avail of the
opportunity of publication of his version. Thus, the Committee recommended
to the Council to dismiss the complaint.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

28)    The Superintendent of Police                       The Editor
       Pithoragarh                           Versus       Amar Ujala
       Uttranchal                                         Uttar Pradesh
Complaint
        This complaint dated 27.1.2004 has been filed by the Superintendent of
police, Pithoragarh against Amar Ujala for publication of an allegedly false and
misleading news item in its issue dated 23.1.2004 captioned “Team arrived to
put restriction on mine-mafia, under controversy” (English translation). The
impugned report charged the team sent by the S.P. for inquiry of corrupt practices
to help the accused.
       The complainant has submitted that the SOG team had intercepted only
three vehicles and two were found carrying mines illegally and one of them
had all the documents pertaining to mines. The complainant has denied having
taken any money from anyone by the staff. The complainant has submitted
that he sent contradiction on 23.1.2004 but the newspaper did not carry the
same adversely affecting the image of the police.
Written Statement
      Show cause notice was issued to the respondent editor, Amar Ujala on
17.5.2004.
       The counsel for the respondent newspaper Amar Ujala in the written
statement dated 30.6.04 has submitted that there is nothing which could be
said to be libellous to any person or organization in the news item in question.
The respondent has submitted that the news was perfectly balanced and published
fairly without any prejudice to any person and in general public interest. The
respondent has submitted that the contents of present complaint are trifle and
appear to have founded upon faddist substratum. The complainant revealed

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wrong information for the purpose of present complaint against them. The
respondent has submitted that it is matter of fact that Special Operation against
mine mafia was launched at the cost of public. The respondent has submitted
that the complainant has not maintained any proceeding register showing the
record of their operation(s) and proceedings thereof which could manifest the
actual trucks taken into custody and powers were used as unruly horse. The
respondent has submitted that it is impossible that there were only three trucks
at mining place especially when there had been a peak time of mining of sand
and stones. The respondent has submitted that the complainant failed to establish
the motive and made vague submissions to snap the freedom of the Press. The
respondent has submitted that the media is only hurdle in their way and the
present complaint is made with intent to curb the acts of police. The respondent
has submitted that they have not received any fax from the complainant. The
respondent has further submitted that on 22.1.2004 at about 1.00 p.m. the police
checking took place within local limits of Police Station, Berinag. The Police
have taken in custody number of trucks at Bans Pathan and Chaumanya. There
was queue of trucks loaded with Bazri/Bazarpur (small stones and sand). The
respondent has submitted that the police was procuring money for physical
release of loaded trucks. The respondent has submitted that the protest might
be an evil for them, because they were threatened for seizure of their goods
and vehicles, which would result into their criminal prosecution. The respondent
has submitted that persons under trap were also informed about procedural
complications of seizure resulting into physical pains, financial losses at different
stages with or without results. The respondent has submitted that the police
officials were explaining the occupiers of trucks not to involve in legal actions
and to adopt easy access. The respondent has submitted that some persons
were challaned, who refused to pay demanded money. The respondent has
submitted that the complainant is well known for abuse of his office. The
respondent has submitted that it is a matter of fact that many people were seen
bagging before Police team for exhonerating the wrongdoers. The respondent
has reiterated that they have received two press notes on 22.01.2004. The
respondent has submitted that the impugned news was published fairly and
bonafidly without any ulterior design against any person including the
complainant. The respondent has submitted that the news item in question was
fair and published with all diligence and necessary verifications and is well
protected under the law of land being fair and bonafide. The respondent has
submitted that they had no intention to malign/tarnish the image of any person
or organization in the estimation of right thinking persons and abuse or misuse
of power is always subject to open criticism. The respondent has submitted that
the reality of facts cannot be glossed over by the complainant. The respondent
has submitted that the purpose of instant complaint is malafide, whereby, the
complainant is intending to create atmosphere in his favour so as the press

                                        134
would assist his acts by suppressing the facts of general public interest and
being a public servant the complainant has no organizational locus standi. The
respondent has submitted that the defence of the complainant is founded by
making false accusation on them. The respondent has submitted that the present
complaint is liable to be dismissed with special costs to them.
      A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
9.8.2005.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was called out for hearing before the Inquiry Committee at
Lucknow on 23.3.2006. Shri Subodh Kumar Saxena, advocate appeared on
behalf of the respondent newspaper, Amar Ujala. The notice of hearing sent to
the complainant was received back with the postal remarks “address incomplete.”
Matter Adjourned
       As the notice of hearing could not be served on the complainant, the
Inquiry Committee decided to adjourn the matter and asked the learned counsel
for the respondent to trace the correct address of the complainant and inform
the same to the Council. The Government may also be addressed to inform
whether it wished to pursue the matter as a State complaint.
       The directions of the Inquiry Committee were conveyed to both the parties
vide Council’s letter dated 22.5.2006. But no response has been received despite
reminder dated 24.7.2006.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
        When the matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 22.8.2006. Shri Subodh Kumar Saxena, Advocate, was present before
it for the respondent newspaper, while there was no appearance on behalf of
the complainant.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       Learned counsel for the respondent argued that the complainant was
not present before the Inquiry Committee on last occasion also. He was not
coming forward to contest his case.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       The Committee noted that the notice of hearing sent to the complainant
for the hearing on 23.3.2006 was received back unserved and again the notice
had been received back with the remarks ‘transferred’. The Committee expressed
its unhappiness over the complainant’s failure to inform the new address to the
Council. The State Government had also failed to respond to the Inquiry whether

                                      135
this was a State complaint. The Inquiry Committee, therefore, recommended to
the Council to dismiss the complaint for non-prosecution.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

29)   Shri Ganesh Singh                                        The Editor
      M.P. (Lok Sabha)                        Versus           Samaria Express
      Satna, Madhya Pradesh                                    Satna (M.P.)
Complaint
        This undated complaint received in the Secretariate of the Concil on
14.10.2005 has been filed by Shri Ganesh Singh, Member of Parliament, Satna,
Madhya Pradesh through his Lawyer against “Samaria Express” Hindi weekly,
for publication of a series of false and baseless news items dated 17.8.2004,
23.8.2005, 6.9.2005 and 13.9.2005 as under:-
1.    MÉhÉä¶É ~ÉäÉÊBÉEªÉÉ ºÉä ÉÊàÉãÉä& {ÉÖÉÊãÉºÉ SÉÉèBÉExxÉ Dated 17/8/2004
      Ganesh met Thokia: Police Vigilant
2.    ºÉÉƺÉn MÉhÉä¶É É˺Éc BÉEÉä ABÉE +ÉÉè® àÉÆjÉÉÒ xÉä vÉÉäªÉÉ Dated 23/8/2005
      Ganesh Singh, MP gets clean sweep from one more Minister
3.    xɶÉä àÉå vÉÖiÉ ºÉÉƺÉn xÉä ®ÉiÉ àÉå lÉÉxÉÉ PÉä® ÉʺÉ{ÉÉcÉÒ BÉEÉä ºÉº{Éähb BÉE®ÉªÉÉ Dated 6/9/2005
      Drunken MP gheraos the police station to get one constable suspended.
4.    BÉDãÉäBÉD]® =àÉ®É´É xÉä ÉÊ{ÉE® ºÉÉƺÉn MÉhÉä¶É É˺Éc BÉEÉä vÉÉäªÉÉ Dated 13/9/2005
      Collector Umrao gives yet another clean sweeps to Ganesh Singh,
      MP.
       The complainant submitted that the editor of Samaria Express is a
confused minded person and failed to appreciate the good work done by any
Member of Parliament or politician. The complainant submitted that he had
made written request on 22.7.2004 to the Railway Minister, Government of
India for operating some trains from Riva, Satna and recommended stoppage
of some enroute trains, but the editor misconstrued and misunderstood the letter
written to Railway Minister and published the news on 23.8.2004 putting him
in bad light as if all his recommendations were brushed aside. Regarding the
news item dated 6.9.2005 the complainant has submitted that the same was
published with ill intention to increase the sale in the market. Regarding the

                                                136
news item dated 13.9.2005 the complainant submitted that it was published
only to damage the image and popularity of the elected Member of Parliament
from his home constituency, Satna. The complainant requested the Council to
take necessary action in the matter as deemed fit and proper. The complainant
in his letter dated 14.9.2005 asked the editor to publish the contradiction which
was not done.
Written Statement
      A show-cause notice was issued to the respondent editor, Samaria Express
on 19.12.2004.
        The respondent editor, “Samaria Express”, in his written statement dated
27.12.2005 has denied having damaged the complainant’s reputation. The
respondent has submitted that Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta has listed the
complainant as corrupt and accused and the list can be seen in website of M.P.
Lokayukta, Bhopal. The respondent has submitted that the cases are pending
against the complainant in the court of special A.D.J. Satna under Sections
420, 467, 468, 471, 20 & 120 (B), 511/34-IPC & Anti Corruption Act 1988
under Sections 13(1)(D), 13(2) & 15. The respondent has submitted that the
Court of Judicial Amarpatan, District Satna has issued an arrest warrant against
complainant in a criminal case No. 16/04 under Sections 420,467,217, & 166
IPC alleging forgery. The respondent has submitted that M.P. High Court Jabalpur
had removed the complainant from the Chairmanship of Zila Panchayat Satna
by an order dated 14.9.2004 in petition No. 3497/04 filed by Shri Ramphal and
Ram Singh resident of Village, Aber, District Satna. The respondent has submitted
that an inquiry of CBI was ordered against the complainant by the forest
department in corruption case. The respondent has submitted that a murder
case against the complainant is also under investigation by the local police and
the said case was discussed in the Vidhan Sabha. The respondent has submitted
that the complainant had dialogue with dacoit Thokia on his cell phone No.
9425172508 between May 2004 to March 2005. the respondent has submitted
that the news items were true and based on facts.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
31.01.2006 for information.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was called out for hearing by the Inquiry committee at New
Delhi on 5.5.2006. Shri S.L. Patel, Advocate represented the complainant while
there was no appearance on behalf of the respondent.
Matter Adjourned
       The counsel for the complainant requested for adjournment on the ground

                                      137
that the Senior Advocate who was to appear in the case was not available. The
Inquiry Committee adjourned the matter to be listed before it in one of its future
meetings with the direction that no further adjournment would be granted on
any ground.
        The directions of the Inquiry Committee were conveyed to both the
parties, vide Councils letter dated 24.7.2006.
Rejoinder of the Complainant
        The complainant filed his rejoinder dated 8.8.2006 in response to the
written statement of the respondent editor reiterating his complaint and stating
that the respondent has totally misconceived the facts nurturing bad feelings
and was continuously trying to tarnish his image in the public by finding faults,
collecting materials of the proceedings without any base. The respondent having
no conclusive proof tried to forecast or imagine the contingencies and cooked-
up a false story. The respondent acted in malafide manner though he was
expected to be a responsible and impartial and duty bound not to take undue
advantage of the freedom of the press. The respondent actively worked to disturb
peace by playing with public opinion and norms of democracy. The complainant
further stated that the documents attached with the written statement naming
him as an accused in the case under Sections 166, 218, 420, 467, 467(a) IPC
have nothing to do with the act committed by him and allegations made in the
complaint herein that were based on the documentary proof.
      The complainant has submitted that as far as removal from the post of
Chairman of Zila Panchayat, Satna was concerned it was matter of record as he
could not hold two posts. The complainant was elected as Chairman of Zila
Panchayat and later on the complainant was elected Member of Parliament,
Lok Sabha, Satna, Madhya Padesh.
       The complainant further stated that reply of the respondent was wrong,
false, misconceived, malafide and hence denied. The complainant submitted
that for the betterment of his constituency for the welfare of public he had
written to the Railway Ministry on 22.7.2004.
       The complainant requested the Council to pass an order for cancellation
of registration of Samariya Express and to pay Rs.2,51,000/- as litigation cost/
expenses of the case to the complainant.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 22.8.2006. Shri C.M. Patel, advocate represented the complainant
while Shri Sharad Audichya, respondent editor appeared in person.

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Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
         Learned counsel for the complainant in his oral argument reiterated the
submissions in the rejoinder. He added that there were many newspapers in the
district but the respondent, to increase the circulation was publishing defamatory
news against the complainant since the day he was elected to the Parliament.
He argued that till the decision of the cases by the curt the respondent could not
publish about the cases. On being asked by the Committee, as to whether the
cases were pending against the complainant as detailed by the respondent editor,
the learned counsel was unable to answer.
      The respondent editor stated that the news reports were based on facts
and were true. The complainant had relations with the dacoit Thokia. The local
administration had the records of this fact. Explaining the meaning of the word
“dhoya” the editor explained that it meant ‘not accepted’. He added that other
newspapers viz., Agni Ban and Dainik Jagran had also published about the
complainant regarding cheating the railways.
      After conclusion of the hearing of the case, the counsel for the
complainant stated that he wanted to file some more documents in support of
the complaint and that he had the instructions to seek adjournment.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       At the outset, the Inquiry Committee expressed its displeasure over the
act of the learned counsel for the complainant in requesting for adjournment
after the conclusion of the hearing. The Inquiry Committee did not grant
adjournment and proceeded to dispose of the matter on merits.
      On perusal of the record, the Inquiry Committee noted that the
complainant was a Member of Parliament and a public person. Thus, his conduct
and action were open to public scrutiny more than that of a private person.
Based on principles of precedence, the Council has drawn up norms on reporting
concerning public persons which can be reproduced here to advantage:-
       “Right to privacy is an inviolable human right. However, the degree
of privacy differs from person to person and from situation to situation.
The public person who functions under public gaze as an emissary/
representative of the public cannot expect to be afforded the same degree of
privacy as a private person. His acts and conduct as are of public interest
(‘public interest’ being distinct and separate from ‘of interest to public’)
even if conducted in private may be brought to public knowledge through
the medium of the press”.
        Another argument raised by the complainant related to the respondent’s
right to report on matters pending before law courts. The arguments was also

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not acceptable as the press has full rights to report on pending cases subject to
condition that it did not pre-judge the issue. Norm 12(a)(i) elucidates the
position thus:-

               Excepting where the court sits ‘in-camera’ or directs otherwise,
       it is open to a newspaper to report pending judicial proceedings in a
       fair, accurate and reasonable manner. But it shall not publish
       anything:-

       -     Which, in its direct and immediate effect, creates a substantial
             risk of obstructing, impeding or prejudicing seriously the due
             administration of justice; or

       -     Is in the nature of a running commentary or debate, or records
             the paper’s own findings, conjectures, reflection or comments
             on issue, sub judice and which may amount to abrogation to the
             newspaper the functions of the court; or

       -     Regarding the personal character of the accused standing trial
             on a charge of committing a crime.

        The Committee, however, agreed with the argument of the counsel for
the complainant that in the impugned articles, the respondent had not employed
a temperate and restrained language. While the newspaper has a right or even
an obligation to apprise the public about the actions and conduct of its elected
representative, such narration did not require the use of sweeping terms
employed in the impugned article, like ‘dhyoa’ which denoted that every
proposal of the M.P. was being consigned to the bin. An elected representative
is duty-bound to convey the requirements of his constituency to the government
for its consideration, which may or may not be accepted on the ground of
various components, but it is improper to run down the representative of the
public on this ground.

        Thus, concluding its observations, the Inquiry Committee recommended
to the Council that while the impugned articles disclosed sufficient public interest
to have been published, the editor may be advised to be careful in future in
selection of language to report facts or analyze them. With this, the complaint
may be close.

Decision of the Council

        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

                                        140
30)   Dr. Deshbandhu                             The Editor
      Principal                     Versus       Din Pratidin, Hindi daily
      Sanatan Dharma College                     Ambala Cantonment
      Ambala Cantonment                          Haryana
      Haryana
Complaint
       This complaint, dated 11.4.2005 has been filed by Dr. Deshbandhu,
Principal, Sanatan Dharma College (Lahore), Ambala Cantonment, (Haryana)
against Din Pratidin, a Hindi evening Daily, Ambala Cantonment (Haryana)
for publication of a series of allegedly malicious, concocted and baseless news
items:
1.    ‘Here Seminar on environment, there axe on trees’ dated 14.2.2005
      (It is alleged in Ist news item that Lecturer of the S.D. College, Ambala
      had lodged complaints with the Chief Forest Conservator & Ministry of
      Forests. Vice Chancellor of Kurukshetra University and Education alleging
      that the green trees had been axed without any approval and sold on
      nominal price. This was done when the college was holding seminar on
      environment. It is also alleged that this was done by none other then
      those who were propagating for environment protection and in the process
      digested a heavy amount).
2.    ‘S.D. College in a new state of controversy’ dated 15.2.2005
      (In the IInd news item, the newspaper has alleged that the S.D. College
      Ambala came into the controversies for constructing a new hall costing
      Rs. 2 crores by demolishing the Historical Hall. According to the staff of
      the college the Historical Hall was heritage while the new modern Hall
      being was smacking constructed      corruption).
3.    ‘S.D College is in financial scandal’ dated 16.2.2005
      ( In the 3rd news item, the newspaper has alleged misuse of College
      Fund and scam in purchases of tree plants).
4.    ‘The Principal’s way of functioning is mysterious’ dated 17.2.2005
      ( In the 4th news item the newspaper reiterated the allegation of scam
      against the Principal and further alleged that his brother, who is also a
      Principal in SD College in Himachal Pradesh was an accused in scam
      and arrested by police).
5.    ‘Gupta family unhappy with the attitude of S.D. College’ dated
      22.2.2005
       (In 5 th news report, the newspaper quoted the deceased family of a

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      Professor died during service that the Principal had no courtesy to send
      any condolence message).
6.    ‘Big Boss took “class” of the staff’ dated 25.2.2005
      (The last news report is satirical about meeting of the Principal with
      subordinates where the Principal discussed how to handle the respondent
      newspaper. The subordinate suggested that legal, notice could be issued
      or contradiction can be published in some other newspapers).
       The complainant has alleged that the impugned news items are false,
baseless and defamatory to the Principal and his staff as well as members of
his own family. The respondent violated the norms of journalistic ethic by
publishing the news item in question without pre-publication verification and
also not publishing the rejoinder sent by him thereby denying him his right of
reply.
     Show cause notice was issued to the respondent – Editor, Din Pratidin,
Ambala Cantonment on 27.7.2005.
Written Statement
        The respondent editor, Din Pratidin, Ambala Cantonment in his written
statement dated 13.8.2005 alleged that the complainant tried to mislead the
Council by furnishing the clippings of the news items dated 14, 15, 16, 17, 22
and 25 February 2005 and hiding the fact that another news item dated 28
February 2005 was also published under the captioned ‘Teachers have no
knowledge of yellow journalism’ wherein the complainant’s letter dated
23.2.2005 along with the resolution of the Staff Council of the College was
published. The respondent has submitted that they had no intention to degrade
either the college or the principal and his family. The newspaper was ready to
publish clarification of the college if anything wrong, is published.
      A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant for
information on 4.10.2005.
Counter Comments
          The complainant in his counter comments dated 13.12.2005 has
submitted that the 13 trees that were felled had completed their maximum age
and no objection certification had been obtained from the Forest Department.
Moreover 77 new trees were planted. The complainant has submitted that the
13 trees fell down had completed their maximum age. The complainant has
submitted that publication of 28th February 2005 captioned “Teacher have no
knowledge about yellow journalism” was also defamatory to the teachers. The
complainant submitted that the news were published in Din Pratidin only and
no news of such type were published in other newspapers. The complainant

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while reiterating the allegations levelled in the complaint has requested to take
necessary action against the respondent.
Ist Adjournment
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 5.5.2006. S/Shri Rajiv Chander and U.V. Singh appeared on behalf of
the complainant while the respondent editor vide his letter dated 12.4.2006 had
expressed his inability to appear before the Committee due to personal reasons.
He requested for adjournment of the case.
       The representative of the complainant submitted that due to ill health
the Principal of the College was unable to appear before the Committee. He
requested for adjournment to enable the Principal to appear before the Committee
personally. He also filed some additional papers.
      On the request of the complainant as well as the respondent the Inquiry
Committee adjourned the matter for being posted before it in one of its future
meetings.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
        When the matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee,
there was no appearance before it from either side. The respondent had, vide
his letter dated 21.8.2006, submitted that a settlement had been arrived at
between the two parties. It was further submitted that the complainant’s version
had been published in full. The editor also expressed regrets for publication of
one sided news reports.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       The Inquiry Committee noted from the record that despite service of
notice the complainant neither appeared before the Committee nor had any
communication been received from him. The Committee observed that after
publication of the clarification the complainant may not be interested in pursuing
the complaint further. Further, the respondent editor had made adequate amends
by publishing the clarification of the complainant to his satisfaction and thus
no further action was warranted in the matter. However, it directed that a copy
of the letter dated 21.8.2006 of the respondent editor may be sent to the
complainant for record.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

                                       143
31)    Dr. Ashok Khemka, IAS                  The Editor
       District Magistrate          Versus    The Hindustan Times,
       Kaithal                                (Late City Edition), Chandigarh
       Haryana                                New Delhi
Complaint
       This complaint dated 16.6.2005 has been filed by Dr. Ashok Khemka,
IAS, District Magistrate, Kaithal, Haryana against The Hindustan Times, New
Delhi Late City Edition (Chandigarh) for publication of allegedly false and
misleading news items:
1.    “NOCs to oil outlets spark row”
      ‘Khemka, Malik cross swords’
                    The Hindustan Times, Chandigarh 10.6.2005
2.    “Hooda announces relief for dust storm victims”
       ‘CM gives assurance to scribes’
                    The Hindustan Times, Chandigarh 12.6.2005
      The complainant has submitted that he was shocked to read under the
sub-head, “Khemka, Malik cross swords”, where he was shown under quotes
as:
        “..Khemka, when contacted, however, insisted he was very much within
his right to withdraw the NOCs. He said Section 150 of Petroleum Rules clearly
laid down that a “No objection certificate granted under Rule 144 shall be
liable to be cancelled by the district authority or the state government.”
       The complainant has submitted that the quote attributed to him is totally
false and misleading, as no action under Rule 150 had been taken against any
petrol pump till date since his joining as District Magistrate, Kaithal on
14.3.2005. The complainant has submitted that lawful action under the rules in
public interest had been taken/initiated against 19 petrol pumps, which was
widely appreciated, and debated during question hour in the June 2005 session
of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha. The complainant has submitted that he was not
contacted as alleged by the reporter, Mr. Surinder Miglani for taking cross version
to Mr. Malik’s alleged remarks. The complainant has submitted that the
correspondent was contacted on 10.6.2005 and requested to issue the necessary
corrigendum. The correspondent informed that the necessary corrigendum had
been sent to the Chandigarh office of The Hindustan Times. The complainant
has submitted that both Mr. Kanwar Sandhu, Regional Editor of The Hindustan
Times, Chandigarh and Mr. Vir Sanghvi, Editor of The Hindustan Times were
requested vide fax message dated 11.6.2005 to correct the quote falsely attributed

                                       144
to him and misleading to an average reader but it was disappointing that the
same had not appeared in The Hindustan Times. The complainant has submitted
that instead of covering up the fault, the correspondent falsely alleged that the
complainant had issued threat to him and the same was published on page 5 of
the newspaper, The Hindustan Times on Sunday, June 12, 2005 attempting to
tarnish his reputation. The complainant has requested the Council to direct the
newspaper, The Hindustan Times to publish the denial prominently along with
an unqualified apology for publishing false and defamatory news item of a
threat to its reporter by the complainant.

Written Statement

        In response to Council’s show cause notice dated 22.7.2005 for filing
written statement in the matter the respondent, The Hindustan Times filed its
written statement at the time of hearing on 4.5.2006. The respondent submitted
that the news item published on 10.6.2005 was correct. He stated that Dr. Khemka
called the reporter in his office on 8.6.2005 and gave him some facts regarding
cancellation of NOCs for retail outlets issued by his predecessor. He also gave
some photocopies of the documents which are with the reporter and on which
Dr. Khemka scribbled some words and made some sketches and underlined
and ticked several words and sentences to clarify his point. He also stated that
Dr. Khemka also gave the reporter a file cover of Government of Haryana and
scribbled certain points on it to elucidate his stand in his own handwriting.

        The respondent has submitted that the reporter once again met Dr.
Khemka to take his version that he (Dr. Khemka) had power to cancel the
NOC. In this regard, Dr. Khemka handed over relevant portion of the Petroleum
Rules, 2002 to the reporter and in the said Rule, he has written some points
towards the end. The respondent has submitted that a copy of the Petroleum
Rules handed over by Dr. Khemka to the reporter can be perused by the Council
at the time of hearing.

       The respondent clarified that Dr. Khemka had a grievance that he acted
under Rule 149 and not Rule 150 of the Petroleum Rule, 2002 and the newspaper
had wrongly quoted Rule 150. The respondent stated that careful perusal of the
news report indicates that the reporter had not mentioned that he had acted
under Rule 149 or Rule 150. The respondent further stated that above all the
reporter and the local editor agreed to publish a clarification to this effect, but
as the complainant insisted to them to deny the facts that the reporter has
contacted him, which was not possible, the contradiction could not be published.
After publication of the impugned news item on 10.6.2005 the complainant
threatened the reporter and the resident editor and stated that he would teach
them a lesson.

                                       145
      The respondent submitted that there is no merit in the complaint filed by
Dr. Khemka and prayed to the Council to dismiss the complaint.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 5.5.2006. Shri Gaurav Aggarwal, Advocate appeared for the respondent
newspaper. The complainant vide his letter dated 2nd May 2006 requested for
adjournment on the ground that he was posted as General Observer for the
Tamil Nadu State Legislative Assembly Elections, 2006 by the Election
Commission of India from 20.4.2006 to 11.5.2006.
Matter Adjourned
       On the request of the complainant, the Inquiry Committee decided to
adjourn the matter for being posted before it at one of its future meetings.
        A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant vide
office letter dated 25.7.2006 for his rejoinder.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 22.8.2006. S/Shri Gaurav Aggarwal, advocate and P. Mehta appeared
for the respondent newspaper. The complainant vide his letter dated 19.8.2006
expressed his inability to appear before the Committee. He requested that the
matter may be decided on its merits.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       Learned counsel for the respondent stated that they were willing to
publish the clarification that Mr. Khemka had take action under Rule 149 and
not 150 but the complainant wanted that whole report should be negated which
was not possible. They had evidence in the form of Mr. Khemka’s own hand
writing of his discussion with the reporter. Thus there was no question of
withdrawing the report. He also produced copies of it for the Committee’s
perusal.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       The Inquiry Committee carefully considered the material on record. It
noted that the grouse of the complainant was over attributing to him statements
he had not made. He had also denied having met the reporter. The respondent’s
stand had been forwarded to him which he had failed to counter. Now the
respondent had produced evidence of its reporters discussion with the
complainant. Apparently the complainant is unable to substantiate his case.
The Inquiry Committee also observed that both the news items were balanced
reports and no malafide could be attributed behind impugned publications. On

                                      146
the other hand, the respondent in his written statement had alleged that the
complainant threatened both the resident editor and the reporter after publication
of the news reports and declined to avail of the offer of publication of a
clarification. It therefore, did not find any substance in the complaint. The Inquiry
Committee thus recommended to the Council to dismiss the complaint being
devoid of merits.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

32)    Shri Tasneem Ahmed              1. The Editor
       Chief Conservator of Forests       Lokmat, Marathi Daily
       Amravati                 Versus    Nagpur
       Maharashtra                        Maharashtra
                                       2. The Editor
                                          Lokmat Samachar, Hindi Daily
                                          Nagpur, Maharashtra
Complaint
        These three complaints dated 9.3.2005, 7.4.2005 have been filed by
Shri Tasneem Ahmed, Chief Conservator of Forests, Amravati, Maharashtra
against ‘Lokmat’, Marathi Daily, and Lokmat Samachar, Hindi Daily, Nagpur
alleging publication of allegedly false and fabricated stories captioned “Three
Chief Conservators of Forests of State on leave at the same time”, “CBI to look
into Rahul Gopal’s Nagpur episodes, Tiger Skin missing for ten years: Inquiry
afoot” and “Chief Conservator of Forests scorns State protocol”, “Spend one
crore within two days” in its issues dated 24 th January, 24 th January, 27 th
February 2005 and 31.3.2005 respectively.
        The complainant has submitted that no case was pending against him
anywhere including Government of India and during the said leave period he
had not gone to New Delhi for any purpose whatsoever, as alleged in the
newspaper reports. He had never certified any forest land to be “non-forest
land” anytime. The complainant further submitted that no case had ever been
filed in any High Court against him and he had never been fined Rs. 10,000/-
or any amount by the High Court as claimed by the publishers of Lokmat daily.
The publishers with their wild imagination fabricated the story and mischievously
printed false news to cause harm to his reputation for the reasons best known to
them. The complainant submitted that similar position was with regard to other
news item related to Shri Rahul Gopal, the former DIG Police, Nagpur Range.

                                        147
The story retaking to hunting of Tiger in Umred Forest was absolutely false,
fabricated and baseless. The complainant submitted that it had no trace of truth
and had been printed with the only intention to malign his image in police and
among his subordinates. The complainant submitted that there was no truth in
the news item related to protocol as well as published on 27th February 2005, in
fact he had paid respect to the Hon’ble Minister in the morning of 24th February
2005 itself on his arrival. The complainant submitted that these facts were brought
to the notice of the respondent editor vide letter dated 9.3.2005 but the respondent
did not respond.
        The complainant submitted that the story in two dailies on 31.3.2005
about his so-called instructions to subordinates to spend the fund before close
of the year was absolutely false, baseless and fabricated. He submitted that the
editor only to malign his image has published it. The complainant submitted
that it was absolutely false to say that a grant of Rupees One core meant for the
Deputy Conservator of Forests, Buldhana remained pending in Forest Circle
Office for one month, and he issued cheque of this amount to Sri Sanjiv Gaur ,
Deputy Conservator of Forest, Buldhana on 29th March with the instructions to
spend the same before 31st March. It was also false that similar action had been
taken earlier at Dharni. The complainant submitted that it was false that 99
thousand rupees were given for digging well and no work was done. This was
nothing but wild imagination of the dailies for the reasons best known to them.
The complainant requested that they must be called upon to furnish evidences
to substantiate their contention. These facts were brought to the notice of the
respondent editor vide letter dated7.4.2005 by the complainant but the
respondent editor did not respond.
Written Statements
       Show cause notices were issued to the respondent editors on 22.7.2005,
18.8.2005 and 26.9.2005.
         The respondent editor in his written statement dated 20.12.2005 submitted
that the news item which were published in the Lokmat were based on the
information received from reliable sources which are always anonymous
because anonymity is basic condition of the source giving the information and
it is the moral duty of the newspaper to preserve their secrecy in order to protect
them from victimization. The respondent submitted that it was the primary duty
of the complainant to establish that the facts mentioned in the news were false.
The respondent submitted that the complainant was in best position to explain
as he was having custody of the relevant documents specially the audited
statement of his department from which he could demonstrate whatever
published was false, but he opted not to file any documents in his support and
this fact alone was sufficient to draw adverse inference against the complainant

                                        148
and rejection of complaint. The respondent submitted that they performed their
public duty by publishing the news that was not false. The respondent submitted
that there was no malafide intention in publishing the same nor it was fabricated
one.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
10.1.2006 for information.
Ist Adjournment
      The matters were called out for hearing before the Inquiry Committee at
Pune on 8.2.2006. S/Shri O.K. Mahajan, Divisional Forest Officer (Vigilance)
and N.B. Gudge, Deputy Forest Officer, Planning were present before the
Committee while the respondent editor had requested for adjournment as he
was unable to attend the hearing due to unavoidable circumstances.
      The representative of the complainant reiterating the averments made in
the complaint stated that onus of proof of substantiate the allegations made in
the impugned report lies with the respondent.
        On being asked by the Committee as to whether it was a fact that suddenly
the three officers went on leave, he replied in affirmative but claimed that this
was due to personal reasons. He added that the complainant was given clean
chit in the inquiry and there was nothing against him. The Inquiry Committee
inquired from the representative as to when the inquiry was concluded and
what were its findings. The complainant’s representative requested for
adjournment to enable them to file relevant documents.
       As the respondent editor had also requested for adjournment, the Inquiry
Committee while adjourning the matter, directed the complainant, through his
representative, to file all the relevant documents, he had in his possession to
present his case and also file rejoinder to the written statement of the respondent
with the copy to the respondent.
IInd Adjournment
      The matters were taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 13.7.2006.
        The complainant vide his letter dated 11.7.2006 requested for
adjournment on the ground that the Monsoon Session of Maharashtra Legislative
Assembly was going on and many legislative matter needed his urgent personal
attention. Request for adjournment was also received from the respondent.
       On the request of the parties, the Inquiry Committee adjourned the matter.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matters were again taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee

                                       149
at Hyderabad on 21.9.2006 together with the counter complaint by Lokmat.
None of the parties entered appearance before the Inquiry Committee. The
personnal Manager of the Lokmat in a fax dated 20.9.2006 requested for
adjournment of the case due to unavoidable work.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       The Inquiry Committee noted that the complainant had neither supported
his case with documentary evidence sought by the Inquiry Committee at the
time of first hearing nor entered appearance on previous two occasions in these
matters or to the counter complaint. The Inquiry Committee thus gained the
impression that the complainant was not seriously interested in pursuing his
grievance. It thus decided to recommend to the Council to dismiss all the three
complaints.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

33)   Shri Shafi-ur-Rahman                      The Editor
      Proprietor, Asha Arts  Versus             The Times of India
      Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh                 Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Complaint
       This complaint dated 15.4.2004 has been filed by Shri Shafi-ur- Rahman,
Proprietor, Asha Arts, Hyderabad against “The Times of India”, Hyderabad
objecting publication of a baseless, false and misleading news item captioned
“Bigger is better for politics’ poster boys” in its issue dated 18.3.2004 of
“Hyderabad Times”. The objectionable portion of the impugned news item
read as follows:-
                  “…Each shed rakes in a mind-blowing Rs.50 lakh
        during the elections. Says Rahman of Asha Arts, which recently
        got an order from a political party, “For Bodhan constituency
        in Nizamabad, I have been asked to do 1,000 cut outs, 78
        hoardings, 40,000 banners and around 20,000 posters. And it
        is still early days yet. We also decorate jeeps, cars and autos.
        More politicians are now keen on decorating their vehicles.”
        For decorating a jeep, the artistes charges around Rs.10,000,
        while for autos, the fee is Rs.4,000…”
       According to the complainant, the impugned news item is baseless and
has been published without his permission. The complainant submitted that he

                                      150
has not given any interview for publication nor he got such an order. He has
nothing to do with politics and the politician and they were never his clients.
He alleged that by the false imputation the respondent has concocted false
story and circulated it. The complainant submitted that he has suffered business
losses due to the fact that his sizeable customer did not give him contracts of
work thinking that he was already overloaded with work. The complainant
further submitted that he approached the respondent editor and received an
evasive and unjustified reply.
Written Statement filed belatedly
      Show-cause notice was issued on 17.6.2004 to the respondent editor,
The Times of India, Hyderabad. The respondent did not file the written statement.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter came up for hearing before the Inquiry Committee on
21.9.2006 and 22.9.06 at Hyderabad, Shri Nissaruddin Ahmed Jeddy, Advocate,
appeared for the complainant, Shri S.Diwakar Reddy, Advocate represented
the respondent newspaper The Times of India.
Submissions before the Committee
        The complainant counsel in his oral and written submissions submitted
that the newspaper published a false story attributing statements to him allegedly
given during an interview. The counsel denied that any order from any political
party was given to the complainant. Due to the impugned news item, the
complainant suffered business loss and mental agony. The respondent sought
time to reply to the matter and since the written statement was also not on
record, as a special concession, the Committee adjourned the matter to the next
day.
        The counsel for the respondent filed written statement on behalf of The
Times of India on 22.9.2006 stating therein that statements attributed to one
Rahman of Asha Arts in the impugned report, had nothing to do with the
complainant. The publication disclosed the quantum of business done by the
people in the said business during election period. The respondent denied having
caused any harm to the complainant by publication of the impugned news
item. The counsel further submitted that the news item was not intended to
harm or defame the complainant. When asked by the Committee to establish
the identity of another Rahman of Asha Arts, he submitted that the editor who
looked after the matter at that time had since left, so they did not have complete
details, but Asha Arts may have belonged to Nizamabad and not Hyderabad.
He had, however, no defence to offer when it was pointed out that the impugned
report was published in Hyderabad Times and credited accordingly.

                                       151
Recommendations of the Committee
        The Inquiry Committee, at the very outset, did not appreciate filing of
written statement at such a belated stage. On merits, the Inquiry Committee
opined that no credence can be given to the submissions made in the written
statement that the news item did not relate to the complainant. In the opinion
of the Inquiry Committee, the impugned news item clearly identified the
complainant by name together with his firm Asha Arts. The newspaper failed
to bring on record the evidence to establish another establishment with the
same particulars. The impugned report, therefore, apparently lacked basis and
was cooked up. The Inquiry Committee felt that the compliant was bonafide
and the newspaper had not been able to substantiate the defence taken. It further
observed that it would have been appropriate for the newspaper to accept that
its correspondent may have erred and made necessary amends.
        In the circumstances, the Inquiry Committee considered a fit case to
uphold the complaint. Though, at this juncture, it did not find any remedial
action necessary, it decided to recommend to the Council to admonish the
respondent newspaper The Times of India, Hyderabad, for its incorrect and
false reports vis-à-vis, the complainant.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

34)   Shri J.V. Chalapathirao        Versus       The Editor
      District Public Relations Officer           Yadhardha Godhala
      East Godavari District                      Sanjeeva Rupam Vaaradhi
      Kakinada, Andhara Pradesh                   Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh
Complaint
        This complaint dated 24.7.2004 has been filed by Shri J.V. Chalapathirao,
District Public Relations Officer, (DPRO), East Godavari District, Kakinada in
the Information & Public Relations Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh
against “Yadhardha Godhala Sanjeeva Rupam Vaaradhi”, Telugu Evening daily,
Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh) for publication of a series of allegedly false stories
as follows:
 S.No.                           Caption                             Issue
 1.      DPRO’s office is under shadows of negligence-I-        16.6.2004
         Lack of co-ordination-Curse of Information Department.

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 S.No.                           Caption                           Issue
 2.       DPRO’s office is under shadows of negligence-II-         17.6.2004
          Clutcher of Information-Curtain of embezzelement.
 3.       DPRO’s office is under shadows of negligence-III-        18.6.2004
          DPRO poking knee to hinder progress.
 4.       DPRO’s office is under shows of negligence-IV-Bills      19.6.2004
          claimed for used furniture loss to exchiqure.
 5.       DPRO’s office is under shadows of negligence-V-          23.6.2004 &
          DPRO dozing in A.C. room on pretext of computer.         24.6.2004
 6.       DPRO’s office is under shadows of negligence-VI-         22.6.2004
          publicity if paid coppers-otherwise sorry.
 7.       DPRO’s office is under shadows of negligence-VII         23.6.2004
          - Boozee Chalapathi-Lusty Dalapathi.
 8.       DPRO’s office is under shadows of negligence-VIII  24.6.2004
          -What happened to the loans of your sons DKPRO Ji?
 9.       DPRO’s office is under shadows of negligence-IX-         24.6.2004
          Transparency buried in issued of accreditations.
 10.      DPRO’s office is under shadows of negligence-Likes       26.6.2004
          private parties-Ignores officers.
        The complainant denied having misused the office and submitted that
by publishing these articles, the respondent damaged his reputation among the
officers and public. The complainant submitted that a rejoinder to the respondent
was issued but the editor neither published it nor was any reply received from
him.
Written Statement
        In response to the show-cause notice dated 7.12.2004, the respondent-
editor in his undated written statement received on 7.1.2005, submitted that all
the news items were true and published only with the sole aim of avoiding
wastage of government funds, unnecessary expenditure, corruption that was
prevailing in the office of the DPRO and to establish transparency in the
government offices.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
29.4.2005 for information.
Report of the Inquiry Committee
         The matter came up for hearing before the Inquiry Committee on

                                      153
21.9.2006 at Hyderabad. The respondent editor, Ms… Chetana appeared before
the Committee. The complainant in a letter dated 16.9.2006 intimated about
superannuation and inability to appear before the Inquiry Committee due to
cardiac problem. The complainant requested that the proceedings may be
dropped.
      In view of the request of the complainant to drop his complaint, the
Inquiry Committee decided to close the complaint being withdrawn and
recommended to the Council accordingly.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

35)   Smt. Qamar Jehan Kausar                           The Editor
      Owner, Metro Lodge                    Versus      Eenadu
      Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh                         Hyderabad
Complaint
       Smt. Qamar Jehan Kausar, Owner of Metro lodge, Hyderabad filed this
complaint dated 18.9.2004 against Eenadu, Telugu daily, Hyderabad for
allegedly publishing a false, defamatory and derogatory article against her
husband a police officer and the Metro Lodge in its issue dated 14.8.2004.
       The complainant submitted that the impugned news item published on
14.8.2004 in the supplement issue of Eenadu in the columns ‘Watching Eyes’
titled “Under the shadow of Khaki uniform——sexual Tales” (English
translation) along with the photograph of the entrance of the Metro lodge.
Though the name of the lodge was not printed, a ‘Cryptic’ detail of the location
of the lodge was given in such a way that it pointed towards the lodge of the
complainant.
       The complainant stated that her husband is a police officer and in the
impugned article an impression was given to the public that the Lodge belonged
to him and was virtually being run as a ‘Brothel House’.
        The complainant further submitted that the respondent had given an
impression, that his Newspaper’s ‘Nigah Division’ had investigated and collected
information and found out that the lodge was run by an Inspector of Police,
who was working in the City Police, Hyderabad and as a result unauthorized
illegal, antisocial activities were going on over there without any fear and
that initiation of action against this Lodge was nothing, but fighting against a
sword.

                                      154
        It was stated in the impugned news item that the illegal activities going
on in this ‘Lodge’ since the past several years, were within the notice of the
higher Police authorities, but no action was being initiated. The Lodge was a
shelter for Dancers and Singers for their illegal, unauthorized and anti-social
activities. It was further stated that the ‘Lodge’ was virtually a brothel house
and all illegal, unauthorized and subversive activities were going on there and
though the police were taking action against other brothel houses, this Lodge
was being spared for reasons best known to them. The Lodge was enjoying
unprecedented patronage from the lowest to the highest police officials and no
one was ready to counter the illegal activities or raise an eye for the reason that
the lodge is run by an Inspector.
       Denying the allegations the complainant submitted that impugned news
item was false, created and fabricated and there was no truth in the same. Infact
the ‘Lodge’ was running legally in accordance with law and not even a single
case or complaint was registered against it. She alleged that the respondent
without making any verification or proof created a false and concocted story
without following any ethics or morals. According to her the respondent
published slanderous and outrageous article only to increase their circulation
which was most unethical and uncharacteristic.
       The complainant submitted that he had issued a legal notice to the
respondent but received no reply. She requested the Council to take necessary
action against the respondent editor for indulging in yellow journalism and
prayed that he should also be directed to publish that the news item was false
and misconceived and was printed mischievously.
     A show-cause notice dated 10.2.2005 was issued to the respondent editor,
Eenadu.
Written Statement
        The respondent editor, vide his letter dated 11.3.2005, filed his written
statement in the matter. According to the respondent the allegations levelled in
the complaint were false and vexatious and there were no merit in the complaint.
The respondent editor submitted that the impugned publication was a factual
report and a fair comment on the irregularities in the running of ‘Lodge’. He
alleged that the complainant had active support of her husband, who was a
police officer. The respondent submitted that the impugned news report was
published in good faith, in public interest as the issue relates to a matter of
public nuisance and a duty is cast upon the press to disseminate such news in
the interest of public. The alleged impugned news item related to irregularities
alleged in the running of a lodge. He submitted that the Contributor who filed
the news report made inquiries personally, as stated in the impugned publication.
According to the respondent, the impugned news item was published only in

                                       155
public interest for public good without any malice, ill-will or any intention to
defame the complainant and the same was published after making sufficient
inquiries and after taking due care and caution in reporting the issue. The
respondent requested to dismiss the complaint in limine. The respondent also
filed an affidavit of Mr. G. Narendar in support of their claim.
      A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant vide
Council’s letter dated 29.4.2005 for information.
Counter Comments
        The complainant in her counter comments dated 25.5.2005 submitted
that the written statement filed by the respondent was incorrect and without
any substance in support of their contention. The complainant submitted that
the respondent had to substantiate their claim of making such imputations of
irregularities in running of the ‘Lodge’ and active support of her husband who
was a police officer and they cannot get away by making a passing comment,
that the report was a fair comment. According to the complainant the respondents
were in the habit of making such publications defaming persons in public life
only to increase their circulation in the market. The impugned publication was
defamatory, derogatory and could never be termed as publication in good faith
without ill-will or malice. The respondents were required to produce proof of
the inquiries made by them and show how care and caution was taken by them
in reporting the issue. They have to substantiate each and every allegation
made by them in the article with substantial proof. In fact even the veracity of
the alleged affidavit of Shri Narendra contributor of the news was doubtful and
the respondents were called upon to prove the same, added the complainant.
The complainant further alleged that the respondent colluded with the Inspector
of Police, Vasusena, who due to professional rivalry was bent upon to tarnish
the image of her husband. In fact as per the admission made by the respondents,
it was amply clear that the respondents did collude with Vasusena, CI of P.S.
Abids, which itself was sufficient to publish them. The complainant mentioned
that she issued notices to Vasusena, CI of P.S. Abids, as she wanted to establish
her credentials, that there was no illegality in running the ‘Lodge’. Infact the
after math of the impugned article her husband, who is an Inspector of Police
was placed under suspension. Had he been so powerful as suggested by the
respondents, the question of his suspension would not have arisen. She further
submitted that the respondents made the defamatory and derogatory publication
without any proof and only to mislead the Council sent the alleged affidavit of
one G. Narender and they have got no proof to substantiate their claim made in
the article. She requested the Council to take action against the respondent
editor.
      A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent editor
vide Council’s letter dated 3.6.2005.
                                      156
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 21-22
September. 2006 at Hyderabad. Shri Deshmukh S.M., P.Ventakraman, Md.
Naseer Baig, Advocates appeared for the complainant. Shri R.E.C. Viddyasagar,
Law Officer, Eenadu, Hyderabad and Shri G.V.S. Jagannadha Rao, Advocate
appeared for the Respondent.
Submissions before the Committee
       The complainant’s counsel submitted that the Respondent newspaper
published the photograph of the complainant lodge with a story to show that
the lodge was a brothel house, running under police patronage. The counsel
denied any such activity in the lodge or patronage by the police.
       The Respondent counsel submitted that the complainant’s lodge enjoyed
under police patronage. The report in question was given by a regular contributor
who had personally visited the lodge as a decay customer. The said contributor
Shri G. Narendar of News Today had also sworn an affidavit dated 11.3.2005
in support of the news report. Having established that unlawful activities were
going on at the lodge, the publication was in public interest.
       At this juncture the complainant’s counsel submitted that the newspaper
cannot escape its responsibility by simply saying that an affidavit is given by
the Reporter.
       The counsel submitted that the impugned publication was intended to
tarnish the image of the complainant and her husband who was in the police
force. He also submitted that the impugned report had been published at the
behest of a colleague of her husband who was aggrieved against him and thus
inimical.
Recommendation of the Committee
        The Inquiry Committee, on consideration of the records and upon hearing
the learned counsels to the parties opined that the complainant had not been
able to satisfy the Inquiry Committee of the alleged animosity or malafide behind
the impugned report. On the other hand, the reporter had on affidavit affirmed
having verified the facts personally. In the opinion of the Inquiry Committee,
the impugned report had been published bonafide after genuine attempt of
verification by the Reporter and disclosed sufficient public interest for being
published. The Inquiry Committee thus decided that no action was warranted
against the respondent and recommended to the Council to dismiss the complaint.
Decision of the Council
       The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report

                                      157
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

36)    Shri M.A. Basith, IPS                                  The Editor
       DG & Inspector General of Prisons & Versus             Eenadu
       Correctional Services (I/C)                            Hyderabad
       Andhra Pradesh                                         Andhra Pradesh
       Hyderabad
Complaint
        This complaint dated 6.7.2004 has been filed by Shri M.A. Basith, IPS,
Director General & IG of Prisons & Correctional Services, Andhra Pradesh,
Hyderabad against “Eenadu”, Telugu daily, Nellore edition for publication of
an allegedly false and defamatory news item captioned “What is the intention
in shifting to Hospital” in its issue dated 10.12.2003. English translation of the
impugned news item reads as follows:-

               “Special Judge for ACB cases has passed orders
        remanding Nageswara Rao, Deputy Superintendent of Police,
        Chirala up to 21st of this month on being caught accepting
        bribe. Thus ACB officials have shifted him to district jail.
        Though he was healthy till he reached district jail, as soon as
        he entered jail premises, on the grounds of sickness he was
        suddenly shifted to Government Hospital. Doubts are being
        expressed on the performance of duties by jail staff and
        doctors. There are allegations that all facilities are being
        provided to him at present.”
       The complainant submitted that the news item was not only false but
also defamatory and published without even verifying the allegations that were
being made. He also submitted that the remand prisoner in question was confined
in the prison only and he was not sent to Government Hospital on 9.12.2003.
He alleged that the false news created wrong impressions in the minds of people
about the prison staff and Medical Officer of Central Prison, Nellore who were
discharging their duties as per rules.
       Regarding delay of approx. five months in filing the complaint, the
complainant submitted that the Superintendent Central Prison, Nellore
issued the rejoinder dated 11.12.2003 and 17.3.2004 but it was not published.
The Superintendent was asked to pursue with the respondent editor for the
publication of the rejoinder. Thus the delay was only on account of
correspondence and the same was not intentional or wilful. He prayed to condone
the delay.

                                       158
      Delay was condoned by the Hon’ble Chairman vide his order dated
10.1.2005.
     A show-cause notice dated 18.1.2005 was issued to the respondent Editor,
Eenadu.
Written Statement
        The respondent editor in his written statement dated 11.2.2005 while
denying the allegations submitted that the complaint was false and vexatious
and there were no merits in the complaint. He submitted that the impugned
publication was a factual report on the dramatic shifting of a remand prisoner,
who was a Deputy Superintendent of Police accused of corruption charges, to
the Government Hospital and the allegations of special treatment given to him.
He stated that the impugned news report was published in good faith, in public
interest as the issue relates to a remand order passed against a Deputy
Superintendent of Police who was arrested on charges on corruption. According
to the respondent, the journalist as well as his newspaper had strictly adhered
to the journalistic norms. There was no violation of norms or ethics by the
journalist. He submitted that the impugned news report was contributed by Mr.
Inosh Babu of Newstoday (P) Ltd., an agency which supplies news to Eenadu,
regularly. The Contributor vouches that he had gathered the information
personally and only after crosschecking the facts from the Anti-Corruption
Bureau official filed the news item. He filed an affidavit of the Contributor in
this regard and started to read it as part of this written statement with regard to
the claim of the complainant about sending a rejoinder to the staff reporter,
Eenadu, Nellore on 11.12.2003 and 17.3.2004. He submitted that no such
rejoinders had been received by the staff reporter of Newstoday (P) Ltd or even
by them. Raising objection on locus of the complainant, the respondent requested
to dismiss the complaint. The affidavit of the contributors affirmed the facts
and denied the receipt of rejoinder. It also offered publication of the rejoinder if
received.
      A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant vide
Council’s letter dated 18.3.2005.
Counter Comments
        The complainant in his counter comments dated 5.4.2005 submitted
that the statement of the editor was not satisfactory and infact he was trying to
somehow justify his paper’s reporting. The complainant submitted that the
affidavit filed by the news contributor itself stated that the prisoner in question,
when brought before the prison gate, felt high-tension as he was already
suffering with BP and Sugar. A prisoner suffering with high BP necessarily to
be provided with medical care and it could not be termed as dramatic shifting

                                        159
implying that the prisoner was unduly shifted to hospital. Even in the news
item it was stated as dramatic shifting, added the complainant. According to the
complainant, reporting of the fact is the papers duty, but false and malicious
reporting attribute malafide motives. The complainant further submitted that
the Superintendent immediately on noticing the news item issued a rejoinder
addressed to the news reporter and market a copy thereof to the Deputy Inspector
General of Prisons and this office, which was not published by the respondent
paper. The complainant alleged that the editor had been merely attempting to
shirk his responsibility and attempting to blame the news contributor and the
news agency which was a sister concern of the newspaper. Thus he was trying
to circumvent the proceedings. The complainant requested to proceed with the
inquiry and bring the errant journalist in the case to book.
      A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent editor
vide Council’s letter dated 19.4.2005 for information.
Appearance before the Committee
      The matter was taken up by the Inquiry Committee for hearing on 21/22
September 2006 at Hyderabad. Shri P. Narsimha Reddy, Addle I.G. of Prisons,
Chanchal Guda, Hyderabad appeared for the complainant. Shri G.V.S.
Jagannadha Rao, Advocate and Shri R.E.C. Viddyasagar, Law Officer, appeared
for Eenadu.
Submissions before the Committee
        The complainant averred that the remand prisoner was not sent to hospital
at all and was confined to Jail. The rejoinder sent to the respondent evoked no
response.
       The counsel for the respondent submitted that their contributor had filed
an affidavit to affirm that he was present when the officer was shifted. This
could not be proved on record because no entry of it had been made in records.
The news was published after proper verification. He added that the rejoinder
was not received by them. The learned counsel for the respondent offered to
publish the rejoinder of the complainant.
Recommendation of the Committee
       The Inquiry Committee observed that while the records before it were
not sufficient to establish the truthfulness of the report. The cannons of
journalistic ethics require that the Press allows right of reply to a person or
authority aggrieved by the alleging misreporting and in the instant case the
respondent newspaper has shown preparedness to carry the rejoinder of the
complainant. The Inquiry Committee directed the complainant to send a factual
rejoinder to the Respondent-Eenadu within a week. The Inquiry Committee
directed the Respondent Eenadu to publish the rejoinder and send the clipping

                                      160
to the Council as well as the complainant, within a fortnight. The Inquiry
Committee decided to recommend to the Council to dispose of the complaint
with these directions.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

37)    Shri P. Narasimha Reddy                                  The Editor
       DG & Inspector General of Prisons &           Versus     Eenadu
       Correctional Services (I/C)                              Hyderabad
       Andhra Pradesh
       Hyderabad
Complaint
        This complaint dated 2.12.2004 has been filed by Shri P. Narasimha
Reddy, DG & Inspector General of Prisons & Correctional Services (I/C), Andhra
Pradesh, Hyderabad against “Eenadu” (Telugu daily) for publication of an
allegedly false and defamatory news item under the caption “Humanity
imprisoned in Central Prison” (English translation) in its issue dated 1.8.2004
pertaining to the Nellore prison. The impugned news item alleged the negligent
attitude and the deficiencies in the foods and hospital facilities provided to the
prisoners in Central Prison.
        Denying the allegations, the complainant has submitted that the
allegations levelled in the impugned news items are absolutely malicious,
defamatory and false and it were based purely on the statement of an
irresponsible person. The complainant submitted that the publication damaged
the image of the Department in general and that of the Central prison, Nellore
in particular and adversely affected the morale of the staff.
         The complainant further submitted that the rejoinder dated 5.8.2004
issued by the Superintendent, Central Prison, Nellore and also by his office on
15.10.2004 was neither published by the respondent nor any reply was received
till date from him.
       Hon’ble Chairman, vide his orders dated 4.2.2005, condoned the delay
of two months in filing this complaint keeping in view the explanation given
by the complainant.
Written Statement
        In response to the show-cause notice dated 17.2.2005, the respondent
editor in his written statement dated 11.3.2005 submitted that all the allegations

                                       161
made in the complaint are false and vexatious. He submitted that the news item
in question is a fair comment based on the facts obtained from the Jail authorities
and the same purported to highlight the lack of facilities and commented about
the standards in District Central Prison, Nellore. The respondent further submitted
that the news report was published in good faith and in public interest for the
welfare of prisoners without any malice, ill-will or any intention to defame the
police department. He submitted that the news item in question was published
after making sufficient inquiries and caution in reporting the news item. The
respondent further submitted that maintenance of living standards in Jail and
providing facilities and treatment to prisoners was a matter of public concern
and a duty has been caste upon the press to disseminate such news in the
interest of prisoners for their good.
       The complainant further while replying the allegations stated that the
journalist who contributed the news report has always strictly adhered to the
journalistic norms. There has been no violation of norms or ethics by the
journalist. The contributor vouches that he gathered the information personally
and only after cross-checking the facts from the jail authorities filed the news
item. The respondent denied having received any rejoinder from the
complainant. He alleged that the complainant misdirected himself about the
purport of the news report. Even while making an offer of publication of
rejoinder in the local edition, the respondent submitted that the complaint is not
maintainable and liable to be dismissed in limine.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
26.4.2005 for information.
Counter Comments of the Complainant
        The complainant in his counter comments dated 1/6/2005 while denying
the allegation commented that humanity was imprisoned in Central Prison,
Nellore. Regarding the allegation that the Jail authorities were belittling the
prisoners, the complainant submitted that it was not merely false but outrageous
as the prisoners were treated in a humane way. He stated that the impugned
news item gave an impression that the prisoners were ill treated and their medical
needs were neglected which is not true. The complainant however admitted
that Central Prison, Nellore is suffering with shortage of man power, in spite of
which there were no security breaches nor any short fall in the service. Regarding
denial or receipt of the rejoinder by the respondent, the complainant submitted
that it was totally false and motivated. The complainant requested the Council
to proceed further in the matter.
       A copy of the counter comments of the complainant was forwarded to
the respondent on 11/7/2005 for information.

                                       162
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up by the Inquiry Committee for hearing on 21/22
September, 2006 at Hyderabad. Shri P. Narsimha Reddy, Additional Inspector
General of Prisons, Chanchal Guda, Hyderabad appeared for the complainant.
Shri G.V.S. Jagannadha Rao, advocate and Shri R.E.C. Viddyasagar, Law Officer
was present on behalf of the respondent newspaper Eenadu.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
        The complainant submitted that the jails of Anandra Pradesh were very
well maintained yet the newspaper described 7% excess prisoners in the jail as
over crowding. The news was intended to damage the image of the department
that the inhuman atmosphere was prevalent in the jail. The clarification sent to
the respondent twice was not published, in fact they declined to accept it.
        The respondent’s counsel submitted that the news was general in nature
and was supported by statistics and thus substantially true and thus constituted
fair comment.. The jail authorities had accommodated 540 prisoners against
the capacity of 500 prisoners. On the contrary the newspaper was helping the
jail authorities for making improvement in conditions of prisoners as well as
jail. On the advise of the Inquiry Committee, the counsel agreed to publish the
rejoinder with the comments of the paper.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        The Inquiry Committee on perusal of records and submissions made by
the parties, observed that the newspaper report about conditions of living of
prisoners in the Central Prison appeared to have been made for improvement
of the system. The authorities are expected to bring reforms as much as possible
without being sensitive to the criticism by the Press. However, to afford the
complainant right to reply the Inquiry Committee directed the complainant to
send his rejoinder under registered cover within a week from the date of hearing
to the Editor, Eenadu, Hyderabad and the respondent newspaper, Eenadu to
publish the rejoinder of the complainant within a fortnight of its receipt from
the complainant. The editor shall be at liberty to append his comments thereon,
if so desired. It also directed the respondent newspaper to send a copy of the
issue carrying the clarification to the complainant as well as the Council for
record.
       The Inquiry Committee decided to recommend to the Council to dispose
off the complaint with these directions.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.
                                      163
38)    Shri M.A. Basith, IPS                              The Editor
       DG & Inspector General of Prisons &         Versus Eenadu
       Correctional Services (I/C)                        Hyderabad
       Andhra Pradesh                                     Andhra Pradesh
       Hyderabad
Complaint
       This complaint dated 23.12.2004 has been filed by Shri M.A. Basith,
IPS, DG & IG of Prisons & Correctional Services, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad
against “Eenadu”(Telugu daily) for publication of an allegedly false and
defamatory news item under the caption “Paritala blames Y.S. and Jagan as
brain behind the plan of ‘Ananta’ munder case” in its issue dated 15.9.2004.
The impugned news item reads as follows:-
                 “Telugu Desam MLA Paritala Ravindra has alleged that
        the Congress people are indulging the committing murders in
        the name of Janarakshna Samithi and Red Star. He alleged that
        the State Chief Minister and his son Jaganmohan Reddy and
        the Anantapur DSP Bala Narsimha Reddy have links with these
        murders. He also alleged that Maddelacheruvu Suri, who is
        undergoing sentence in car bomb case is getting co-operation
        from all these persons. He disclosed this to the news persons at
        his native village. Suri, who is in the jail is encouraging bad
        elements through cell phone from the jail. If the cell phone
        number recorded in the cell phones of Y.S., Jagan and DSP
        while receiving telephones and while making outgoing calls are
        verified the truth and relationship between them will come out.
        It is responsibility to bring this information, which is available
        to him through reliable sources, to the notice of the police
        officers.”
       Denying the allegations, the complainant has submitted that the
allegations levelled in the impugned news item was absolutely malicious,
defamatory and false and it was based purely on the statement of an irresponsible
person. The complainant submitted that the publication has damaged the image
of the Department in general and that of the Central prison, Nellore in particular
and morale of the staff working adversely affected.
       The complainant has submitted that the rejoinder dated 15.9.2004 was
issued by the Superintendent of Jails, Central Prison, Cherlapalli but they did
not receive any reply from the respondent.
      Hon’ble Chairman condoned the delay of about 1½ months in filing the
complaint vide his order dated 4.2.2005.

                                       164
Written Statement
        In response to the show-cause notice dated 17.2.2005, the respondent-
Editor, Eenadu in his written statement dated 11.3.2005 denied the allegations
levelled in the complaint and stated that there were no merits in the complaint.
The respondent submitted that the impugned news item was a factual report on
the allegations made by Mr. Paritala Ravindra in a press conference at Ramagiri
Village of Venkatapuram Mandal. The impugned news item was made in good
faith and in public interest on entertainment of the criminals by the police
department; about usage of cellophanes in the jail premises as was evidenced
in the impugned news item published in issue. According to the respondent,
the journalist as well as his newspaper strictly adhered to the journalistic norms
and there was no violation of such norms ethics by them. He submitted that the
staff reporter who filed the report in question vouches that what all he reported
was based on the information furnished in a press conference. The respondent
informed that a similar publication was also made in Andhra Jyothi on 15.9.2004
(Impugned News item and its translation published in Andhra Jyothi furnished
by the respondent). The respondent also submitted that no rejoinder dated
15.9.2004 was received by them and as such it could not be published. Further
it was stated that Mr. Paritala Ravindra was killed recently. The respondent
further stated that the complainant misguided and misdirected himself about
the purport of the news report and he has no cause of action to file the petition
before the Press Council. He submitted that complaint was not maintainable
and liable to be dismissed in limine.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
26.4.2005 for information.
Counter Comments of the Complainant
        In his counter comments dated 28.5.2005, the complainant submitted
that the respondent newspaper attempted to take shelter under the publication
of the same news by the another newspaper which clearly establishes, shifting
of responsibility on the part of the respondent. He further stated that the statement
of the respondent that they did not receive rejoinder dated 15.9.2004 is totally
false and motivated. In fact the case originated on the basis of the rejoinder
issued by the Central Prison, Cherlapalli which was not published by the
respondent.
       The complainant further submitted that by not publishing their rejoinder
the respondent not only tarnished the image of the department in public eye
but also lowered down the morale of the men and officers of the department,
which is detrimental to public interest.
       A copy of the counter comments of the complainant was forwarded to
the respondent on 22.7.2005 for information.
                                        165
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up by the Inquiry Committee for hearing on 21/22
September, 2006 at Hyderabad. Shri P. Narsimha Reddy, Additional Inspector
General of Prisons, Chanchal Guda, Hyderabad appeared for the complainant.
Shri G.V.S. Jagannadha Rao, advocate and Shri R.E.C. Viddyasagar, Law Officer
was present on behalf of the respondent newspaper Eenadu.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       The complainant in his oral arguments before the Inquiry Committee
denied the allegations of use of cell phone made in the news item. The
respondent counsel submitted before the Inquiry Committee that the news item
was a coverage of the Press Conference of Telugu Desam MLA Shri Ravindra,
who has since died. It was the duty of the press to cover the comments being
made by a responsible person. The authorities did not send any rejoinder to
the report on merits.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
      The Inquiry Committee took note of the fact that according to the
respondent, the person who had given the statement in the Press Conference
was no more. The press was justified in covering his conference as the matter
was of public interest. The Inquiry Committee was therefore not inclined to
proceed with the enquiry and decided that no further action was warranted in
the matter. It recommended to the Council to allow the matter to rest.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

39)   Shri M.A. Basith, IPS               Versus The Editor
      Director General & IG of Prisons &         Eenadu, Telugu Daily
      Correctional Services, Andhra Pradesh      Hyderabad
      Chanchalguda
      Hyderabad
Complaint
       This complaint dated 22.8.2005 was filed by Shri M.A. Basith, IPS,
Director General & IG of Prisons & Correctional Services, Andhra Pradesh,
Chanchalguda, Hyderabad against “Eenadu” (Telugu daily) alleging publication
of a false and defamatory news item under the caption “Cherlapalli Jaillo
Arachaka Rajyam” in its issue dated 1.7.2005.

                                      166
        It was alleged in the impugned news item that unruliness was the order
of the day in Central Prison, Cherlapalli, which was known for its controversies
as prisoners were indulging in quarrelling often. It was also alleged that one
week ago when a female employee entered the prison on her duty a lifer,
Srinivasulu held her hand. She was shocked and complained to the
Superintendent but no action was taken against the prisoner. The female
employee went on leave and on the face of this insult she had been trying for
her transfer. The impugned news item further stated that the same prisoner also
behaved in a similar way when a woman came to see the jail and prison officers
were hesitating to take appropriate action inspite of these bad incidents, which
become strength for other prisoners. The news item also stated that there are
only 150 staff members for 1630 prisoners and this strength was not enough to
keep proper vigilance and there was no hope of increasing the staff in near
future. These jail officials should contain the unruly elements while working
for their reformation, otherwise the condition may become still worse.
        Denying the allegations, the complainant submitted that the allegations
levelled in the impugned news item was absolutely malicious, defamatory, false
and baseless. The complainant stated that no such untoward incidents had
occurred in the jail. It was quite common in the prison that some times hardcore
prisoners indulge in hot arguments, quarrelling and the action had been taken
against such prisoners at the right time. According to the complainant, the
prisoner, who held the hand of a woman employee was a psychic patient and
was dealt appropriately. In this incident there was no negligence on the part of
the prison officers. It is fact that, there was dearth of staff, but this will be
overcome soon. Hence, there was no bad situation as focused by the paper.
The complainant submitted that the publication had damaged the image of the
Department in general and that of the Central prison, Nellore in particular and
adversely affected the morale of the jail staff.
       The complainant submitted that the rejoinder dated 1.7.2005 issued by
the Superintendent of Jails, Central Prison, Cherlapalli was not published by
the respondent till date.
No Written Statement
      Show-cause notice was issued to the respondent-editor, Eenadu,
Hyderabad on 27.9.2005 but no response was received.
Appearance before the Committee
       The matter was taken up by the Inquiry Committee for hearing on 21/22
September 2006 at Hyderabad. Shri P. Narsimha Reddy, Additional Inspector
General of Prisons, Chanchal Guda, Hyderabad appeared for the complainant.
Shri G.V.S. Jagannadha Rao, advocate and Shri R.E.C. Viddyasagar, Law Officer
was present on behalf of the respondent newspaper, Eenadu.

                                      167
Submissions before the Committee
       The complainant submitted that the person namely, Srinivasulu,
mentioned in the news report was mentally retarded. The newspaper had vine
the news report to malign the Department as no such incident as referred in the
news had actually happened. The respondent also did not publish the rejoinder.
        The respondent submitted that the news report was a routine reporting
highlighting certain irregularities as well as misbehavior with female employee
in the jail premises. The crux of the reporting was to bring to the notice of the
authorities that there was dearth of staff in the jail and that the prisoners were
unruly. On being asked by the Inquiry Committee as to whether the said
employee had asked for transfer, the complainant replied in affirmative.
Recommendation of the Committee
        The Inquiry Committee at the outset expressed its unhappiness over the
failure of the respondent to file written statement. Thereafter, it considered the
material on record and the oral arguments put forth before it by the parties. It
noted that it was an irrefutable fact that the prisoner, mentally retarded or
otherwise, might have misbehaved with the woman employee who later on
asked for transfer. The Inquiry Committee held that the impugned report was
general in nature highlighting the circumstances prevalent in the jail and the
paucity of staff and their problems. The Inquiry Committee did not find fault in
the publication of the said report by the newspaper. The Inquiry Committee
opined that as the report was factually correct, no action was warranted in the
matter. It, therefore, recommended to the Council to allow the matter to be
closed as the respondent newspaper had not violated any norm of journalistic
conduct.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

40)    Shri M.A. Basith                               The Editor
       DG & Inspector General of       Versus         Eenadu
       Prisons & Correctional Services                Hyderabad
       Hyderabad
Complaint
      Shri M.A. Basith, DG & IG of Prisons & Correctional Services,
Chanchalguda, A.P., Hyderabad has filed this complaint dated 8.11.2005 against
‘Eenadu’, Telugu Daily for publishing allegedly false and defamatory news

                                       168
item captioned ‘In Chanchalguda Prison-Smoking of Ganja smells-Prisoners
Revolt as intoxication kicks headache for officers’ in its issue dated 31.8.2005.
       English translation of the impugned news item reads as follows:
               “One can not realize, till he comes across to the situation i.e. (to
       self). The plight of officers in Chanchalguda Jail has been like that. All
       these days though ganja is coming into jail in large quantity they never
       bothered. But, now it has become a major problem to them. This reason
       is the inmates are using foul language against the jail staff and revolting
       against them under the influence of ganja. Apprehending that it may go
       out of control and come to their neck the officers have identified the
       Gnajas addicts and shifted them to different barracks. Interestingly this
       barrack is where Mr. Varavara Rao & Kalyana Rao are also lodged.
       Some of the prisoners are kept in separate cells. Inspite of all these efforts,
       the supply of Ganja into jail has not stopped but increased significantly
       during the last week.
               Supply of Ganja into jail is a common thing, but this is more in
       Chanchalguda jail, since it is a remand jail & habituals will be coming
       here repeatedly. With this frequency not only the prisoners but also their
       relatives develop familiarity with some of the jail staff. This acquaintance
       with jail staff is a known fact. So when the relatives of inmates come for
       interviews they bring some essentials which in fact have to be checked
       and searched but the jail staff are not doing so. That’s why in Cherlapalli
       Jail which is famous as high-tech jail, cell phones were liberally used.
       The same thing hailed out several times. So in undivers security jail like
       Chanchalguda it is not difficult to send objectionable thing inside. Some
       prisoners while coming into the jail itself will bring their things, it is
       alleged. Added to it some guards on the watch towers while joining duty
       will bring ganja and sell to the prisoners, it is reliably learnt. Mainly this
       is happening in barrack No. 2 & 6 watch towers. The jail staff has got no
       powers to take action on APSP staff who guard watch towers, even if the
       officers want to take them to task. Since the jail staff also have some
       links with them, they are hesitating that is why the use of Ganja has very
       much increased in Chanchalguda Jail. As the prisoners are using foul
       language and revolting against the staff, the officers start taking action.
       Four days back a lifer in barrack No.2 was beaten and thrown in a cell
       when he revolted. Fearing that in the intoxication of Ganja they may
       resort to any untoward incidents 22 inmates were identified as addicts
       and shifted them to 8th barrack where Mr. Varavara Rao & Kalyana Rao
       are confined on security reasons. The reason for keeping the ganja addicts
       in barrack no. 8 is to stop supply of ganja. This reduces related
       problems”.

                                        169
        The complainant submitted that the impugned write up was malicious,
defamatory, false and baseless. According to the complainant, it was not true
that officers were neglecting to stop supply of Ganja into jail though it was
increasing. The staff at the gate thoroughly search the incoming and outgoing
prisoners. Whenever ganja is found during search, action is taken against the
accused in accordance with jail manual. Some prisoners on medical grounds
on the advise of the Jail Medical Officer and some notorious criminals are kept
in different barracks for security reasons. It was true that Superintendent, Central
Prison, Hyderabad had alerted the staff when the old criminals threw the Ganja
by putting it into rubber balls into barrack from highway where the APSP guards
watch tower. Further, it was not true, as reported, that the convict in barrack
No.2 rebelled and was beaten and shifted to cell. But the conditions in the jail
were not like as reported in the newspaper, added the complainant. The
complainant submitted that the impugned publication damaged the image of
the department in general and that of the Central Prison, Hyderabad in particular
and the morale of the staff working was adversely affected.
       The complainant further submitted that a clarification/rejoinder was issued
by the Superintendent, Central Prison, Hyderabad. But no response. The
complainant has requested the Council to take suitable action against the
newspaper for levelling false and baseless allegations and damaging the image
of the department.
No Written Statement
      A show cause notice dated 8.12.2005 was issued to the respondent editor,
Eenadu. No written statement was filed.
Appearance before the Committee
       The matter was taken up by the Inquiry Committee for hearing on 21/22
September, 2006 at Hyderabad. Shri P. Narsimha Reddy, Additional Inspector
General of Prisons, Chanchal Guda, Hyderabad appeared for the complainant.
Shri G.V.S. Jagannadha Rao, Advocate and Shri R.E.C. Viddyasagar, Law
Officer were present on behalf of the respondent newspaper, Eenadu.
Submissions before the Committee
       The complainant in his oral submissions before the Inquiry Committee,
submitted that the prison authorities had been making all possible efforts and
taking security precautions against supply of drugs in the jail premises. However,
the basic problem for the authorities was that the prisoners who frequently
moved in and out of the jail, would supply ganja in a rubber ball thrown
from outside the wall of the jail into the compound. They were taking all
necessary steps to check this. The clarification sent to the respondent was not

                                        170
published. Learned counsel for the respondent submitted that smuggling ganja
in the jail was not denied. The news report was substantially true and in fact
the paper supported the jail staff by urging the Government to appoint more
staff.
Recommendation of the Committee
        The Inquiry Committee noted that the Eenadu neither filed the written
statement despite service of show-cause notice nor was it represented before
the Inquiry Committee. It expressed displeasure over the callous attitude of the
respondent in ignoring the communication of the Council. On merits of the
case, the Committee noted that the entry of drugs in the jail has not been totally
denied by the complainant. Thus, the news was not without basis, and the
Committee opined, had been published after proper verification. However, in
order to afford opportunity of right to reply, the Inquiry Committee directed the
complainant to send a rejoinder for publication, if so desired and the respondent
to publish the same. The editor was at liberty to append a note of their stand to
the clarification. The Inquiry Committee recommended to the Council to dispose
off the complaint with above observations.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

41)    Shri M.A. Basith, IPS                                   The Editor
       DG & Inspector General of Prisons &          Versus     Andhra Jyothi
       Correctional Services (I/C)                             Hyderabad
       Andhra Pradesh, Chanchalguda                            Andhra Pradesh
       Hyderabad
Complaint
        Shri M.A. Basith, IPS, DG & Inspector General of Prisons & Correctional
Services, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad filed this complaint dated 18.10.2004
against “Andhra Jyothi” (Telugu daily) for allegedly publishing false and
defamatory news item captioned “Prisoners languishing in jail” (English
translation) in its issue dated 16.6.2004.
       In the impugned article the allegedly deplorable state of treatment of
prisoners was highlighted and jail authorities were charged with feeding the
prisoners with stale food, foul smelling food and food with worms. It was further
alleged in the impugned news item that the jail authorities were treating the
prisoners like creatures.

                                       171
       Denying the allegation, the complainant submitted that the impugned
write up was malicious, defamatory and false and it was based purely on the
statement of an irresponsible person. The complainant submitted that the
publication has damaged the image of the Department in general and that of
the Central Prison, Nellore in particular and morale of the staff working was
adversely affected.
       The complainant submitted that the rejoinders dated 17.6.2004 issued
by the Superintendent, Central Prison, Nellore and also by his office on
27.8.2004 but neither any reply was received from the newspaper nor the
rejoinder was published.
        Regarding delay of two months in filing the complaint, the complainant
stated that it was only on account of correspondence with the respondent and
not intentional or wilful. He requested to condone the delay.
      Hon’ble Chairman, Press Council of India condoned the delay vide order
dated 30.12.2005.
      A show-cause notice dated 4.1.2005 was issued to the respondent editor,
Andhra Jyothi.
Written Statement
         The respondent editor, Andhra Jyothi vide his written statement dated
14.3.2005 submitted that the news item in question published on 16.6.2004
based on the press note given by three women prisoners to news contributor of
Online, a news agency that regularly supplies them the news. According to the
respondent, such factual report published in good faith without any sort of
distortion in the public interest. The respondent submitted that considerable
effort was made in preparing the report and ascertaining the facts. Their news
contributor visited the Nellore Central Jail and based on the observations made
by him, after on the spot inquiry of the sorry state of affairs of functioning of
jails, prepared the report and the same was published. He denied the allegation
that the write up was malicious, defamatory and false and based purely on
statement of irresponsible person. The respondent further submitted that as the
news item was published on 16.6.2004 they did not publish the rejoinder as the
same was sent much later on 27.8.2004
Counter Comments
        The complainant in his counter comments dated 4.4.2005 while
reiterating his complaint submitted that the impugned reporting was not only
unverified but also irresponsible and defamatory. According to the complainant
the respondent ought to have verified the facts from the Superintendent of Jails
but he did not do so. Giving his point wise reply the complainant submitted as
follows:

                                      172
1.    Rice is supplied by the FCI and hence, quality of rice is not in the hands
      of the Superintendent.
2.    Food is cooked by the prisoners themselves. Therefore the prisoners
      employed in cooking food will not cook rice infested with warms but
      would clean it before working as they also have to eat the same food.
3.    All the articles of ration for cooking are issued to the members of prisoners
      Panchayath who check the quality and quantity.
4.    The Superintendent and the Medical Officer taste the cooked food
      regularly.
        Regarding the statement made by the respondent that considerable effort
was made in preparing the report, the complainant alleged that no effort was
made to verify the facts and publication of such irresponsible statements without
verification was against all canons of ethics. He submitted that on noticing the
news item the Deputy Inspector General of Prison (RR) submitted a detailed
report stating that the allegations made in the news item was false. The Chief
Editor was again addressed to publish the rejoinder but there was no response
from the respondent newspaper. Regarding the statement of the respondent
that they had reported what was told by three released women prisoners was
highly objectionable, added the complainant. According to the complainant, a
responsible newspaper cannot just write what was told by some irresponsible
people on the road without getting it verified with the concerned officers. Such
a reporting was definitely irresponsible, damaging to the image of a Government
department apart from being violative of journalistic ethics. He requested the
Council to initiate action against the respondent for publishing malicious,
defamatory and irresponsible reporting.
      A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent on
19.4.2005.
Appearance before the Committee
       The matter was taken up by the Inquiry Committee for hearing on
21.9.2006 at Hyderabad. Shri P. Narsimha Reddy, Additional Inspector General
of Prisons, Chanchalguda, Hyderabad appeared for the complainant. Shri K.
Rama Chandra Murthy, Editor, represented ‘Andhra Jyothi’, the respondent
newspaper.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       The complainant submitted that the newspaper published sensational
news to tarnish the image of the Department without proper verification giving
credence to the statement of some unreliable person. They held an inquiry and
found the charges to be false. The rejoinder was sent very next day but was

                                       173
ignored as was the next. He requested the Committee to direct the respondent
not to publish unfounded news to falsely defame the department, as that would
only strengthen the anti-social elements wanting to bring pressure on them.
        The respondent submitted that the reply in the matter has already been
filed that the report was based on information provided by women prisoners.
They tried to get an interview with the jail authorities but were refused. They
offered to publish the rejoinder of the complainant who accepted the offer
asserting that their only interest in filing the complaint was to protect the image
of the department and publication of rejoinder would satisfy them.
Recommendation of the Committee
        The Inquiry Committee considered the record and the oral arguments
advanced before it by the parties. At the first instance the Committee opined
that the respondent newspaper did not follow the standard norms of journalistic
ethics of carrying out pre-publication verification from the concerned authority.
However, in view of the offer of the respondent to publish the rejoinder of the
complainant, the Inquiry Committee directed the complainant to send a
composite rejoinder in response to the instant matter as well as two other matters
against ‘Andhra Jyothi’ heard simultaneously. The Inquiry Committee directed
the respondent-editor, ‘Andhra Jyothi’ to publish the rejoinder within a fortnight
of its receipt and send clippings to the Council as well as the complainant for
record. The Committee further observed that it had before it for consideration
more than dozen complaints by the jail authorities against four well-established
papers of Andhra Pradesh. In most of them, the impugned report had been
published without pre-verification and in the instant complaint, the paper had
averred that they had tried to interview the concerned authorities but were
unsuccessful. The Committee felt that the media and the authorities are two
very important pillars of our democracy and for the government to function
successfully in public interest a press as responsible as watchful is an essential
pre-requisite. Therefore, it would be in fitness of things if the prison authorities
develop a system of systematic briefing of the media and appoint a spokesperson
who could be accessed to obtain the official version of the authorities or
information that the press may receive and intended publishing. The Council
may consider advising the authority to examine and implement the observations.
The Inquiry Committee decided to recommend to the Council to dispose of the
complaint with these directions.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

                                        174
42)    Shri P. Narasimha Reddy                                   The Editor
       DG & Inspector General of Prisons &            Versus     Andhra Jyothi
       Correctional Services (I/C)                               Hyderabad
       Andhra Pradesh
       Hyderabad
Complaint
       This complaint dated 8.12.2004 has been filed by Shri P. Narasimha
Reddy, DG & Inspector General of Prisons & Correctional Services (I/C), Andhra
Pradesh, Hyderabad against “Andhra Jyoti” (Telugu daily) for publication of
an allegedly false and defamatory news item under the caption “Liquor, Private
food can be got in government hospital prison ward by bribing, otherwise hands
and legs are handcuffed”(English translation) in its issue dated 28.3.2004.
       The impugned news item charged the officials of prison of bribing,
negligent attitude and deficiencies in the food and hospital facilities provided
to the prisoners in Central Prison. It was alleged in the impugned news item
that some prisoners got admitted in the prison ward of the Government Hospital,
Cuddapah on the pretext of ill health and manage to get all facilities. The officials
belonging to Medical, Jail and Police departments were extending their help to
these prisoners by taking money.
       Denying the allegations, the complainant submitted that the allegations
levelled in the impugned news item were absolutely malicious, defamatory
and false and purely based on the statement of an irresponsible person. The
complainant submitted that the impugned publication damaged the image of
the Department in general and that of the Central Prison, Cuddapah in particular
and morale of the staff working had also been adversely affected.
       The complainant submitted that the rejoinder dated 3.4.2004 issued by
the Superintendent, Central Prison, Cuddapah and also by his office dated
29.9.2004 was neither carried by the respondent nor any reply received by
them.
      Hon’ble Chairman condoned the delay of about seven months filing in
complaint vide his order dated 2.2.2005.
Written Statement
        In response to the show-cause notice dated 9.2.2005, the respondent
editor, Andhra Jyothi submitted in his written statement dated 14.3.2005 that
the impugned news item was based on the personal inquiries made by the news
contributor of “Online”, a news agency that regularly supplies the news. They
further verified the matter and found that the news item was based on the
information furnished by some prisoners.

                                        175
       The respondent editor requested that an inquiry should be held to first
determine the maintainability of the complaint before adjudication on the facts
of the case.
Counter Comments
        The complainant in his counter comments dated 4.4.2005 submitted
that the written statement filed by the respondent newspaper was far from facts.
       Regarding the statement made by the respondent that the news item was
supplied to them by the news contributor of “Online”, a news agency and the
matter was verified and the news item was based on the information furnished
by some prisoners, the complainant stated that this stance itself was irresponsible
as no journalist or newspaper can just publish any news that is passed as to it
without getting it cross checked or verified from the concerned senior
departmental officer. According to the complainant, if the respondent had ever
made efforts to verify the facts, they would have known that the prisoners were
referred to outside hospital only where investigations or in-patient treatment
was felt necessary by the Jail Medical Officer and Jail Authorities could not
overrule the advice of the medical officer in the interest of the health of the
prisoners. The complainant further stated that the respondent newspaper was
in the habit of publishing false news in the guise of sensationalism. In a bid to
create sensation, the newspaper portrayed the Member of Parliament Shri Y.S.
Vivekananda Reddy Garu of having given bribe to the Sub-Jail Superintendent,
Pullivendla which was emphatically rebutted by the member himself which
speaks volumes about the irresponsible conduct of the paper.
       A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent on
19.4.2005 for information.
Appearance before the Committee
      The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 21.9.2006
at Hyderabad. The complainant, Shri P. Narsimha Reddy, Additional Inspector
General of Prisons, Chanchalguda, Hyderabad appeared in person. Shri K.
Rama Chandra Murthy, Editor, ‘Andhra Jyothi’, represented the respondent
newspaper.
Submissions before the Committee
        The complainant submitted that the newspaper published sensational
news to tarnish the image of the Department based on statement of persons of
doubtful credentials. The respondent should have tried to substantiate the
allegations and sought their version. He added that the clarification sent to the
editor was not published.
       The respondent submitted that the news was based on information

                                       176
provided by some prisoners and was published bonafide in public interest. He
however, offered to publish the rejoinder of the complainant an offer which
was accepted by the complainant.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        The Inquiry Committee considered the record and the oral arguments
advanced before it by the parties. At the first instance the Committee opined
that the respondent newspaper did not follow the standard norms of journalistic
ethics of carrying out pre-publication verification from the concerned authority.
However, in view of the offer of the respondent to publish the rejoinder of the
complainant, the Inquiry Committee directed the complainant to send a
composite rejoinder in respect of the instant matter as well as two other matters
against “Andhra Jyothi” heard simultaneously. The Inquiry Committee directed
the respondent editor, “Andhra Jyothi” to publish the rejoinder within a fortnight
of its receipt and send clippings to the Council as well as the complainant for
record. The Inquiry Committee decided to recommend to the Council to dispose
of the complaint with these directions.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

43)    Shri M.A. Basith, IPS                                    The Editor
       DG & Inspector General of Prisons &           Versus     Andhra Jyothi
       Correctional Services (I/C)                              Hyderabad
       Andhra Pradesh                                           Andhra Pradesh
       Hyderabad
Complaint
        This complaint dated 23.12.2004 has been filed by Shri M.A. Basith,
IPS, DG & Inspector General of Prisons & Correctional Services, Andhra
Pradesh, Hyderabad against “Andhra Jyothi” (Telugu daily) alleging publication
of a false and defamatory news item under the caption “Stoppage of interviews
in Central Jail: No response from officers unless money is paid : Agony of the
prisoners’ relatives” (English translation) in its issue dated 2.11.2004.
       It was alleged in the impugned news item that the Prison Officers had
stopped the interviews to the relatives of prisoners on getting to know that
Addl. D.G. of Prisons was visiting Central Prison due to which relatives of
prisoners waited till evening in the prison’s premises. It was further alleged that
some prison officers and staff were behaving arrogantly and forcing them out
not even allowing 10 minutes of talk with prisoners and several alleged that
                                       177
they had to pay Rs.50/- to the prison staff for passing over the fruits etc. to the
prisoners and that prison staff were taking away half the fruits and other articles
themselves. Several people had stated that prison officers and staff were
differentiating between rich people in one manner and poor. They had demanded
that measures should be taken to give interviews very early for those coming
from distant places.
       Denying the allegations, the complainant submitted that the allegations
levelled in the impugned news item were absolutely malicious, defamatory,
false and based on the statement of an irresponsible person. The complainant
submitted that the impugned publication damaged the image of the Department
in general and that of the Central Prison, Nellore in particular and adversely
affected morale of the staff.
       The complainant has submitted that the rejoinder dated 3.11.2004 issued
by the Superintendent, Central Prison, Nellore but they did not receive any
reply from the respondent.
Written Statement
        In response to the show-cause notice dated 28.4.2005, the respondent-
editor, Andhra Jyothi in his written statement dated 20.5.2005 while denying
the allegations, submitted that the impugned news item was based on personal
inquiries made by the news contributor of “Online” (a news agency that regularly
supplies them the news) who verified the matter with due care and caution
prior to publication. The respondent further submitted that the news contributor
on 1.11.2004 had interacted with the Director General of Prisons, Hyderabad,
Deputy IG of Prisons, Cuddapah and with the Superintendent of Prison in the
prison premises as was evident from the letter dated 3.11.2004 written by the
Superintendent to him, which proves that the news contributor had verified the
matter prior to its publication. The respondent also submitted that the persons
who had visited the jail on 1.11.2004 in order to meet their relatives had given
written representations to “Andhra Jyothi” detailing the manner in which they
were stopped interviewing the relatives by the jail authorities till evening, which
corroborates their publication. According to the respondent, the Superintendent
of Central Prison in his letter dated 3.11.2004 admitted the fact that interviews
to the relatives of the prisoners were delayed due to the sudden and surprise
visit of the Head of the Department. The respondent submitted that the thrust of
the news item was to report the mental torture faced by the relatives outside the
jail premises, since waiting for long hours was a psychological torture. The
respondent stated that the impugned news item had been published in good
faith in public interest.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
1.6.2005 for information.
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Counter Comments
       The complainant in his counter comments dated 1.6.2005 requested the
Council to proceed further with the inquiry as the respondent had highlighted
the alleged delay/mental torture faced by the relatives of the prisoner in a
derogatory manner, which was against the public interest. The complainant
submitted that news contributor met them but did not verify about the contents
and facts of the impugned news item from them. According to the complainant,
as a matter of fact during the visit of Head of the Department, the prisoners
were interviewed by Head of the Department to ascertain complaint, if any,
and the manner in which the prison was functioning which was in the interest
of the prisoners. This obviously indicates that the news contributor and the
editor were not interested in reporting that there were no complaints from
prisoners during the visit but highlighted the delay in a derogatory manner and
against the public interest.
       A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent on
5.9.2005 for information.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
        The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 21.9.2006
at Hyderabad. Shri P Narsimha Reddy, Additional I G of Prisons, Chanchal
Guda, Hyderabad appeared for the complainant. Shri K Ram Chandra Murthy
editor, Andhra Jyothi appeared for the respondent.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
        The complainant submitted that the newspaper sensationalized the
instance to tarnish the image of the Department. On that particular day the
meeting between prisoners and the relatives was deferred due to VIP movement.
They were later allowed to meet. The respondent should have tried to substantiate
the allegations instead of publishing them without trying to find out the truth
from them.
        The respondent submitted that the reply in the matter has already been
filed and the newspaper was ready to publish the rejoinder of the complainant.
The offer was accepted by the complainant saying that they had animus against
the paper and only wanted the public to know of their reason for the action.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        The Inquiry Committee considered the record and the oral arguments
advanced before it by the parties. At the first instance the Committee opined
that the respondent newspaper did not follow the standard norms of journalistic
ethics of carrying out pre-publication verification from the concerned authority.
However, in view of the offer of the respondent to publish the rejoinder of the

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complainant, the Inquiry Committee directed the complainant to send a
composite rejoinder in respect of the instant matter as well as two other matters
against ‘Andhra Jyothi’ heard simultaneously. The Inquiry Committee directed
the respondent editor, ‘Andhra Jyothi’ to publish the rejoinder within a fortnight
of its receipt and send clippings to the Council as well as the complainant for
record. The Inquiry Committee decided to recommend to the Council to dispose
of the complaint with these directions.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

44)    Shri M.A. Basith, IPS                                   The Editor
       DG & Inspector General of Prisons &          Versus     Andhra Bhoomi
       Correctional Services (I/C)                             Hyderabad
       Andhra Pradesh
       Hyderabad
Complaint
       This complaint dated 8.12.2004 has been filed by Shri P. Narasimha
Reddy, DG & Inspector General of Prisons & Correctional Services (I/C), Andhra
Pradesh, Hyderabad against “Andhra Bhoomi”(Telugu daily) for publishing an
allegedly false and defamatory news item captioned “Stampula Skam Muddayi
Raja Bhogam-Khaidulonu Khakhi Darja” in its issue dated 26.6.2004.
        According to the impugned news item an accused in multi-crore fake
stamps scam was sent out to attend court witness in Karimnagar without any
escort by Central Prison Authorities, Hyderabad and that the police officers
undergoing judicial custody in jails are enjoying luxuries compared to ordinary
undertrials. It was alleged that the accused appeared in the court of 2nd Addl.
District Court without any escorts even though the Karimnagar police sent an
escort of one S.I. and two constables to Hyderabad for the purpose of escorting
to the court. It was further alleged that the accused entered the court premises
without any escort and after giving evidence he left the premises in private car
along with Circle-Inspector who also came to give evidence in some other case
in the same court.
       Denying the allegations, the complainant submitted that the allegations
levelled in the impugned news item were absolutely false, malicious and
defamatory based purely on the statement of an irresponsible person. The
complainant submitted that the publication had damaged the image of the
Department in general and that of the Central Prison, Hyderabad in particular
and adversely affected the morale of the staff.

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       The complainant submitted that the respondent neither published the
rejoinders dated 30.7.2004 and September 2004 nor gave any reply till date
which were sent by their office and the Superintendent, Central Prison,
Hyderabad respectively.
       The delay of four months in filing the complaint was condoned by the
Hon’ble Chairman vide his orders dated 2.2.2005 in keeping with powers
conferred upon him under proviso of Regulation 3(1)(f) of the Press Council
(Procedure for Inquiry) Regulations, 1979.
Written Statement
        In response to the show-cause notice dated 9.2.2005, the respondent-
editor, Andhra Bhoomi in his written statement dated 26.2.2005 submitted that
while highlighting the security lapse, in public interest, they had inadvertently
made a mention in the news item about the jail authorities, saying that they had
not provided the escort, for which the latter had taken objection but they had
carried rejoinder on 1.8.2004 captioned “Prisoner was not sent without escort”,
in all fairness even though the letter from the complainant was received after
an abnormal delay of 35 days after the publication of the impugned news item.
The respondent stated that what had been published was a true fact, that an
accused appeared in the court without proper escort and it was not denied by
the authorities. The respondent submitted that they acted in good faith and in
all fairness.
Counter Comments
        The complainant in his counter comments dated 4.4.2005 stated that the
statement of the respondent was totally false that they had not issued any
rejoinder/denial to them. According to the complainant the Superintendent,
Central Prison, Hyderabad issued rejoinder on 6.7.2004. Moreover, the original
news item was published on the front page in prominent location whereas the
rejoinder was published in an inconspicuous location in the 3rd page, which
established the malafide intention of the respondent, added the complainant.
He submitted that the respondent ought to have verified the fact before
publishing the news. The complainant concluded by saying that whatever has
been done by the respondent is inadequate and forced unwilling act but not a
rectification of the mistake. He desired to proceed further in the matter.
       A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent on
2.5.2005 for information.
Counter of the Respondent to the Counter Comments of the Complainant
      The respondent in his counter dated 18.5.2005 submitted that the
complainant finally agreed that they published his rejoinder which was not

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admitted in his original complaint. The respondent submitted that the
complainant in his counter comments made some unnecessary undignified
comments on the paper and also on its readers, which was most unfortunate
and highly irresponsible. He reiterated that they had not received the original
rejoinder and they are in no way responsible for the abnormal delay caused by
the complainant. The respondent further submitted that the complainant failed
to produce any evidence about receiving the original rejoinder by them.
      A copy of the respondent’s letter dated 18.5.2005 was forwarded to the
complainant on 1.6.2005 for information.
Further Communication from the Complainant
        The complainant in his further reply dated 21.6.2005 to the counter of
the respondent submitted that the purport of the complaint before the Council
is to demonstrate the irresponsible way of the respondent. The reply dated
18.5.2005 filed by the respondent had amply demonstrated his attitude. The
complainant further stated that the fact of publication of the rejoinder was known
to him only after its report through the Council. Moreover the rejoinder was
published in the tabloid accompanying the newspaper in its Karimnagar edition
which is not available in Hyderabad. The respondent cannot expect him to
search all the editions of the paper to check for publication of rejoinder. He
reiterated that the statement made in his original complaint is fair and true.
      A copy of the complainant’s communication was forwarded to the
respondent on 5.7.2005 for information.
Appearance before the Committee
      The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 21.9.2006
at Hyderabad. Shri P. Narsimha Reddy, Additional I.G. of Prisons, Chanchal
Guda, Hyderabad represented the complainant while Shri Ch. V.M. Krishna
Rao, Chief of News Bureau was present for the respondent “Andhra Bhoomi”.
Submissions before the Committee
        The complainant submitted that the newspaper published a false report
making reference to an accused in fake stamp scam while transporting the
accused to attend the Court without escort. The complainant submitted that
whenever a prisoner is produced in the Court, the jail authorities requisition the
police authorities to escort the accused. The jail authorities hand over the accused
with warrant to the police escorts and thereafter the jail authorities did not have
any responsibility of the transit. If there was any such lapse, it was on the part
of the police authorities. Yet the jail authorities had been maligned. The rejoinder
sent by them had been published inconspicuously only in the Karimnagar
edition though the original report appeared in all the editions.

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       The respondent submitted that the newspaper had reported the fact that
the accused was not being properly escorted and later carried the rejoinder of
the complainant when they were informed that this was the responsibility of
the police.
Recommendations of the Committee
       The Inquiry Committee carefully perused the record and upon hearing
the parties, opined that the impugned report was in public interest and its
publication was justified. However, the failure in escorting the accused might
have been on the part of the police administration and not the jail administration.
The complainant enjoyed a clear right to have their reputation cleared. The
Inquiry Committee took note of the fact that a rejoinder has already been carried
by the Andhra Bhoomi on 1.8.2004 edition of Karimnagar, although it should
have been published in all other editions. To this extent, the paper failed to
abide by the standard of journalistic conduct. The Inquiry Committee however
felt that no useful purpose would now be served by such a direction for
publication of rejoinder in all editions at belated stage. However, it recommended
to the Council to direct the respondent to bear these observations in mind for
future conduct and allow the matter to rest.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

45)    Shri P. Narsimha Reddy                                  The Editor
       DG & Inspector General of Prisons &          Versus     Vartha
       Correctional Services (I/C)                             Hyderabad
       Chanchalguda                                            Andhra Pradesh
       Hyderabad
Complaint
       Shri P. Narsimha Reddy, DG & Inspector General of Prisons &
Correctional Services (I/C), Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad has filed this complaint
dated 8.12.2004 against “Vartha” (Telugu daily) alleging publication of false,
incorrect and defamatory news items captioned “JAILU ADHIKARULAKU
MEMOLU” and “ALINGANALU…AANADA BHASPALU, SANTHOSHA
SANRAMAINA CHERLAPALLI JAILU” in its issues dated 13.8.2004 and
16.8.2004 respectively.
        It was stated in the first impugned news item that higher authorities of
the jail have issued memos to 10 officers of the Central Prison Cherlapalli,
Hyderabad including the Superintendent of the prison for helping the main

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accused in stamp scam. It was also stated that higher officers expressed their
displeasure against the Superintendent for the unlawful activities in interviews
and allowing the prisoners slavery to the influenced prisoners.
        In the second impugned news item allegation of facilitating ‘Ganjha
smuggling’ were levelled against the staff and prison officer. It further stated
that prison premises had become emotional as 243 lifers and short termers
were released from Central prison, Cherlapalli, Moula Ali and Gachibowli Open
Air Jail as per the G.O. issued by the Government. The family members of the
prisoners were immersed in untold pleasure upon their release as they languished
in prisons for committing crimes knowingly or unknowingly. On seeing this
emotional heartily exchanges between the prisoners and their families the prison
officers too shed tears.
       Denying the allegations, the complainant submitted that the allegations
levelled in the impugned news item are absolutely malicious, defamatory and
false and it was totally based on the statement of an irresponsible person. The
complainant submitted that the impugned publication damaged the image of
the Department in general and that of the Central Prison, Cherlapalli in particular
and besides adversely affecting the morale of the staff.
       According to the complainant the Superintendent, Central Prison,
Cherlapalli issued two separate clarifications on 13.8.2004 and 16.8.2004 but
the respondent neither published nor filed any reply.
        The delay of about two months in filing the complaint was condoned by
the Hon’ble Chairman vide his orders dated 1.2.2005 as per proviso to Regulation
3(1)(f) of the Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulations, 1979.
No Written Statement
       Show-cause notice dated 9.2.2005 was issued to the respondent editor,
Vartha but no reply ws received despite issuance of reminder dated 15.7.2005.
Appearance before the Committee
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 21.9.2006
at Hyderabad. Shri P. Narsimha Reddy, Addl. I.G. of Prisons, Chanchal Guda,
Hyderabad, appeared for the complainant. There was no appearance on behalf
of the respondent.
Submissions before the Committee
        The complainant submitted that the respondent Vartha published the news
without proper cross-checking of facts. The complainant reiterated the averments
made in the complaint. He added that the respondent did not publish the
clarification.

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Recommendation of the Committee
        The Inquiry Committee, at the very outset, expressed displeasure over
non-filing of written statement by the editor, Vartha and took serious note of
failure on the part of editor, ‘Vartha’ to appear before it or deputing any
representative for oral submissions. Apparently, the paper did not have any
defence to offer. The Inquiry Committee observed that it is obligatory on the
part of the press to make proper verification of facts before publishing a news
report. The Inquiry Committee noted that the editor, Vartha had also failed to
afford the right of reply, which the department enjoyed to clarify its stand before
the public. It, therefore, recommended to the Council to direct the editor, Vartha
to publish rejoinder of the department within a fortnight of the receipt of these
directions and send compliance report to the Council for record. If the paper
fails to comply with these directions, further action may be considered under
the provisions of the Act.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

46)    Shri M.A. Basith, IPS                                The Editor
       Director General & IG of Prisons & Versus            VarthaTelugu Daily
       Correctional Services, Andhra Pradesh                Hyderabad
       Chanchalguda
       Hyderabad
Complaint
       This complaint dated 23.2.2005 was filed by Shri M.A. Basith, IPS,
Director General & IG of Prisons & Correctional Services, Andhra Pradesh,
Chanchalguda, Hyderabad against “Vartha”, Telugu daily alleging publication
of a false, baseless and defamatory news item captioned “Khaideelaku Florin
Water” in its issue dated 11.1.2005. The impugned news item reads as follows-
       UT prisoners wrote a letter to the Home Minister requesting to supply
metro Manjeera water inside the jail instead of supplying fluorinated water.
They also pleaded in the letter for the provision of board for the Welfare of the
Convicted Prisoners, Legal cell to all Central Jails and wages to the prisoners as
per the labour act. They also requested for visiting of the legal counsellors to
advise CT and UT prisoners.
      Denying the allegations, the complainant submitted that the impugned
news item was malicious, defamatory, baseless and false as the metro water
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works supply every day about 2-3 lakhs litters of Manjeera water into the pump
of Central Prison Cherlapalli. The complainant submitted that the water from
the pump is pumped to the overhead tank from which the water is being supplied
to all the prisoners through the pipeline. The complainant alleged that the
publication damaged the image of the department in general and that of the
Central Prison, Cherlapalli in particular and the morale of the staff working is
adversely affected.
        The complainant submitted that a rejoinder dated 12.1.2006 was issued
by the Superintendent of Central Prison, Cherlapalli but evoked no reply. He
requested the Council to take suitable action against the respondent editor for
levelling false and baseless allegations.
No Written Statement
       Show-cause notice dated 14.7.2005 was issued to the respondent-editor,
Vartha, Hyderabad. No reply was received from the respondent.
Appearance before the Committee
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 21.9.2006
at Hyderabad. Shri P. Narsimha Reddy, Addl. I.G. of Prisons, Chanchalguda,
Hyderabad appeared for the complainant. There was no appearance on behalf
of the respondent. The respondent’s advocate vide his letter dated 19.9.2006
requested for adjournment on the ground that they did not receive a copy of
the complaint.
Submissions before the Committee
       The complainant submitted that the respondent Vartha published the news
without proper cross-checking of facts. The complainant reiterated the averments
made in the complaint.
Recommendation of the Committee
        The Inquiry Committee at the very outset expressed displeasure over
non-filing of written statement by the Editor, ‘Vartha” and its absence at the
oral hearing. Apparently, the paper had received the show cause notice and yet
denied having a copy of the complaint. The conduct was taken serious note of.
On merits, the Inquiry Committee noted that the main grouse of the complainant
was non-publication of the rejoinder. The Inquiry Committee, therefore, declined
the request of the respondent for adjournment and directed the complainant to
send its factual clarification to the respondent, and the respondent editor, Vartha,
to publish the rejoinder within a fortnight of its receipt and send compliance
report to the Council for record. The Inquiry Committee decided to dispose of
the complaint with above directions and recommended to the Council
accordingly.

                                        186
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

47)   Shri M.A. Basith, IPS                     The Editor
      Director General & IG of Prisons & Versus Vartha, Telugu Daily
      Correctional Services, Andhra Pradesh     Hyderabad
      Chanchalguda
      Hyderabad
Complaint
       Shri M.A. Basith, IPS, Director General & IG of Prisons & Correctional
Services, Andhra Pradesh, Chanchalguda, Hyderabad has filed this complaint
dated 16.2.2005 against “Vartha”, Telugu daily alleging publication of false
and defamatory news item captioned “Jail Adhikarula Panta Pandisthunna
Mulakathullu” in its issue dated 18.1.2005.
        It was alleged in the impugned news item that rampant corruption and
injustice was being done in prisoners interview contrary to the claim of higher
officials that jail reforms are being brought out by them. Mainly in connection
with notorious criminal cases, jail officials had been making money and giving
them interviews with no time limits. Several officials of the State made it as a
regular source of income. The relatives of such prisoners used to meet the
officials and arrange money to secure such interviews.
        Denying the allegations, the complainant submitted that the interviews
were being sanctioned to the prisoners in accordance with the rules and
regulations, which are in force only. According to the complainant, the
impugned news item was malicious, defamatory, false and baseless and damaged
the image of the department in general and that of the Central Prison, Hyderabad
in particular and the morale of the staff working had been adversely affected.
Moreover, the write up did not mention the names of the officials nor the details
of the persons alleging corruption. He alleged that the impugned
write up was nothing but based on hearsay only. The complainant submitted
that a rejoinder dated 18.1.2006 was issued by the Superintendent of Central
Prison, Hyderabad which evoked no reply. He requested the Council to take
suitable action against the respondent editor for levelling false and baseless
allegations.
No Written Statement
        A Show-cause notice dated 14.7.2005 was issued to the respondent-
Editor, Vartha, Hyderabad. No reply has been received from the respondent.

                                      187
Appearance before the Committee
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 21.9.2006
at Hyderabad. Shri P. Narsimha Reddy, Addl. I.G. of Prisons, Chanchalguda,
Hyderabad appeared for the complainant. There was no appearance on behalf
of the respondent.
Submissions before the Committee
       The complainant submitted that the respondent Vartha published the news
without proper cross-checking of facts. The complainant reiterated the averments
made in the complaint.
Recommendation of the Committee
        The Inquiry Committee,at the very outset,expressed displeasure over
non-filing of written statement by the editor, Vartha and took serious note of
failure on the part of editor, ‘Vartha’ to appear before it or deputing any
representative for oral submissions. Apparently, the paper did not have any
defence to offer. The Inquiry Committee observed that it is obligatory on the
part of the press to make proper verification of facts before publishing a news
report. The Inquiry Committee noted that the editor, Vartha had also failed to
afford the right of reply to the complainant, which the department enjoyed to
clarify its stand before the public. It, therefore, recommended to the council to
direct the editor, Vartha to published rejoinder of the department within a fortnight
of the receipt of these directions and send compliance report to the Council for
record. If the paper fails to comply with these directions, further action may be
considered under the provisions of the Act.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

48)    Shri M.A. Basith                                 The Editor
       DG & IG of Prison &             Versus           Vartha
       Correctional Services                            Hyderabad
       Hyderabad
Complaint
         Shri M.A. Basith, DG & Inspector General of Prison and Correctional
Services, Chanchalguda, A.P., Hyderabad has filed this complaint dated
31.8.2005 against “Vartha”, Telugu daily for publishing allegedly false, baseless,
malicious and defamatory news item captioned “Bail Vachina Veemukthiledu”
in its issue dated 9.6.2005 alleging irregularity in the matter of grant of bail to

                                        188
accused persons on the pretext that bail case had been received late. However,
the rich and influential persons had been able to get their people released by
the jail authorities even they come late with bail covers.
        Denying the allegations the complainant has submitted that a separate
box has been arranged to receive the bail covers and bail can be entertained till
5.30 p.m. There was no scope for any irregularity by the prison staff. The
release of prisoners for whom bails had been received after 5.30 p.m. is affected
on the following day even if it is a holiday. As lockup process starts at 5.40
p.m. bails are entertained only upto 5.30 p.m. According to the complainant,
complaint in regard to the release of prisoners on bail had not been received.
Hence there was no truth in the news item published by the newspaper. The
complainant submitted that the impugned news item had damaged the image
of the department in general and also of the Central Prison. It also adversely
affected the morale of the staff. The complainant further submitted that the
Superintendent, Central Prison, Cheralapalli issued a rejoinder to the respondent
editor with a request to publish the same. But received no response. The
complainant requested the Council to take suitable action against the respondent
newspaper for levelling false and baseless allegations.
No Written Statement
       A show-cause notice dated 27.9.2005 was issued to the respondent editor
Vartha, Telugu daily under Regd. A/D but no reply was filed.
Appearance before the Committee
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 21.9.2006
at Hyderabad. Shri P. Narsimha Reddy, Addl. I.G. of Prisons, Chanchalguda,
Hyderabad appeared for the complainant. There was no appearance on behalf
of the respondent.
Submissions before the Committee
       The complainant submitted that the respondent Vartha published the news
without proper cross-checking of facts. The complainant reiterated the averments
made in the complaint.
Recommendation of the Committee
       The Inquiry Committee, at the very outset, expressed displeasure over
non-filing of written statement by the editor, Vartha and took serious note of
failure on the part of editor, ‘Vartha’ to appear before it or deputing any
representative for oral submissions. Apparently, the paper did not have any
defence to offer. The Inquiry Committee observed that it is obligatory on the
part of the press to make proper verification of facts before publishing a news
report. The Inquiry Committee noted that the editor, Vartha had also failed to

                                      189
afford the right of reply to the complainant, which the department enjoyed to
clarify its stand before the public. It, therefore, recommended to the Council to
direct the editor, Vartha to publish rejoinder of the department within a fortnight
of the receipt of these directions and send compliance report to the Council for
record. If the paper fails to comply with these directions, further action may be
considered under the provisions of the Act.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

49)    The Principal                               The Editor
       Chirec Public School           Versus       Deccan Chronicle
       Hyderabad                                   Secunderabad
       Andhra Pradesh                              Andhra Pradesh
Complaint
       The Principal, Chirec Public School, Hyderabad has filed this complaint
dated 5.5.2005 against “Deccan Chronicle” for publishing two news items
captioned “40-year-old found murdered at CHIREC” and “Another man found
murdered near CHIREC” on two consecutive days i.e. 3 rd and 4th April, 2005
linking the name of their educational institution with unrelated heinous crimes
in order to sensationalise the reports.
         The complainant submitted that in the first news item besides mentioning
the name of the school in the headline, it was mentioned that the body was
found at the school in Kondapur outskirts. In the second news item a scurrilous
and damaging statement was made that the area surrounding CHIREC School
seems to have a knack of attracting dead bodies. The complainant alleged that
the news headlines as well the matter printed under them on two consecutive
days appeared to be deliberate to defame and denigrate the image of their
institution viz. CHIREC Public School as there was absolutely no need to drag
the name of the school into these items. The complainant submitted that the
headlines were untrue and published with the sole intention to sensationalize
the news report by using the name of a premier educational institution of the
twin cities. According to the complainant, the truth was that the body had been
found on a vacant plot about half-a-kilometre from the school and on the
opposite side of the road. He objected to the use of the preposition ‘at’ as it
clearly implied that the body was found in the school premises, whereas it had
nothing to do with the school. In the second news item, the truth was that the
body was found in the Botanical Garden, a public place and a local landmark
which was two kilometres away from the school. There was no need of using

                                       190
the name of the school in the headline, as mentioned. The Botanical Garden
itself would have been sufficiently relevant and apt as it was a landmark by
itself. But the respondent “Deccan Chronicle” chose to ignore the fact and
used the name of the school in the headlines. Moreover, the unfortunate death
had been linked to the school on the sole basis of both being in the same
vicinity i.e. outskirts of Kondapur. By using the word ‘Another’ in the second
news headline the respondent also tried to link the murder on the previous day.
The complainant further alleged that the impugned publication implied that the
school was located in an unsafe area and that the staff and students were under
some kind of constant threat and this impression had been damaging to the
reputation and the image of an educational institution.
        The complainant further stated that the respondent in the past had
studiously ignored any mention of the name of the school while regularly
publishing news items regarding events of national importance conducted by
the school. The complainant submitted that on the one hand the Deccan
Chronicle finds it necessary to associate the name of their school with heinous
crimes completely unrelated to it, while on the other hand it felt free to ignore
the name of their school while reporting events of national importance conducted
by them. The complainant submitted that the reporter of the newspaper Ms.
Sheetal Vyas met the Headmistress and the PRO of the school on 4.4.2005
immediately after publication of the impugned reports and expressed her
intention of making a story out of the school’s reaction to both the murders.
Ms. Vyas’s reaction was a testimony to the fact that everyone who read the
reports believed that the school had a link with the murders. It also represented
the misrepresentation of the facts that the reports were able to achieve. Ms.
Vyas was embarrassed and surprised on hearing the truth that the school had
no connection with the murder and chose to depart without further
communication. The complainant submitted that both the reports and the
misrepresentation was brought to the notice of Deputy Editor through a letter
dated 4.4.2005 and a personal visit by the Headmistress and the PRO of the
school who claimed that the information had been given to them by the police,
whereas the fact was that the other newspapers did not try to sensationalise the
news by unnecessarily linking the name of the school with the murders. The
respondent also claimed that they had not done any wrong as they had the
license to write ‘at’ in place of ‘near’ if they had a constraint of space for the
headline as happened in the case of first report. Strongly protesting against the
misleading headlines and misrepresentation of facts in these news items, the
complainant requested the Council to initiate necessary action against the
respondent to epitomize sensationalism with verification.
      Show-cause notice was issued to the Editor, Deccan Chronicle,
Secunderabad (Andhra Pradesh) on 28.7.2005.

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Written Statement
         The respondent-editor, Deccan Chronicle in his written statement dated
1.12.2005 submitted that their newspaper was neither hostile nor acted
irresponsibly by publishing the news relating to death of a young person, whose
body was found near ‘Chirec Public School’. The school authorities lodged a
malafide and false complaint before the Press Council, since in the past, this
newspaper highlighted the gross criminal negligence on the part of the
management of the school, relating to the death of a young boy, Mithil Singh,
a class VII student. On account of this report published in their newspaper after
thorough investigation, the school authorities were exposed. Now by raising
arguments by distinguishing between words ‘at’ and ‘near’, it has lodged this
complaint, added the respondent. The respondent further submitted that the
Chirec Public School was established a decade back or so, on the outskirts of
the city which falls within the jurisdiction of Kondapur village of Range Reddy
district, which is a rural area. On account of Hitech City developed by the
Government of Andhra Pradesh and with other establishments having come up
in the nearby area, the city has expanded in the past five-six years and the area
has now become a part of the urban agglomeration and it is called Cyberabad
district. However, in the immediate surroundings of the school and on the sides
there is vast vacant land where the body was found. In this area, there was not
even a single building worth the name other than Chirec Public School.
Therefore, any incident of this nature, if it had to be reported or communicated
by word of mouth, then normally Chirec Public School would be referred to for
giving an idea about the location of place in question. In fact, the police
authorities themselves gave the school’s name to indicate the place where the
dead boy was found. He also filed a copy of FIR No.87/2005, issued by
Madhapur Police Station, Cyberabad district as a relevant record. The respondent
requested to dismiss the complaint being malafide and meritless.
      A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
8.12.2005.
Counter Comments
       The complainant in his counter comments dated 26.12.2005 submitted
that the reply of the respondent “Deccan Chronicle” was not vague and
unconvincing but also a misrepresentation of the acts and the FIR copy in Telugu
was wrongly translated by the respondent to convey a totally wrong picture.
        The complainant also filed a copy of the FIR (official translation). As
per the police report, the body was found in the bushes at short distance from
the road outside Chirec Public School on land bearing survey number 13. Infact,
the name of the school in the FIR had been properly used as a reference point
only. Nowhere it was said in the report that the body was found at the school.

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The general impression created in the minds of the readers of the Deccan
Chronicle by its headline of 3.4.2005 was that the body was physically found
in the school premises. Therefore this was a gross misrepresentation of the
facts. Reiterating his grievance the complainant alleged that there seems to
have been a deliberate attempt by the Deccan Chronicle in their reply to mislead
the Press Council through gross misrepresentation of facts. Regarding the death
of Mithil Singh, the complainant clarified that it was an unfortunate accident.
On 17.2.2004, a class VIII student of Chirec, Mithil Singh developed
complications while swimming during a regular class and later passed away
after receiving first aid at the area hospital where he was rushed by the school.
The news of this incident was published in the Deccan Chronicle and for days
the paper kept on publishing misleading information about the school inspite
of their school representatives meeting the Chief of Bureau on 18.2.2004 and
the reporter concerned at the Deccan Chronicle office and clarifying the facts.
The same news was also reported by the other media but was in a factual manner
without any sensationalisation. According to the complainant, the reference to
Mithil Singh’s death seems to be an obvious attempt to intimidate the school
into silence. In the event that the school had any malafide intentions or any
other axe to grind with the paper on account of the alleged ‘negligence/exposure’
on the part of the management, it would not have made attempts to take up a
stand against the Deccan Chronicle and escalating the issue by taking it up
with the Press Council. It also would not have continued giving its advertisements
for admissions and staff recruitment in the paper, which it did till the time these
reports (of the 3 rd and 5 th April 2005) appeared in print. He submitted that
newspaper is a means and method of portraying true facts and circumstances
to the general public and by no account can take on the role of an adjudicating
authority. The Deccan Chronicle by its actions had taken upon itself to come to
a conclusion without verifying the actual facts thereby attempted to bring
disrepute to the impeccable reputation enjoyed by the school. The complainant
while standing by his complaint requested the Council to pass appropriate orders
directing the respondent to publish their rejoinder and clarify the truth.
       A copy of the counter comment was forwarded to the respondent on
3.1.2006 for information.
Further Communication from the Complainant
       The complainant, vide his further communication dated 11.3.2006, has
drawn the attention of the Council towards another article published in “Deccan
Chronicle” issue dated 21.2.2006 captioned “Boy’s death falls through cracks”.
He alleged that the respondent completely misquoted the name of the school
regarding the tragic death of a student Mithil Singh in the school swimming
pool two years ago. The complainant submitted that they issued a press release

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to all the newspapers including “Deccan Chronicle” after Mithil Singh’s death
clarifying that Mithil Singh had been their student right from the nursery class
and began learning swimming when he was in Class III and developed good
skills of swimming in course of time. The complainant alleged that the respondent
did not check with the school management before publishing the recent article.
He submitted that a letter was sent to the respondent newspaper on the same
day i.e. 21.2.2006 with the request to publish the correct facts but the newspaper
did not publish their point of view.
      A copy of the letter dated 11.3.2006 received from the complainant was
forwarded to the respondent on 17.3.2006 for his information.
Appearance before the Committee
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 21.9.2006
at Hyderabad. The complainant, Smt. Pameila Khanna, Headmistress, Chirec
Public School, Kondapur, Hyderabad and Shri Ravi Kumar. Advocate, Shri
Mahmood Ali, Advocate appeared for the Respondent, ‘Deccan Chronicle’.
Submissions before the Committee
        The complainant submitted that the Chirec, Children Recreation Camp,
is a 16 years old Public School with 2000 children and enjoys a good reputation.
The respondent, ‘Deccan Chronicle’ carried two news items on two consecutive
days with wrong headers giving an impression that the murders took place in
the school premises. The second newspaper article in its body writing gave
emphasis that the area surrounding Chirec School seems to have a knack of
attracting dead bodies. The complainant submitted that these two murders had
nothing to do with the school and linking it to the school had given sleepless
nights to the parents of the children who on the very next day starting pouring
into the school with query whether the school was involved in the murders. It
had become kind of ghost stories for the children. They were required to take
immediate steps to pacify the parents and allay their fears. Respondent’s own
reporter came to their school next day for a follow up and refused to believe
them that the murder had actually taken place elsewhere. The respondent
dismissed their request for clarification saying that their grievance was imagined.
The complainant submitted that the newspaper had carelessly published the
news item to sensationalize it and mar the reputation of the school.
       The respondent counsel submitted that the meaning of ‘at’ and ‘near’ in
Telugu language word usage is the same. The counsel submitted that other
periodicals had also reported that the dead bodies were found near Chirec. In
the FIR, it was mentioned that the body was found opposite Chirec. They had
no intention to harm the reputation of the school and the only intention was to
give the readers an idea of where the crime had taken place. He offered to
publish the clarification for the benefit of the public and the school’s reputation.

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Recommendation of the Committee
       The Inquiry Committee carefully examined the records of the case and
heard the parties. The Committee observed that it was an undisputed fact that
both the murders took place at other than the school premises and the murders
had nothing to do with the school. The newspaper should have realized the
sensitivity of the matter while reporting about school and giving emphasis
repeatedly to project that the school surrounding had a knack of attracting
dead bodies, which might cause fear factor amongst the school kids.
         The Inquiry Committee is of the view that the respondent newspaper
erred in its reporting by replacing ‘at’ with ‘near’ and over-emphasizing the
proximity of the school to the murder, which was not desirable. The fact that
the psyche of children and the fears of the developing minds are important
factors in making such references, had been lost sight of. The Inquiry Committee,
therefore, felt that it would be in fitness of things to direct the respondent
newspaper, ‘Deccan Chronicle’ to publish the rejoinder of the complainant
school clarifying that the reference to the school in the report was only to identify
the area and the school had no connection to the murders. The Inquiry Committee
also directed the complainant to send her rejoinder to the respondent newspaper.
The Inquiry Committee also directed the editor, Deccan Chronicle to publish
the rejoinder of the complainant with same prominence as the impugned news
items published by the newspaper. The Inquiry Committee further directed the
respondent to forward a copy of the issue carrying the clarification to the Press
Council and the complainant for record. The Inquiry Committee recommended
to the Council to dispose of the complaint with the above directions to the
parties.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

50)    Secretary                                     The New Indian Express
       Ootacamund Club                 Versus        Coimbatore
       Tamil Nadu                                    Tamil Nadu
Complaint
        This complaint dated December 2, 2005 has been filed by the Secretary,
Ootacamund Club, Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu against the New Indian Express,
Coimbatore for publication of an allegedly false and defamatory article captioned
“Bad man at social club drives tourist to tears” with a picture of two British
tourists on the front page in its issue dated 17.11.2005.

                                        195
       The objectionable portion of the impugned news article reads as follows:
               “……after a gap of six decades, the senior citizen of London
       expected a warm welcome awaiting him at the Ooty club. But his dignity
       was severely hurt when he entered the Ooty Club. A servant of the club
       shouted on him and told him to get out of the club premises. Later, there
       was some consolation for the father and daughter as they were allowed
       inside to take rest for some time”
        According to the complainant, the impugned article has been published
by the respondent without verifying the facts and is full of prevarications. The
complainant has submitted that the British tourist and his daughter are not
members of their club and have no right to enter the club premises. Thus the
alleged remarks of the tourist are untrue. He has submitted that the report is
contradictory, for at one place it says that a servant of the club shouted at him,
and at another place it says father and daughter were allowed to take rest for
sometime. The complainant further submitted that the inquiry with the club
staff clearly shows that they were never allowed inside the club and alleged
that the whole news was a fabrication and an exercise in sensational journalism,
which damaged the reputation of the Queen of Hills. He added that the concerned
reporter of the article admitted in writing that he had not verified the true facts
before publication of the same. The complainant further alleged that the rejoinder
dated 22.11.2005 was published in diluted version in the ‘Letters to the Editor’
column on 25.11.2005 which amounted to adding insult to the injury caused to
the club. He wanted the rejoinder to be published in full with unconditional
apology from the respondent.
       The matter was closed on 30.12.2005 and reported to the Council on
9.2.2006 for lack of ground for action after sufficient amends being made by
the respondent with the publication of the rejoinder.
        The complainant, vide letter dated 16.2.2006 requested the Council to
review its decision to close the matter as the publication of the unverified and
false report was an insult to the club and the rejoinder was published in an
edited version. In order to get a final view on it, the respondent was called
upon on 16.3.2005 to file its comments and to consider the publication of the
full facts as furnished by the complainant so as to fully redress his grievance.
Show Cause Notice
       Since no response was received despite due service on 21.3.2006, the
respondent was issued a show cause notice on 3.8.2006 in accordance with
Regulations 5(1) of the Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulations, 1979,
as to why the Press Council should not take action under Section 14 of the
Press Council Act, 1978.

                                       196
Written Statements
        The respondent editor, the New Indian Express has filed its written
statements dated 26.8.2006 and submitted that the news item in question was
published on the information given by the two foreign nationals and a Kerala
Tourist Guide who visited the complainant. They proceeded to publish the same
as the report came from the affected and it was published in good faith and
added that they nowhere gave their comments on the correctness or otherwise
of the various allegations/statements made by the foreigners. Being a responsible
newspaper, immediately on receipt of the letter from the complainant they carried
the complainant’s version in the newspaper under the ‘letters to the editor’
column in the issue dated 25.11.2005 and subsequently they published a box
in The New Indian Express-Coimbatore Edition issue dated 17.12.2005 in which
it was made clear that in publishing the impugned report their intention was not
to hurt the image of Ooty club or the sentiments of its respected members and
that they held the club in high esteem.
        The respondent further submitted that the main grievance appears to be
the rejoinder not being published in its entirety, and added that it is well
established that the editor has a right and prerogative to edit the rejoinder and
publish the same and hence the complainant cannot have a grievance that the
entire rejoinder was not published since they had already published the version
of the complainant in the newspaper issue dated 25.11.2005 and 7.12.2005.
The respondent denied the allegations that they have offended the standards of
journalistic ethics, public taste and committed professional misconduct.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on 8/
9/06 for information.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 22.9.2006
at Hyderabad. Shri T Niranjan Reddy, Secretary, Ootacamund Club, Tamil Nadu
appeared in person. Shri K S Prabhakar, Senior Personnel Officer, represented
The New Indian Express, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
         The complainant submitted that the Ootacamund Club was a private
club and no one except the members of the club were allowed into it. He stated
that the tourist guide had misled the foreign tourists by leading them there.
They were only stopped from entering as per rules of the club. However, a
distorted version of the incident was carried by the newspaper. He added that
the reporter had apologised after two days of the publication of the news report.
The rejoinder published was not proper as it had been badly edited and
clarification of 25.12.2005 was inconspicuous. He further prayed that the
respondent should be directed to publish the rejoinder again.
                                      197
        The representative of the respondent submitted that the newspaper held
the club in high esteem and the news was published on the information given
by foreign tourists in good faith. They had no intention to harm the reputation
of the Club. The clarification of the complainant was also published. He assured
that the club activities in right spirit will be focused in the future reporting.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        The Inquiry Committee perused the material on record and the submission
made before it by the parties. It noted that the impugned report had been
published on the information provided by the affected person as a box on page
2 of the paper captioned ‘Bad man at social club drives tourist to tears’. Similar
prominence was given to the photograph of the tourist with the caption ‘In a
heaven on Earth among Devils’. The paper had apparently gone somewhat
over board with the headings, more so because the version of the club had not
been taken at this stage despite the apparent standing and reputation of the
club, being at stake. Subsequently, however, the paper tried to make due amends
by publishing the rejoinder of the club, which despite editing, carried the sum
and substance of the rejoinder, and its own boxed clarification. The Committee,
however, observed that even in these two amends, the former did not mention
that the rejoinder was of the club. It only mentioned the name of the president
as the writer of the letter. The clarification also though boxed was devoid of
any heading thus making it inconspicuous. Having observed this, however the
Committee felt that directing the paper to publish any further rejoinder at this
stage was not warranted and instead the paper should attempt to make amends
for the above shortcomings by focussing on the activities of the club in future
as offered by their representatives before the Committee.
        The Inquiry Committee recommended to the Council to allow the matter
to rest with the above observations.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

51)    Sh. Srikantadatta Narasimharaja                        The Editor
       Wadiyar                                   Versus       Lankesh Patrike
       Bangalore                                              Bangalore
Complaint
      Shri Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, Bangalore has filed this
complaint dated 28.4.2005 through his advocate against “Lankesh Patrike”,
Kannada Weekly, Bangalore alleging publication of a scandalous and

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defamatory news report under the title “Kamangi Arasana Salingi Koota”
(Buffoon King’s Homo Team – English translation) in its issue dated 6.4.2005.
       According to the complainant, the impugned publication contained the
following offending features:-
            1. “The complainant has been called by name and called ‘Kamangi’
               which colloquially means ‘Buffoon’.
            2. The false accusations have been made against the complainant
               of visiting certain hotels, bar, pubs and cabarets joints named in
               the publication.
            3. Accusation has been made that the complainant being in the
               midst of certain girls, without reference to the context of fashion
               show regarding promotion of silk apparels .
            4. The complainant is surrounded by persons who are gay and he
               too presumed to be of such category.
            5. Certain photographs figuring the complainant at a fashion show
               have been borrowed from other newspapers and certain
               photographs have no nexus, been published to give a false
               impression to the public.
            6. The false and baseless news about the alleged misunderstanding
               between the complainant and his spouse was published with a
               view to give false publicity and defame the members of the
               Royal family of Mysore.”
        The complainant submitted that the allegations levelled in the impugned
report that he was fond of watching animal sex was nothing but a cheap invention
of the respondent editor. The allegation that he was habitual visitor of the five
star hotels was solely with a view to maliciously assassinate his character. The
complainant alleged that wrong particulars had been incorporated in the news
report clearly indicate the false and reckless nature of the publication intended
solely to defame him. According to the complainant, the respondent had invaded
into his privacy without any rhyme or reason or any justification. The
complainant alleged that the respondent was habitual of indulging in publication
of defamatory and scandalous material without any basis against important
personalities with a view to gain cheap publicity and circulation of the weekly
magazine. According to the complainant, the impugned publication was not
only defamatory and scandalous but also offended the standards of journalistic
ethics and public taste.
       The complainant submitted that he drew the attention of the respondent
by issuing a legal notice dated 12.4.2005 but did not evoke any reply.

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      Show-cause notice dated 15.6.2005 was issued to the respondent-editor,
Lankesh Patrike.
Written Statement
        The respondent editor, Lankesh Patrike in his written statement dated
18.7.2005 while denying the allegations made in the complaint submitted that
the complaint was without any basis, far from truth and it was nothing but a
created story of the complainant to wreck vengeance against him. According
to the respondent he had not committed any breach of rules and regulations as
enunciated by the Council. The respondent alleged that the complaint had been
brought by the complainant only in order to wreck vengeance against him.
Regarding the allegation of indulging in professional misconduct, the respondent
submitted that the same was only imaginary thought of the complainant as
there was no iota of truth in the allegation. According to the respondent the
complainant had taken undue advantage of his position of a former Member of
Parliament and erstwhile Royal family of Mysore to draw the sympathy. He
requested the Council to dismiss the complaint for lack of merits.
      A copy of the written statement was forwarded to complainant, vide
Council’s letter dated 26.7.2005.
Rejoinder
       The complainant in his rejoinder dated 20.8.2005 submitted that the
written statement filed by the respondent was vague, unspecific and evasive.
       Denying the allegation that the complaint was lodged in order to wreck
vengeance against respondent, the complainant submitted that the misconduct
on the part of the respondent was apparent from the publication itself. The
intemperate and foul language employed by the respondent speaks for itself.
       The complainant submitted that the contention of the respondent that
expression “Kamangi” used in the article against the complainant does not
mean ‘Buffoon’ was false to the knowledge of the respondent. The respondent
having employed the expression ‘Buffoon’, in the offending article, had
miserably failed to indicate the meaning of the said expression in the written
statement, which clearly indicates that the written statement was evasive and
unspecific. The respondent simply denied the specific allegations in the
complaint and attempted to avoid answering the real issues involved in the
complaint.
       According to the complainant the respondent had not denied or disputed
the English translation of the publication produced along with the complaint.
The respondent had not produced any other translation of the article, but denied
the contents without intending to bring on record the translation produced. The

                                      200
respondent by merely denying the complaint and by alleging that the averments
in the complaint were false cannot get away from the acts of misconduct on the
face of the publication effected. The complainant submitted that further
proceedings be held to bring to book the misconduct on the part of the respondent
and the unethical practices throughout being adopted by him.
        A copy of the rejoinder was forwarded to the respondent, vide Council’s
letter dated 9.9.2005 for information.
Appearance before the Committee
      The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 22.9.2006
at Hyderabad. Shri Arvind Kumar Sharma, Advocate appeared on behalf of
the complainant. Shri A.S. Ponnanna appeared for the ‘Lankesh Patrike’,
respondent.
Submissions before the Committee
       Learned counsel appearing for the complainant submitted that the
complainant hailing from the highly respected royal family of Mysore enjoys a
very good reputation in the society and had been elected Member of Parliament
thrice. The respondent has published a totally derogatory, defamatory and
scandalous news report using highly objectionable language with insinuations
and innuendoes about his personal life and habits. His presence at public
functions or gathering had been misrepresented to paint him in a bad light.
The complainant was invited as a guest at a fashion show where he was posed
for photograph with the models. The respondent published the photographs
with a highly sensational heading which showed the intention of the respondent
editor. He pleaded that the respondent newspaper Lankesh Patrike, should be
awarded severest punishment.
       The learned counsel appearing for the respondent did not defend the
publication, but admitted that the newspaper had exceeded certain limits while
publishing the impugned news report. He, however, pleaded that there was no
malafide behind the publication and their only intention was to urge that a
person of his stature should set standard of morals.
Recommendation of the Committee
       The Inquiry Committee on careful consideration of the impugned
photograph and the news report was of the firm opinion that the respondent,
‘Lankesh Patrike’ in its issue dated 6.4.2005 published most offending write-
up against the complainant throwing all norms of the journalistic caution to
wind. The news report was per se defamatory and had the tendency to tarnish
the reputation of the complainant among the society and his family. While the
Council has laid down that persons in public life should not be too thin skinned,

                                      201
this is not to say that they should be immune to undue castigation. The Committee
was extremely dissatisfied with the way the respondent had attempted to insinuate
the character of the complainant, juxtaposing the statements with unrelated
photographs. The language employed was also in very poor taste as the
respondent had himself admitted. The Inquiry Committee felt that this was a fit
case of awarding major penalty under Section 14(1) of the Press Council Act
on the erring Lankesh Patrike, Bangalore, for offending the standards of
journalistic ethics and public taste and caancelling the accreditation of the papers’
editor/journalist. It, therefore, recommended to the Council to censure the
respondent newspaper and its editor. The Inquiry Committee also recommended
that a copy of the adjudication be sent to the DAVP, RNI and State Government
of Karnataka for action as they deem fit in the matter.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

52)    Tr. Sandeep Rai Rathore, IPS                        The Editor
       Superintendent of Police                Versus      Naveena Netrikan
       Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu                               Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Complaint
       Tr. Sandeep Rai Rathore, IPS, Superintendent of Police, Tuticorin has
filed this complaint dated 11.6.2005 against “Naveena Netrikan”, Chennai
(Tamil Nadu) alleging publication of false, baseless and misleading news items
captioned “Kakki Corner” under sub-title “S.P. Rathore in Rajasthan Pasam”
and “Kakki Corner” in its issues dated 13.5.2005 and 10.6.2005 respectively.
The impugned news items narrating acts and conduct of the complainant had
highlighted the allegation of favouritism besides an attempt to create a wedge
with his superior officer.
       It was stated in the first article that the complainant had been pretending
to be a forthright officer for public and being a direct IPS officer he could not
be controlled by the conferred IPS, viz DIG, Gopalkrishnan. It is further alleged
that he can go to the extent of giving his life if the officers or accused belongs
to Rajasthan State. He could even help the criminals by breaking the law in
case the accused belongs to Rajasthan State, as he did not take action against
one Rathanlal Daga who was alleged to have engaged in wholesale of narcotics
substances namely, Ganjha, opium, Hasish in cheap price inspite of receipt of
complaints from public and from higher authorities and that the public and the
communist party staged ‘Road Roko’ and pasted posters connecting him in the
above issue and he instructed the Special Branch not to take speedy action. It
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was further alleged in the article that only after the SB CID brought out the
above evil things and his fanatic character, he sent a police party for name sake
to the house of Rahanlal Daga and conducted seizure of narcotic substances
and informed the higher ups. The policemen belonging to Camp office of DSP,
Thondiraj, Thiruchendur has been openly accepting that the said Rathanlal
Daga at the complainant’s grace, has loaded the narcotic substances worth
several crores of rupees in boats and they were floating.
        Denying the allegations, the complainant submitted that the contents of
the article in toto were false, baseless and per se defamatory. He was always
sincere and duty conscious and had been rendering service in a forthright
manner according to law. According to the complainant, the illegal and
infrinching publication had demoralized him before his superior officer and
tarnished his image. The complainant submitted that he had never gone against
the will of his superior officer and the allegation that his superior officer could
not control him was nothing but a tissue of falsehood. As regard to the bomb
culture, the complainant submitted that this was the first time in years that this
district had witnessed unprecedented action against those indulging in
manufacturing, storing and using explosive substance illegally. All the crimes
whether it was murder, dacoity, robbery etc. had come down during his tenure.
        Regarding the allegation that he was favouring officers and accused if
they belong to Rajasthan State, the complainant submitted that actually there was
no nexus between him and Rathanlal Daga or Rajasthan State. The above
allegations were intended only to tarnish his image and reputation in the eyes of
public as to depict him as a fanatic and as a supporter of gangs involved in drugs
trafficking. Clarifying his position the complainant submitted that for the first
time in six years, he motivated his staff and formed a special party to detect
narcotics. After painstaking, sincere and hard work they developed information
and on further and deep inquiry, it was found that the driver of the said Rathanlal
Daga was involved in sale of intoxicating drugs and immediately he was arrested
by the police and investigation in the above case to find out the real culprits is
going on. He alleged that the respondent twisted the facts and the entire publication
was intended to mislead the people and to misguide the investigation.
       It was alleged in the other news item published on 10.6.2005 that the
complainant was spoiled by Inspector of Special Branch Mohamed Ghouse
Khan Ghori and that unless the Training ASP Kannan was not transferred to
any other place, the complainant will spoil him.
        Denying the allegations, the complainant submitted that he drew the
attention of the respondent editor vide letters dated 12.5.2005 but the editor
refused to receive the letter. The complainant issued another letter on 11.6.2005
but received no reply. He requested to take action against the respondent editor

                                        203
for publishing unfair, vexatious and defamatory articles as the same have
demoralized him before his superior officer and tarnished his image.
No Written Statement
      Show-cause notice dated 22.7.2005 was issued to the respondent-editor,
Naveena Netrikan, Chennai but the editor did not file written statement.
Appearance before the Committee
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 22.9.2006
at Hyderabad. S/Shri P. Subash, and L. Ravichander, Advocates appeared on
behalf of the complainant, the Superintendent of Police, Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu.
There was no appearance on behalf of the respondent.
Submissions before the Committee
      The complainant’s representative reiterated the averments made in the
complaint. On being asked by the Inquiry Committee whether the respondent
had any animosity against the complainant, he replied in negative.
Recommendations of the Committee
       The Inquiry Committee on a careful perusal of the complaint noted that
the respondent editor neither filed written statement in response to the show
cause notice dated 22.7.2005 of the Council nor was he represented before the
Inquiry Committee to rebut the allegations of the complainant. The Inquiry
Committee thus proceeded on the premise that the respondent editor has no
defence to substantiate the allegations made in the news items. In the
circumstance, the Inquiry Committee opined that the respondent editor,
“Naveena Netrikan”, Chennai had published reckless allegations against the
complainant without proper verification and thus offended against the standards
of journalistic ethics. The respondent compounded the offence by not publishing
the clarification of the complainant. The Inquiry Committee decided to
recommend to the Council to censure the editor, “Naveena Netrikan”, Chennai
for violation of the above noted norms of journalistic ethics. The Inquiry
Committee further decided that as per the standing decision of the Council a
copy of the Council’s adjudication be sent to the DAVP, RNI and I&PR
Department of the State Government of Tamil Nadu for such action as they
may deem fit in the matter.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

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53)    Shri S.M. Pasha                                The Editor
       Convenor                    Versus             Deccan Chronicle
       Shariath Protection Council                    Chennai, Tamil Nadu
       Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Complaint
        Shri S.M. Pasha, Convenor, Shariath Protection Council, Chennai in his
complaint dated 20/6/2005 against “Deccan Chronicle”, Chennai alleged
publication of a false letter of one Shri A. Faizur Rahman in the “Letters to
Editor” column of his newspaper issue dated 31.5.2005 criticising the survey
report conducted by their Council. According to the complainant, they conducted
a State-level sample survey to ascertain the views of the public in general and
Muslims in particular regarding the model Nikhanama issued by the All India
Muslim Personal Law Board. The complainant submitted that the result and
finding of said survey was announced by them in their Press Meet held on
27.5.2005 and the respondent’s staff reporter was present at the said Press Meet.
Subsequently the respondent-newspaper published a report about the sample
survey on 28.5.2005 followed by a letter to the editor on 31.5.2005 criticizing
the said survey and levelling serious and defamatory charges against him and
his Council. The said letter, while referring the report published on 28.5.2005,
stated that the survey on the model Nikahanama conducted by the “Shariat
Protection Council” is not known in Muslim circles and its findings cannot be
taken at face value. However, a cursory glance at the survey will show that its
findings cannot be taken seriously, for as many as 1,042 persons among those
interviewed were either illiterate or semi-educated apart from 116 being non-
Muslims. It further stated that almost 45% of those interviewed lacked
competence to take a discerning view of the issues they were questioned about.
The impugned letter also stated that the survey conducted by the SPC is totally
flawed, as it does not reflect the ground reality, therefore no significance should
be attached to its findings.
        The complainant’s rejoinder dated 3.6.2005 followed by a reminder dated
7.6.2005 to the respondent evoked no response. He requested the Council to
direct the respondent to tender an unqualified apology to him for causing mental
agony and loss of reputation to his organisation; publish his rejoinder
prominently and also pass such other order as deemed fit and necessary.
      Show-cause notice was issued to the respondent-editor, Deccan
Chronicle, Chennai on 15.7.2005.
Written Statement
       In response, the resident editor, Deccan Chronicle, Chennai in his written
statement dated 5/8/2005 submitted that following publication of their report

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dated 28.5.2005 regarding survey on the modern Nikhanama, a letter was also
published carrying opinion of the readers. Since they carried routinely letters
from their readers on a variety of issues written about in their columns it was
done in a routine manner. Further, he personally called the complainant and
asked him that his previous letter had not been received by him and asked for
another letter. Since he did not receive any other letter from the complainant,
the question of publishing complainant’s letter did not arise. He requested the
Council to consider the matter in the light of facts presented by him.
      A copy of the written statement of the respondent was forwarded to the
complainant on 24.8.2005.
Counter Comments
        The complainant in his counter comments dated 30.8.2005 alleged that
the respondent by denying having received his letter, tried to wriggle out of the
ugly situation. The complainant submitted that he sent afresh, as desired by the
respondent, a copy of his rejoinder through e-mail. He requested the Council
to call upon the respondent to publish his rejoinder along with an unqualified
apology for hurting and harming the fair reputation of their Council.
       A copy of the counter comments of the complainant was forwarded to
the respondent on 6/10/05 with the request to intimate the Council whether
they published the rejoinder of the complainant but no reply was received from
the respondent.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 22.9.2006
at Hyderabad. There was no appearance before it from either side. The
complainant had however sent a letter dated 10.09.2006 requesting for taking
up his matter as a first item to enable him to attend Jummah but he did not turn
up before the Inquiry Committee.
Recommendations of the Committee
        The Inquiry Committee decided to proceed on the basis of the material
on record. The Inquiry Committee perused the letter of one Shri A. Faizur
Rahman published under the caption “flawed” in Deccan Chronicle on 31.5.2005
in response to the report dated 28.5.2005 encaptioned: Most People for new
Nikahnama: Study” saying that the survey conducted by SPC (Shariath
Protection Council) did not reflect the ground realities and therefore no
significance should be attached to its findings. The Inquiry Committee held
and reiterated its guidelines that the Press in India enjoys freedom of the speech
and expression which also includes the right of the readers to express their
views. The guiding principles for carrying letter to the editor are that an editor

                                       206
who decides to open his columns for letters on a controversial subject, is not
obliged to publish all letters received in regard to that letter. However, while
selecting the letter, the editor should make honest endeavour to ensure that
what is published is not one-sided but represents a fair balance between the
views for and against with respect to the principle issue in controversy.
       In the instant matter, the principle issue originated with the publication
of the survey by the complainant Shariath Protection Council, which elicited
the reaction of a reader which the respondent newspaper, Deccan Chronicle
accommodated in letters column. The Inquiry Committee did not find it a fit
case for carrying on the debate by the newspaper, when both sides of the issues
were before the public. The Inquiry Committee recommended to the Council
not to take any action in the matter and close the case.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

54)   Fr. Paul G. D’Cunha                               The Editor
      Parish Priest                    Versus           Mathukathe
      Our Lady of Victories Church, Nagar               Bangalore, Karnataka
      Shimoga, Karnataka
Complaint
        Fr. Paul G. D’Cunha, a Roman Catholic Priest, who had been under the
control of the Bishop of Shimoga has filed this complaint dated 24.3.2004
against “Mathukathe”, Kannada monthly magazine, Bangalore (Karnataka) for
publication of allegedly false, malicious, scandalous and defamatory articles
under the respective captions “Arajkatheya Kappu Neralalli Chickmagalore”
and “Father Paul D’Cunha-Bayalu Seemeyalli Karavali lylu” in its January and
April 2003 issues with a view to disturb the religious tolerance among the
multilingual catholic faithful of Karnataka. In the impugned publications, the
complainant had been described as an eccentric man and due to his act the
people were suffering and published with an avowed intention of scandalising
his character and reputation for the metaphors words, phrases, adjectives and
epithets employed were as noxious and slang Kannada colloquies. Further that
the complainant was denigrated at all places wherein he had served was a figment
of pure imaginations. Highlights of the impugned publication as translated by
the complainant read as follows-

                “The Parish of Holy Family Church in Chitradurga
        is suffering being caught in a strange and wild whirl pool…

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The people are beseeching God day and night to provide them
with a tranquilliser to save themselves from the eccentric acts
of this person (Fr. Paul D’Cunha) in the same manner Fr.
D’Cunha himself consumes tranquilliser often for his
eccentricity…This senior Priest Paul D’Cunha, who is
supposed to possess a vast experience, is inexperienced and
unable to manage properly a small parish containing only
ninety families…He has seen more number of Parishes than
any of his contemporary priests has seen. Don’t be mistaken
that this is because of his talent! The reason is, he is being
shunted out quite often from one place to another even before
completing his full term of office in any place…Having been
tired of wiping out the spits that he got on his face at every
place of his postings, he has now landed up in
Chitradurga…Earning the love and affection of the people
by dealing with them in a polite and peaceful manner has
never been his nature… ‘When people approach him for any
thing, he will either collapse by yelling at them or sit down
quietly holding his chest’ – say the agitated people… He is an
expert in recreating people by cracking jokes concerning
below the waist line of the human body…He has never helped
any local boy or girl to reach Seminary of Nunnery. Never
ever he helped any one for studies by maintaining them in his
house (priest’s house). If at all he has helped anybody; it is to
his own family members only… The eccentricity of Fr.
D’Cunha has reached its Zenith – he got removed the picture
of Holy Cross appearing on the Progress Reports of Nursery
School Children. Explanation of Fr. D’Cunha for the above
act is, he is frightened of RSS people… If he was to remove
the picture of Holy Cross appearing on the progress reports,
the people question! What should happen to the Cross
standing on the rooftop of the Church?… Being fed up with
his skilful drama, people insist that he should be transferred
from there... Wherever he was, he used to keep one or the
other person belonging to his family allowing him to squander
money beyond any limits… There are many instances and
examples of Fr. D’Cunha’s eccentric acts. His problem filled
history has recurred in Chitradurga also… It has never been
in his nature to adjust with any situation in a given place. His
family back ground seems to be the cause of his mental
imbalance.”

                              208
        The complainant alleged that the respondent magazine had been engaged
in publishing false, scandalous, defamatory and scurrilous articles against the
Roman Catholic religious hierarchy in the State of Karnataka, more particularly
against the Bishops and Priests. By publication of such false and scurrilous
articles, the respondent aimed at provoking innocent people to cause unrest
and linguistic intolerance. According to the complainant, the impugned articles
against the Catholic Priests and Bishops of Karnataka were distorted, untrue
and offensive. Under the guise of freedom of press, the respondent’s action
were devoid of any journalistic ethics, public taste and responsibility. The
complainant submitted that the allegations were not based on any established
fact. He alleged that the allegations had not only lowered his status and reputation
in society, but also cast serious doubts about his integrity and efficiency in the
eyes of Church authorities. According to the complainant, the impugned articles
published without ascertaining the truth, had not only lowered his moral, social
and intellectual character in the estimation of others, but had also caused him
severe mental agony and irreparable loss of his good reputation.
       The complainant further stated that a legal notice dated 10.11.2005 had
been issued to the respondent but received no reply.
       The complainant vide his letter dated 28.6.2004 requested to condone
the delay of approximately eight months in filing the complaint, which was
condoned by the Hon’ble Chairman in view of power exercised by him under
proviso to Regulation 3(1)(f) of the Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry)
Regulations, 1979 vide order dated 5.1.2005.
      Show-cause notice was issued to the respondent-editor, Mathukathe,
Kannada monthly, Bangalore on 11.1.2005.
Written Statement
        Denying the allegations, the respondent President of Sanchalana Trust,
Publisher of Mathukathe submitted in her written statement dated 24.1.2005
that the complainant was totally defensive in character and trying to protect
himself at the cost of catholic community. According to the respondent, the
articles in question were not defamatory, as the author had expressed the views
of the catholic community in good faith and in public interest. Giving parawise
denial, the respondent submitted that the statement of the complainant that the
main intention in publication of the magazine was to disturb the religious
tolerance among the multilingual catholic faithful of Karnataka is far from truth.
Priests like Fr. D’Cunha and others in authority have always wanted all the
corruption and misappropriation be swept under the carpet and they have
investigated misappropriation of huge funds in various Christian institutions
and have pulled them out with documentary evidence, like the audit reports
and such other documents.
                                        209
        Denying the statement of the complainant that they were against any
linguistic section of priests, the respondent submitted that in fact they had always
appreciated the positive aspects of different Christian organizations and a
number of articles had been published condemning the fundamentalism either
within or outside the Christian Community and thus fostering communal
harmony.
         According to the respondent the impugned article was in narrative form
and it had included what several people in the parish narrated to their reporters.
Everything reported in the article was either what had happened in the Mass
(Christian religious ritual) where all the people of the said parish participated or
in the meetings of the respective councils of the parish. The people who walked
out of such meetings due to Fr. D’Cunha’s arrogant or otherwise uncalled
behaviour had spoken to the reporter of the magazine. The respondent further
submitted that in most of the places where Fr. D.’Cunha had served, the people
of the respective parishes had taken complaints against him to the Bishop. The
track record of Fr. D’Cunha clearly showed that he was prematurely transferred
from most of the parishes and the reasons for this had been reported in the
article. As per the respondent, the translation provided by Fr. D’Cunha was
exaggerated and not accurate. The language used to write the article was light
and plain, which was the dialect of the local people and not a language with
strict traditional usage as most often used by the elite and polished people. The
English version infact could have a different impact, but the local language in
which the article was written goes in style and tongue of the local people. The
respondent further pointed out that after two months of the publication of the
article, the Bishop transferred Fr. D’Cunha prematurely from Chitradurga and
posted him outside the District. Moreover, the contention and intention of Rev.
Fr. D’Cunha was more in knowing the names of those involved in making the
article itself.
        The respondent submitted that their intentions were purely in the interest
of the people and peace in the parish church. According to the respondent, the
allegation in Rev. Fr. Paul G. D’Cunha’s statement was too general and vague.
It did not indicate anywhere the particular aspect that were defamatory.
Moreover, there was nothing defamatory in the article for it had only conveyed
the views expressed by the local people. She submitted that the impugned
publication was absolutely based on the version given by the people and it had
been published in good faith in the benefit of the people of the particular
community. This article could not be described to disturb any religious tolerance,
much less, multilingual catholic faith in Karnataka as alleged by the complainant.
The respondent submitted that it is the duty of the press to place the facts before
the people because they have right to information. If the truth goes against a
particular individual it could not affect the community more. Hence, the

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allegations of the complainant was absolutely baseless and a figment of
imagination, for the intention in publishing the impugned article was in public
interest. She stated that if the complainant has the courage of conviction to
deny the facts which were stated by the people by no stretch of imagination it
could be defamatory and she was willing to tender apologies if desired by the
Council. The respondent requested the Council to dismiss the complaint, as the
complainant was totally defensive in character and trying to protect himself at
the cost of catholic community.
       A copy of the written statement has been forwarded to the complainant
on 3.1.2006 for information.
Counter Comments
       The complainant in his counter comments dated 22.2.2006 while refuting
the veracity of the written statement submitted that the affidavits filed by the
respondent were got up documents in their vain bid to cover up their misdeed/
lapses. The complainant reiterated that the impugned articles were published
deliberately to malign his reputation. He alleged that there appears to be some
powerful and wild force behind the screen in publishing such articles. He
requested the Council to render justice to him.
      A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent vide
Council’s letter dated 3.3.2006 for information.
Appearance before the Committee
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 22.9.2006
at Hyderabad. Shri Rev. Fr. Paul G.D’ Cunha appeared in person while Ms. Rita
Rini, publisher represented the respondent Magazine, Mathukathe.
Submissions before the Committee
        The complainant submitted that the respondent magazine published false
and malicious article targeting him personally to ruin his reputation. The
complainant denied any kind of irregularity during his tenure. The magazine
levelled allegations without any basis and since this was a local paper, it badly
affected his reputation and standing amongst the local as a priest.
        The representative of the respondent submitted that the article in question
was written in right spirit. The respondent further submitted that many valuable
trees belonging to the Parish of Thirthaholli had been uprooted without bringing
it to the notice of the Parishioners, which caused resentment. She added that
there were many complaints of irregularities by the complainant. She added
that the affidavits of S/Shri Shanth Kumar S/o Shri Chowrappa and Shri Santh
Raj S/o Shri Anthraj of Chitradurga sworn on 24.1.2005 substantiate that the
facts reported in the article was narrated by them. The article was published in
good faith and in public interest.

                                       211
Recommendation of the Committee
        The Inquiry Committee considered the material on record and
submissions made by the parties. The Inquiry Committee noted that the
respondent magazine had defended the publication of the article on the grounds
that the members of catholic community had some grievance against the
complainant and that the article was meant to report their resentment in public
interest.
       The Inquiry Committee observed that the articles in question in
Mathukathe, though at the instance of local people of catholic community,
were libelous and tended to denigrate the complainant though their foul
language. The editor failed to exercise his editorial discretion by editing out
libelous statement and also filed to observe the salutary norm of journalistic
conduct regarding pre-publication verification on such damaging remarks. The
reporter should have taken the version of the complainant before causing
publication of the article. Moreover the respondent failed to produce any material
to substantiate these charges.
       The Inquiry Committee held that the respondent magazine offended
against the journalistic ethics. The Inquiry Committee thus decided to recom-
mend to the Council to admonish the editor, Mathukathe, Kannada Monthly
magazine, Bangalore for this infraction.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

55)    1. Dr. V.B. Tharakeshwar                   The Editor
          Lecturer                         Versus Hai Bangalaore
          Department of Translation Studies       Bangalore, Karnataka
       2. Ms. J. Vijayalakshmi; and
       3. Ms. B.G. Kalavathi
          4th Semester Students (Literature)
          M.A./Ph.D. integrated Course
          Kannada University
          Hampi, Karnataka
Complaint
       Dr. V.B. Tharakeshwar, Lecturer, Department of Translation Studies, Ms.
Vijayalakshmi and Ms. B.G. Kalavathi, 4th Semester students (Literature), M.A./
Ph.D. integrated course, Kannada University, Hampi, Karnataka have filed three

                                       212
separate complaints dated 7.4.2004 against “Hai Banagalore”, Kannada weekly
for publishing defamatory story captioned “Death in Hampi University: Lord
and Master of many women (Bahuvallabha) Tharakeshwar and Victim-of-
hanging (Nenige bidda) Indramani” with cover page headline “A girl’s suicide
in Hampi University; How many lovers does the killer teacher have”? along
with their photos in its issue dated 19.3.2004.
       It was alleged in the impugned news report that Dr. Tharakeshwar had
physical relationship not only with the deceased girl but also with other female
students. About the students, Ms. Vijayalakshmi and Ms. B.G. Kalavalthi it was
alleged that they had physical relationship with their teacher.
        As per the impugned report “35 year old unmarried Tharakeshwar had
many sensual sexual exploits. He is an expert in manipulating literary texts and
girls. He was using his house in M.P. Prakashnagar as training/taming ground
for such activities. Tharakeshwar, who gets handsome salary throws four parties
a month. One is for girl students, one for teachers, one for employees association
and another for those in the close, closer, closest of close category. By throwing
such parties he has become a man wanted by many. First Vijayalakshmi and
Surekha, next Indramani, in this way, Tharakeshwar, who has coolly enjoyed
himself, has gone on increasing the list of his closest of close. All of these three
were sidelined when Chandrakala (name changed) became close to
Tharakeshwar. More than others it was Indramani who had experienced
maximum hurt in this matter. She came to an end before her life flowered”.
        The complainants alleged that the respondent had done a great injustice
by unnecessarily linking their name in a case of suicide and tarnished their
image by writing baseless stories. According to the complainant the impugned
article completely perverted in its approach and made sexual comments causing
harassment to them in the society. It had almost put a full stop to both the
students for further studies in the university and jeopardized their career.
       The complainants submitted that they had written to the respondent editor
asking for publication of clarification or a fair report based on facts, but received
no reply.
         The complainants further submitted that many others had also written
letters to the editor about the falsely of the report but he has ignored all of them,
which amounts to violation of the principles and ethics of journalism. The
complainants have requested the Council to take action against the weekly and
provide justice to them.
        {It is pertinent to mention here that many lecturers and students of the
Kannada University also filed complaints with the Press Council of India on
the instant issue and stated that they had written letters to the respondent editor

                                        213
expressing their anguish over the false and defamatory news report but he had
ignored these. They requested the Council to take necessary action against the
respondent editor for publishing one sided, false and defamatory story. Since
the affected parties already filed the complaints, they were informed vide
Council’s letter dated 25.5.2004 that they do not enjoy locus standi in the
complaints}.
No Written Statement
       Show-cause notice was issued to the respondent editor, Hai Bangalore
on 25.5.2004. No written statement has been filed by the respondent.
Appearance before the Committee
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 22.9.2006
at Hyderabad. Shri V.B. Tharakeshwar, Ms. Vijayalakshimi J. and Ms. Kalavathi
B.G. appeared in person. There was no appearance on behalf of the respondent,
Hai Bangalore.
Submissions before the Committee
        The complainant Dr. Tarakeshwar submitted that a Committee was
constituted by the University to look into the allegations made in the impugned
news stories and the said Committee had given its report. In the Report, no
such complaint was found against him. As regards publication of the photograph
of the girl students along with the impugned news item, the complainant
submitted that the girls had participated in a play and the photographs taken at
that time might have been used by the respondent newspaper. The complainant
submitted that the girl students reported upon and photographed in the impugned
publication had also lodged complaints with the Press Council of India. The
complainant further submitted that the language in Kannada used by the
respondent newspaper was extremely derogatory. The future of the girls with
dreams of educational excellence had been destroyed. On being asked by the
Inquiry Committee whether the newspaper had any animosity, the complainant
reported in negative. He added that he had no knowledge as to what was the
intent of the newspaper in publishing such a sensational and scandalous story
defaming the complainant and his students.
Recommendation of the Committee
       The Inquiry Committee upon hearing the complainant and perusing the
record, noted that the respondent editor, Hai Bangalore neither filed the written
statement nor was he represented before the Committee to defend his case. In
the absence of any defence from the respondent the Inquiry Committee decided
to proceed on the premise that the respondent had nothing to say in defence of
the impugned news report and the photograph. On merits, the Committee opined

                                      214
that the impugned publications were extremely objectionable and targeted the
complainant and his students. There was no basis for the news as established
by the Inquiry report. The news was per-se defamatory and couched in bad
language. The aim appeared to be to create sensation to boost the circulation of
the newspaper. It was nothing but a piece of yellow journalism. It had no news
value and offended public good taste. The Inquiry Committee further noted
that no attempt, whatesover, was made by the respondent editor to verify the
facts before publishing the news report. The editor also denied the complainants
their right to reply by not publishing the clarification of the complainant. The
Inquiry Committee, recommend to the Council to uphold the complaint and
censure the respondent editor, Hai Bangalore. The Council may further send a
copy of the adjudication of the Council to DAVP, RNI and I&PRD of
Government of Karnataka for such action as they deem fit in the matter.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

56)   Shri Om Prakash                                    The Editor
      Inspector General of Police            Versus      Hai Bangalore
      Northern Range                                     Bangalore
      Belgaum, Karnataka
Complaint
       Shri Om Prakash, Inspector General of Police (Northern Range),
Belgaum has filed this complaint dated 10th July, 2004 against “Hai Bangalore”,
Kannada Weekly for publishing an allegedly baseless, inaccurate, misleading,
malicious and defamatory news item captioned “A Thief in the Khaki Clad !
Inspector General of Police, Om Prakash, First Information Report” in its issue
dated 9 th July, 2004.
       Highlights of the impugned news report read as follows:-
               “It may not be difficult for the Chief Minister to transfer
       the most corrupt IPS Officer from the post he is occupied… His
       name is Om Prakash a pure Bihari IPS Officer. Three years lapse
       after occupying the post, apart from sleeping and sitting the people
       have seen him only in the posture of eating... Om Prakash has
       fixed at least a sum of Rupees fifty thousand to revoke a suspension
       of a Sub-Inspector… Any one can go and grease the palm of Om
       Prakash by going to his house on club road…He travels in Club
       Roads at nights by taking girls in the Maruti Car.”

                                       215
        Denying the allegations the complainant submitted that the impugned
article was published with malicious intention to defame him in public life. The
complainant submitted that the ‘heading’ and ‘sub-headings’ themselves were
objectionable and misleading. According to him, whatever was published in
the article was provocative, sensational and without pre-publication verification.
An attempt had been made to hide the truth and publish the false allegations to
disrepute him.
       The complainant alleged that the impugned article was sensational,
provocative and biased without respecting the truth. The complainant submitted
that he had successfully served in the police department in various posts and
also an awardee of President’s Police Medal for Meritorious Service on the
occasion of Republic Day, 2000.
       The complainant drew the attention of the respondent editor demanding
him to publish the contradiction with an unconditional apology but to no avail.
      A show-cause notice dated 27.7.2004 was issued to the respondent editor,
Hai Bangalore.
Written Statement
      The respondent editor, Hai Bangalore in his written statement dated
3.8.2004 submitted that the report in question was based on the authentic
information from their reporters and the very appointment of the complainant,
Shri Om Prakash, IPS as Transport Commissioner of Government of Karnataka,
an administrative post reserved for an IAS officer, was arranged by the
complainant. The respondent editor stood by his report.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
18.8.2004 for information.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
      The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 22.09.2006
at Hyderabad. S/Shri C.R. Sridharan, Sarmesh and Sriniwas Reddy, Advocates
appeared on behalf of the complainant. There was no appearance for the
respondent, Hai Bangalore.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       The counsel for the complainant submitted that the entire news item was
defamatory of the complainant. The newspaper was given a notice for publishing
contradiction but no response was received from the respondent.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       The Inquiry Committee has carefully examined the material on record.

                                       216
The Inquiry Committee noted that the respondent editor filed an evasive reply
and did not come forward to defend the impugned publication despite
opportunity of hearing given to the editor. The Inquiry Committee on perusal
of the impugned news item “A Thief in the Khaki clad”, in the issue dated
9.7.2004; observed that the respondent newspaper made reckless allegations
in the entire news item about the complainant. The editor failed to substantiate
the allegations published in the news item by any documentary evidence. The
Inquiry Committee recommended to the Council to uphold the complaint and
to censure the editor, Hai Bangalore, Bangalore for publishing the defamatory
and derogatory news item against the complainant without verifying the facts
and for not publishing the clarification of the complainant. The Inquiry
Committee also recommended to the Council to send the adjudication of the
Council to DAVP, RNI and Government of Karnataka for such action as they
deem fit in the matter.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

57)   Shri S. Putswamy KAS                              The Editor
      Bangalore                        Versus           Lankesh Patrike
      Karnataka                                         Bangalore
Complaint
        This complaint dated 30.12.2004 has been filed by Shri S. Putswamy
KAS, Bangalore against “Lankesh Patrike”, Kannada weekly alleging
publication of defamatory, baseless and slanted article under the caption
“Collection Putswamy at the service of Siddarmaiah” (English translation)
published in its issue dated 29.12.2004. The gist of the impugned article read
as follows:-
                “The name of the collection expert K.A.S. officer is S.
        Putswamy. This fellow, the Personal Secretary to the Deputy
        Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah was identified as ‘Collection
        Putswamy’ only. Though Siddaramaiah is in politics for several
        years, he was not corrupt. Though he lived amidst the corrupt
        people he had no bad name. Infact, the only leader who had
        some honesty and morality, both amidst these worst politicians
        this Siddaramaiah. How such a man appointed a person like
        collection Putswamy as his Personal Secretary, god only
        knows…Putswamy, who got lands worth crores of rupees in
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        Benami from the innocent farmers on the pretext of Notification
        when he was the D.C. of Urban land ceiling, when he became
        the Director of Social Welfare, looked after his welfare only.
        When he became Personal Secretary to the Ex-Minister A.
        Krishnappa, the whole Vidhana Soudha was astonished to look
        at the way Putswamy engaged in an eating spree”.
        Denying the allegations, the complainant submitted that the impugned
article was totally false, baseless, inaccurate and published with the intention to
blackmail him. The complainant stated that the respondent published the
impugned news article to make a sensational story without proper pre-publication
verification with an intention to mislead the public with distorted materials.
According to him, the respondent with the distorted material misled the public
and thereby violated the norms of journalistic conduct. The complainant further
stated that he wrote a letter to the respondent editor but no response received.
He requested the Council to take suitable action against the respondent for
publishing derogatory, scurrilous and distorted article.
Written Statement
        In response to the show-cause notice dated 9.2.2005, the counsel for
the respondent in their written statement dated 28.3.2005 denied the allegations
and at the outset submitted that the complaint was totally false, frivolous and
deserves to be dismissed in limine. The respondent submitted that the Lankesh
Patrike had no intimation regarding the complaint lodged by the complainant
as earlier editor, Lankesh Patrike Ms. Guari had suppressed the same and upon
coming to know about the lodging of the complaint we had sent interim reply
dated 21.2.2005 reiterating that what had been published with regard to the
complainant was and there was nothing defamatory. The respondent further
stated that during the complainant’s tenure as Deputy Secretary of Bangalore
Development Authority, many out of turn 22 allotments of stray sites came to
be allotted to the persons who were not eligible under the rules. He further
stated that during the complainant’s tenure as Chief Executive Officer of
Bangalore Urban District Zilla Panchyat, he summarily suspended 22 Grama
Panchayat Secretaries only to reconstitute them within 15 days. If there was
any cause of reason to keep an employee under suspension and consequential
imposition to punishment. The complainant reported to be knowing a vast stretch
of land measuring 112 at Holanarasipura and the land had been kept in the
names of the relatives in order to escape notice from regulatory authorities like
income tax. The respondent alleged that the complainant was indulging in
collection of money and therefore known in public circle as a collection agent.
The respondent further stated that the complainant while lodging the complaint
against Lankesh Patrike, apart from stoutly contending that what has been

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published therein was false but no explanation has been tendered to substantiate
that the allegations were untrue. Mere bald assertions and denials would not
retract the facts from its veracity and truth. Referring to the long standing
reputation of the concerned journalist responsible for publication of such news
item it was stated that it is in the public interest that such nefarious activities on
the part of the politicians are brought to the knowledge of the public, so that the
society is free from such corrupt entities officials who are eating the very vitals
of their society. The respondent stated that they are at liberty to expose the
misdeeds of people who are in power and who for the personal glory misuse
the power to make undue pecuniary gains to themselves. If only the liberties
given to the press are curbed, there will not be any vibrant democracy. The
article in question was published only after gathering the facts by the journalist.
He concluded by saying that the complaint is nothing but a crude and blatant
attempt to divert the attention of the public to his (complainant) well-known
misdeeds and also accumulation of ill gotten wealth.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
3.5.2005 for information.
Appearance before the Committee
      The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 22.9.2006
at Hyderabad. There was no appearance on behalf of the complainant. Shri
A.S. Ponnanna, Advocate appeared for respondent, ‘Lankesh Patrike’.
Submissions before the Committee
       The counsel of the respondent submitted that the complaint was frivolous
and deserve to be dismissed. The respondent also submitted that after publication
of the news and several other similar charges, the complainant had resigned.
Recommendations of the Committee
       The Inquiry Committee considered the material on record and observed
that the complainant did not appear before the Committee despite service of
notice of hearing on the complainant. The Inquiry Committee felt in view of
the oral submissions before it that the complainant was not interested to pursue
the complaint and therefore, the complaint deserve to be dismissed. The Inquiry
Committee accordingly decided to recommend to the Council to dismiss the
complaint for non- prosecution.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

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Communal, Casteist and Anti Religious Writings

58)    Dr. Krishen Kak, IAS(Retd.)                      The Hindu
       New Delhi                              Versus    Delhi
Complaint
        This complaint dated 19.6.2004 has been filed by Dr. Krishen Kak, IAS
(Retd.), New Delhi against The Hindu, Delhi for alleged violation of the ethics
with regard to denial of right of reply.The complainant objected to the
photograph of Mr. Qutbuddin Naseeruddin Ansari, a victim of Gujarat
communal violence in the respondent’s newspaper dated 29.1.2004 and its
description under the heading : “Qutbuddin Naseeruddin pleads for life after
being surrounded by a mob of Hindu militants in Ahmedabad, 2002”. The
complainant submitted that The Hindu on different occasions published different
caption of the said photograph, without the slightest indication that the editor
made any attempt whatsoever to cross-check or verify the authenticity of any
of these descriptions. The complainant submitted that the respondent published
in its issue of 7.8.2003 in a caption below Mr. Ansari’s famous pleading face
clearly stating “Qutubuddin Ansari, who pleaded with the police to save him
from the rioters…”. On 17.8.2003 the same photograph carried the caption
“Over the past few weeks, Indian newspapers had been publishing the
photograph of the 29 year-old Ahmedabad tailor, Qutubuddin Ansari, a victim
of the savage Gujarat communal riots of 2002, now in the process of being
rehabilitated in Kolkata. During the riots, the photograph of Ansari’s tear-stained
face begging for mercy from the assailants moved the nation. Even the attackers
let him go. This one photograph captured man’s cruelty to man in the Gujarat
riots”. In the issue of August 31,2003 the description had “begging for his life
as his home burned and his neighbours were butchered” (Praveen Swami, “The
spreading tentacles of terror”, The Hindu, August 31, 2003). According to the
complainant, if Mr. Ansari was pleading his attackers, it is curious that they are
all, every single one, and their weapons, completely behind the photographer,
and Mr. Ansari as he pleads is looking not at any of the attackers but into the
camera.
       The complainant in his further letter dated 9th July 2004 to the Council,
informed that the respondent again published another news item captioned
“Lashkar fishes in troubled waters” in The Hindu issue dated 27.6.2004 which
allegedly exemplifies how the unverified, unsubstantiated and inflammatory
descriptions of photograph published by it, still clearly influence communal
elements hostile to the Indian polity into openly fostering the violence of religious
hate in the country. The objectionable portion of the impugned publication
read as follows:

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                 “If the Gujarat Police are right and the Mumbai college student
        who was killed in Ahmedabad on June 15 was a Lashkar-e-Taiba
        operative, she would most certainly have seen a graphic image on the
        organisation’s website: riot survivor Qutubuddin Ansari begging for
        his life. Underneath the image, the Lashkar’s site designer added a
        slogan: “don’t you think he should have a gun?” Like most things to
        do with the organization, the Lashkar’s plans for Gujarat are no secret.
        Even since the pogrom of 2002, the organization has been publicly
        calling on Indian Muslims to join its Jihad. In an article published that
        year on the Lashkar website, its political head, Hafiz Mohammad
        Sayeed, asked “The Muslims of India that they themselves rise up for
        their protection”. Only Jihad, he continued, “is the defence of the
        oppressed Muslims. The riots have proved that the Hindus are fully
        armed but the Muslims are badly ill-equipped to cope with such a
        situation.”
        The complainant submitted that given the much publicized communal
context of the Ansari photographs, the need for responsible editorial function
is imperative. He also pointed out that in the impugned report “begs to nearby
police to rescue him” as circulated by Reuters which circulated the photograph,
had been changed to “beggars for his life” and the latter was designed to elicit
stronger emotional reaction. The respondent’s attention was drawn to its
inaccuracy vide his letter dated 18.5.2004 but to no avail. The complainant has
submitted that the respondent had continued conspicuously to violate Council
Guidelines in the matter.
Written Statement
      Show cause notice was issued to the respondent editor, The Hindu on
14.1.2005.
       The Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu in his written statement dated 1st February
2005 denied the allegations and submitted that the complaint is not maintainable
and liable to be dismissed in limine. The respondent submitted that the alleged
photograph was captured by the news agency Reuters. Neither the news agency
Reuters nor its photographer, who took the alleged photograph, had been made
party in the complaint. The respondent submitted that the complainant, with a
view to bring disrepute to their publication, filed the present complaint leaving
all other publications and electronic media that published photograph along
with their respective news items. The alleged publications were carried out in
their newspaper along with the photograph of the affected person in issues
dated 17.8.2003, 7.8.2003, 8.8.2003, 31.8.2003 and 6.12.2003. The respondent
submitted that the complainant failed to institute the alleged complaint well
within the time stipulated by the Inquiry Regulations of the Press Council and

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on this ground alone the complaint is liable to be rejected. The delay in filing
the complaint is deliberate and with an intention to malign the reputation of
their newspaper. The complainant should have been satisfied with the reply
given by the news agency Reuters and there was no need to bring the issue
before the Press Council of India, that too after a period of one year. This
would suggest that the complainant has developed a misplaced grievance, hence
the Council should not entertain the complaint.
        The respondent submitted that the job of their newspaper is to provide
extensive coverage of diverse issues of national concern, politics, and the
democratic way of life, social problems, and so on in a manner that advances
constitutional and human values without prejudice to the rights of any individual
or group of persons. According to the respondent, the news items published by
The Hindu on various occasions starting from August 7, 2003 revolved around
the communal carnage, unleashed by communal fanatics and religious
fundamentalists. The news report did not center on any particular community
and it only centered on the communal hatred and hate politics perpetrated. The
respondent has submitted that the articles published by The Hindu were neither
one sided nor expressed any sentiments against any one community or religion.
It has stood steadfastly against communal and hate politics when communal
carnage of such a magnitude occurred in Gujarat, the birthplace of Mahatma
Gandhi who preached non-violence, tolerance, inter-faith goodwill, and human
solidarity. The articles reported only true happenings at that point of time and
by publishing the factual details, no sensationalism was resorted to by their
newspaper as alleged by the complainant. The respondent submitted that the
news items and articles published in The Hindu were never intended to harm
any particular community, specifically Hindus and references were made only
against fanaticism falsely taking and abusing the name of religion to indulge in
arson, loot and targeting innocent people belonging to the minority community.
Their newspaper did not publish any provocative or exaggerated statements
that resulted in communal hatred or led to one community fighting another.
The respondent submitted that they can give proof of the truth as published by
The Hindu and rely on various news agencies. The complainant, if really
aggrieved by the photograph published, should have taken steps to find out the
truth from the photographer rather than filing the complaint against their
newspaper. The complainant had himself produced an e-mail message from
Reuters giving him particulars and facts pertaining to the photographs taken
and this itself is sufficient justification and proof for their newspaper to publish
the actual photograph given by the news agency. The respondent has submitted
that the acts perpetrated by aggressors claiming to act on behalf of the ‘majority
community’ against a particular community deserved to be condemned in public
and for publishing such condemnation, the newspaper cannot be held to be

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biased or damaging the public morale or attempting to create communal hatred.
The respondent submitted that it is for the complainant to proceed against the
news agency and its photographers and their newspaper cannot give its opinion
on the matter. The respondent submitted that the complainant has no locus
standi to question the accurate reporting of the newspapers regarding the factual
reporting of the communal carnage in the State of Gujarat. Their newspaper
had verified the fact about the name of the aggrieved person and the complaint
is filed belatedly when there are a number of inquiries being conducted by
various commissions and courts regarding the communal carnage. By raising
the issue of communal clashes that brought national shame of this magnitude,
the complainant wanted to fuel further communal tension. Further it was
contended there is no iota of truth in the allegations made by the complainant
and hence the very intention of filing the complaint is malafide and the same
deserves to be rejected. The respondent has submitted that the complainant is
attempting to interfere with the freedom of speech and expression and the press
enshrined in the Constitution of India.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
2.5.2005.
Counter Comments
       The complainant in his counter comments dated 13 th May 2005 has
submitted that the rejoinder, if any, of a news agency, does not absolve the
newspaper of its own responsibility and liability under the Press Council Act.
The complainant has submitted that the newspaper is culpable in its own right
and the joining or not of the news agency does not absolve the newspaper of its
own responsibility under the Council guidelines and principles. The newspaper
is expected to exercise its own functions and not blindly depend on its alleged
sources. The complainant has submitted that the news agency in question has
put out only one description for the photograph; it is the newspaper that has put
out different and what are worse, all mutually inconsistent descriptions. The
complainant has submitted that in any event, if the Council opines that re-
joinder is necessary, this is not a fatal defect and can be remedied under
Regulation 4 or Regulation 13. The complainant submitted that the Act does
not require him to file a complaint against “all other publications and electronic
media that published the photograph”. He has submitted that this is clearly
impossible task, since a private citizen cannot be expected nor is required to
locate and keep track of “all” media. The complainant submitted that the
complaint has been “deliberately” filed against The Hindu and it has not been
done accidentally. It had been done after due and careful consideration, and it
had been done against this particular newspaper because this is the one to
which he subscribed and which he read daily. That even after the newspaper’s

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attention had been drawn to its different descriptions of the photograph, it again
referred to the photograph on 27.6.2004 with yet again a differing description.
The complainant has submitted that the point at issue here is not whether he
should have been satisfied with the reply given by Reuters, the point at issue is
the absence of a reply from the newspaper to his letter bringing to its attention
the many different accounts it published of this photograph, and the context of
such accounts. His complaint analyzed in systematic detail for the Council
both the photograph and its various descriptions with reference to the Council’s
guidelines and principles in regard to the reporting of communal disturbances
and the newspaper had not factually rebutted a single of these points. No
complaint had been made about any “article”, the complaint restricted itself to
the authenticity and context of one photograph – there is nothing in the Press
Council Act that bars such a complaint because the newspaper generally claims
a good character for itself. His complaint is that the captions/descriptions
published by the newspaper vary from the news agency account and all those
of the newspaper vary from each other. The complainant submitted that the
newspaper claims that the news agency e-mail to him is “itself sufficient
justification and proof” that they published the actual photograph, how can a
third party e-mail to him after the publication by the newspaper be a sufficient
justification by the newspaper for already having published it. The complainant
submitted that even if the photograph published is “actual”, why do the
descriptions of it published by the newspaper vary from that given by the news
agency and then why do they all contradict each other. After this was pointed
out to the newspaper, it went ahead and published yet another contradicting
account. Given the communally sensitive context of photograph, was it not the
duty of the editor to cross-check its authenticity. The complainant has submitted
that the newspaper was relying solely on a news agency dispatch. If not the
area, surely the newspaper should have crosschecked at least with the news
agency, especially given the ambiguities in the photograph that editors can be
assumed to be professionally trained to notice. The complainant submitted
that this newspaper accepts it did not do yet a news agency dispatch of such a
communally sensitive photograph is sufficient, it says, to publish a
“condemnation”. The complainant submitted that this itself is arguable, but
why should the “facts” it presents as describing the photograph vary from
“condemnation” to “condemnation” published by it and from the news agency
“facts” too. The complainant has submitted that if the newspaper seriously
urges its argument here, then why does it need editors at all. It is accepting it
published the photograph as received from its purveyor, in other words, without
exercising its editorial function at all. The complainant has submitted that it
does not bother to explain, even to the Council, why it did not publish or in
anyway respond to his letter to it dated 18.5.2004. The complainant submitted
that he has not questioned newspaper’s general reporting, he is questioning its

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specific reporting in regard to a specific photograph and this Press Council Act
entitles him to do. The complainant submitted that the name of the person
photographed is hardly the major issue; that this person is actually in the situation
that the newspaper differently describes for him on different occasions is the
major issue. The complainant submitted that there may or may not be other
inquiries “regarding the communal carnage” does not bar the Council acting
within its own jurisdiction. The complainant submitted that the newspaper’s
now-evident total lack of editorial responsibility in this enormously and
nationally sensitive communal matter is crystal clear and specific violations by
the newspaper have been established of the Council’s guidelines and principles
on the reporting of communal disturbances.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
        The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 6.1.2006. The complainant was not present. However, an e-mail dated
3.1.2006 was received from the complainant stating inter alia that he had nothing
further to add to the points he had already made and he requested the Council
to examine each of the points on merit and take decision accordingly. He
requested to be excused from the hearing.
       Shri S. Ramanujam, Deputy Regional General Manager, The Hindu,
represented the respondent, The Hindu. The respondent had vide his letter dated
5.1.2006 stated that in the above matter the letter addressed to the editor, The
Hindu, Chennai, was forwarded to them and their legal advisors have advised
them to file a supplementary reply in addition to the reply filed on 1.2.2005.
He accordingly requested for four weeks adjournment.
Matter Adjourned
       The Inquiry Committee adjourned the matter in view of the request from
the respondent, allowing them time to file their supplementary reply.
Supplementary Written Statement
        The respondent, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu in his supplementary written
statement dated 10.6.2006 denied the allegations and insinuations made by the
complainant in the complaint and submitted that the complainant is looking at
the Gujarat incident as a mere fight between the two religious communities and
wants the respondent newspaper also to look at it in that light. The Hindu can
not subscribe to that narrow approach. Wherever religious fanaticism, shows
its ugly face, the Hindu has always taken a stand of exposing fearlessly the
aggressor and setting out the true facts without being influenced by the personal
religious beliefs of the editor and irrespective of whether the majority community
was the aggressor or the minority community was the aggressor. The Hindu
has always believed that the fanatics belong to one religion namely,

                                        225
“fundamentalism” and they are neither Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews since
no religion advocates violence. This broad perspective has been completely
mined by the complainant.
        The respondent further submitted that the photograph of Qutubuddin
Ansari in question is taken by Mr. ArkKo Datta of Reuters, a reputed International
News Agency. Any news or photograph disseminated by the news agency is
the property of news agency and they take responsibility for its genuineness.
The respondent has submitted that the inferences made thereon are a product
of the fertile imagination of the complainant. What is surprising is, instead of
looking at the matter from a broad perspective and instead of culling out the
essence of the news item, the complainant with no sensitiveness to the communal
carnage has launched a post mortem, which has ultimately no relevance
whatsoever to the main issue. The respondent mentioned that the photographs
as furnished by the news agency was carried by The Hindu. It was not a doctored
or a morphed photograph.
        The respondent further submitted that much is sought to be made out of
an article written by Gangadhar that Mr. Qutubuddin Ansari was facing threat
from the assailants is reconcilable with the fact that he was pleading for mercy.
The substance of the matter was that a man in distress was pleading for his life.
The respondent submitted that the false averments are deliberately made after
being fully conscious of the true facts. The complainant is aware that the victim
Mr. Ansari was on the first floor when the attackers/assailants were on the ground
floor. In spite of this that the complainant averred that there was no mob/
policeman/assailants rioters in the photograph. The respondent has further
submitted that it was not as if the complainant is not aware that it was reporter
who met Ansari and not that Ansari had approached The Hindu. The respondent
has denied that The Hindu has violated any ethical principle. The photographs
belonged to a reputed news agency and it was their property. The complainant
not having arrayed them as a party cannot raise the issue here.
       The respondent submitted that the newspapers have no religion and it is
denied that a one sided version bleeding anti Hindu anguish was published.
The respondent also denied that the publication was a carefully grafted emotional
outburst designed to justify the writer command bias and bashing of majority
community. The respondent vehemently denied that the said publication was
irresponsible or un-intellectual, morally and journalistically dishonest.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
      The matter was again taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 21.8.2006. Shri N Sriram was present on behalf of the respondent
newspaper while there was no appearance on behalf of the complainant. Shri N
Sriram requested to pass over the matter since the counsel engaged by the

                                       226
newspaper to argue before the Committee had got delayed up. Since the counsel
for “The Hindu” did not appear before the Committee, the Inquiry Committee
proceeded to decide the matter on the basis of material available on record.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        The Inquiry Committee on a careful perusal of the material on record
noted that the respondent, “The Hindu” carried reports in different issues of the
paper making the reference to the photograph of Shri Qutubuddin Naseeruddin
Ansari with caption reports indicating that he was pleading for life during
communal violence in Gujarat in the year 2002. The Inquiry Committee noted
that it was the fact that the communal violence took place in Gujarat in the year
2002 and the said photograph of Shri Qutubuddin Naseeruddin Ansari was
taken by a reputed international news agency, ‘Reuters. Establishing the
genuineness or otherwise of the photograph was not the intent of this inquiry.
It was limited to examining whether the captions provided by the paper to the
photograph over a period of time were appropriate or not and was there any
deliberate intent in giving the said caption. The Committee noted that Reuters
while releasing the photographs had given it the caption “AN INDIAN MUSLIM
MAN SURROUNDED BY HINDU RIOTERS BEGS IN AHMEDABAD. An
Indian Muslim man stranded on the first floor of his house and surrounded by
Hindu rioters begs to nearby police to rescue him in Ahmedabad, the main city
in the western Indian state of Gujarat, on March 1, 2002. Troops arrived in
India’s riot-torn western state on Friday to crush religious violence that has
killed more than 190 people in two days, the worst communal bloodshed in a
decade.”
        The Committee also perused the various captions given by ‘The Hindu’
to the photograph. It felt that while there was nothing on record to establish
any mal-intent on the part of the newspaper and even the various headings
given over a period of time did not substantially differ from the sum and
substance of the caption given by Reuters, the Committee observed that the
newspaper should have avoided mentioning the religion of the man identified
in the photograph or of his attackers. This has time and again been stressed not
only in the guidelines issued by the Council but even by the National Integration
Council and several other apex authorities of this country. The Hindu should
have exercised restraint in the matter and was expected to be careful in future.
The Inquiry Committee decided to recommend to the Council to dispose of the
complaints with these observations.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.
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59)   Shri V.H. Dalmiya                                The Editor
      President                      Versus            Economic Times
      Vishva Hindu Parishad                            New Delhi
      New Delhi
                                                       The Editor
                                                       The Delhi Times, (TOI)
                                                       New Delhi
Complaint
        Shri V.H. Dalmiya, President, Vishva Hindu Parishad, New Delhi filed
these complaints against (i) The Economic Times and (ii) The Delhi Times
supplement of The Times of India for publication of objectionable photographs
projecting Lord Krishna and Lord Rama in the respective issues dated 13.2.2005
and 15.2.2005.
       The complainant submitted that The Economic Times published the
photograph of Lord Krishna and Radha with an article on Kama Sutra by Shri
Vikram Doctor captioned: ‘Let’s misbehave’. Portraying the almighty thus was
highly obnoxious. There is no relevance of the photograph with the article
except to show Lord Krishna in bad light, alleged the complainant.
       Regarding the article published in The Delhi Times about Ramayana
being printed in the form of a comic book under the caption ‘Dramayana 2005’,
the complainant has submitted that Ramayana is a sacred scripture for Hindus
and it is highly deplorable to depict such a pious scripture in the form of the
comic book merely on the pretext of making it available to the children.
      The complainant has submitted that all Hindus worship Lord Krishna
and Lord Rama as God almighty, and all Hindu religious scriptures and saints
and sages talk of the same thing. Portraying them in such a way or writing a
comic book on God is highly obnoxious and outrageous and is an assault on
the Hindu religion and culture and is bound to greatly hurt their religious
sentiments.
      According to the complainant, such publications are an act of taking
undue advantage of the spirit of tolerance in the Hindu religion.
Written Statement
       Show cause notices were issued to the respondent editors, Economic
Times and Delhi Times on 28.4.2005.
      Shri Rajnish M. Singh, Advocate filed written statement dated 7.6.2005
on behalf of the Editor, Economic Times and the Editor, Delhi Times, Delhi.
The counsel for the respondents denied that the said picture is of Lord Krishna.
He submitted that similar pictures can be found in all ancient mythological

                                      228
stories, and in paintings all over the country. The pictures of kings and queens
can be found in large numbers especially in old paintings and ancient caves.
During the Mughal period lots of paintings of kings and queens were made in
very suggestive manner and positions. He has submitted that the article in
question was about Kamasutra, which is an encyclopaedia of its kind, and the
contents stated therein are very ancient compared to this period. The counsel
for the respondents has submitted that the picture used in the article had nothing
to do or was intended to do with Lord Krishna, since during the ancient period
the kings had a keen interest in practice and procedures of Kamasutra, although
in the current context the same is being treated as vulgar and in bad taste. The
counsel for the two respondents has submitted that a newspaper has certain
amount of duty towards its readers and as a responsible newspaper group his
client are aware of the same and it is vehemently denied that the said picture
was published to hurt the religious sentiments of any religious community.
        Regarding the reporting on Ramayana, the counsel for the respondents
submitted that the article was written to inform the general public that a comic
book called ‘Dramayana’ has been created by filmmaker Mr. Shekhar Kapoor
and Mr. Deepak Chopra and the book would be in the form of a comic book
strip. He has submitted that the role of responsible media is to inform its readers
of current events, stories, general knowledge or current happenings or else
what would be the role of media in the present scenario or is it expected from
the media to stop such reporting. The counsel for the respondents submitted
that the idea behind such reporting is to create interest in the younger generation
as today’s youth is no way interested in reading mythological books of religious
importance. He submitted that one television channel has already shown
Ramayana in form of comic characters. Ramayana and Mahabharata and other
stories of Hindu Gods/Goddess in comic forms are already published and are
in public domain. The counsel for the respondents submitted that it would be
wrong to suggest that his clients have hurt the religious feelings of any religious
community. The counsel for the respondents submitted that these books are
quite popular with children, and the younger generation who enjoy reading
these books and get valuable information from these books/comic related to
religion. He submitted that his clients have no intention of hurting religious
sentiments of any community.
Counter Comments
      A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
13.7.2005.
        Shri V.H. Dalmia, the complainant vide his letter dated 23rd July 2005
informed that they do not agree with the comments sent by the respondents
and requested the Council to take an independent view of the whole matter
only after having heard views of both the parties and then take a final decision.
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Matter Adjourned
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 6.1.2006. Shri Rajiv Shahdher, Sr. Advocate, along with Shri Nikilesh,
Advocate, represented the complainant. There was no appearance on behalf of
the respondents.
       The Inquiry Committee considered the impugned publications and noted
that the impugned reports of Gods and Goddesses were prima facie not very
appreciable. The Committee felt that the respondent was one of the market
leaders in terms of circulation and its publication carried wide impact. It was,
therefore, necessary to examine the relevance of the impugned photographs
qua the accompanying reports. The Inquiry Committee expressed its
displeasure over the non-appearance of the respondent at the hearing despite
service of notices. It directed the Secretariat to write to The Times of India to
ensure their presence at the next meeting. The Committee accordingly adjourned
the matter.
      The proceedings of the Inquiry Committee were conveyed to the
respondents vide office letter dated 09.05.2006.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matters were posted for hearing before the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 21.8.2006. S/Shri Rajiv Bakshi and Rajesh Nair were present on
behalf of the complainant, while there was no appearance for the respondents
The Times of India/Economic Times.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       The representative of the complainant reiterated the averments made in
the complaint. He added that the impugned publications were deliberate attempts
of the newspapers to hurt the religious sentiments of a particular community.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
       The Inquiry Committee considered the material available on record. At
the outset, it expressed it deep displeasure over the callous attitude of the
respondent editor in not being represented before the Committee despite
duly receiving the notice of hearing and specific direction given at the last
hearing.
       On merits, the Committee first considered the impugned publication in
Delhi Times captioned “Dramayana 2005’ and noted that the article in question
reported a new project undertaken to publish mythological and other stories in
a comic book form. It felt that ‘comic book’ does not mean ‘lampooning’. It

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primarily denotes the presentation of a story in a drama form accompanied by
etching of the character to whom the narration is attributed. It is expected that
even when the author tries to give a new interpretation to the story the etchings
accompanying them would conform to the basics of the character envisaged.
This done, there should be no scope for the freedom of expression of one
hurting the sentiments of another. The Committee felt that this caution was
necessary if it wished to avoid the situation that arose after the publication of
some caricatures in Danish newspapers. Tested against these basic principles,
the Committee felt that the impugned etchings accompanying the article did
not warrant action for violation of journalistic ethics, but advised the respondent
to ensure that any of its action did not contribute to adversely affecting the
sentiments of any community or caste.

         Insofar as the impugned publication in Economic Times was concerned,
it felt that the denial of the respondent that the photograph was not that of Lord
Krishna had no legs to stand upon, as the persons depicted in the photograph
carried all the signages associated with the Lord. On perusal of the article which
the photograph accompanied, the Committee noted that it was a commentary
on the marketing of brand “Kamasutra” to target a global audience, be it for
promotion of books, tourism or related products. It felt that read in the context
of the contents of the article, the accompanying photograph was of no relevance
and was particularly irreverent in the context of the headline. This, the Committee
felt was gross trivialization of journalism without taking due care to establish
that the sentiments of any community were not being affected thereby. The
portrayal of Radha Krishna in an article of Kamasutra brand was demeaning
the sublime leela of Lord deeply revered by the Hindus. The Committee urged
the respondent to appreciate that the domain of ethics is much larger than law
and ethicality of an action needs to be judged from a common man’s point of
view. It felt that in the instant case, though no malafide could attributed to the
paper, the paper did to take appropriate care in selection of the photograph for
publication with the article.

      The Inquiry Committee, therefore, recommended to the Council to close
the complaint against The Delhi Times and to uphold the complaint against
The Economic Times and advise the respondents to give due regard to the
observations made above and regulate their actions accordingly.

Decision of the Council

        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

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60)    Shri V. Krishnan                                    The Editor
       Ethical & Stress Management            Versus       The Telegraph
       Consultant, New Delhi                               Kolkata
Complaint
       This complaint dated 20.02.2006 has been filed Shri V. Krishnan, Ethical
& Stress Management Consultant, New Delhi and others against The Telegraph,
Kolkata for publishing in the issue dated 1.1.2006 an allegedly derogatory
news commentary captioned “Back to the Pavilion’ with cartoons amongst others
of Sankaracharya of Kanchi, Swami Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal, one hand
held out in blessing holding the bead string and the other behind the back
holding knife dripping blood. Similar complaints were filed by 10 more persons.
The commentary was an assessment of standing of various important persons
during the year that had come to close the preceding day. The Shankracharya
was one of the persons assessed. The impugned write up is reproduced below:
Jayendra Saraswati
        “His case may have been shifted out of the Supreme Court of India and
into his own backyard in Pondicherry upon his plea. But critics believe it ‘s the
last headline that Jayendra Saraswati will make for some time to come.
       ‘Just over a year ago, the Kanchi priest was widely perceived as a holy
man. But arrested in the Shankara Raman murder case in November 2004,
Saraswati is no longer another word for piety. Instead of leading religious
discourses, he spent 2005 in and out of court rooms, demanding special
treatment.
        ‘It was the undiplomatic way in which he presented himself under fire
that took a toll on the very image he had built over the years’ says Arya Samaj
President Swami Agnivesh. “Clearly, he will never regain that platform again.”
       The complainant has submitted that the impugned cartoon and
commentary is one of those on several others but none of them have been
denigrated like the one in question. The complainant sent a protest letter dated
4.1.2006 and after some days the respondent editor returned the same without
any accompanying explanation.
Written Statement
      Show-cause notice was issued to the respondent editor, Telegraph,
Kolkata on 30.03.2006.
        The respondent publisher filed written statement on behalf of the paper
on 6.5.2006 submitting therein that the impugned news article was a spoof and
neither the write up nor the cartoon referred to was intended to hurt the sentiments

                                        232
of any religious community or comment on whether his holiness Sri Jayendra
Swamigal is guilty of any crime.
       The respondent has stated that the complainant read too much into the
cartoon and article and the allegation in the instant complaint is not applicable.
The respondent further stated that the complainant tried to implicate The
Telegraph as per his own passion and belief but there was no intention or malice
on the part of the respondent. There was also no intention on their part to excite
people against His Holiness or to hold any kind of adverse opinion against
him.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant.
Counter Comments
       The complainant in his counter comments dated 1.1.2006 reiterated what
he had stated earlier. He expressed his disappointment and distress over the
written statement of the respondent. The complainant prayed the Council to
give maximum possible punishment to the editor and the publisher of The
Telegraph, Kolkata.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at New
Delhi on 22.8.2006. The complainant, Shri V Krishnan was present in person
while there was no appearance on behalf of the respondent newspaper.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
        The complainant reiterated the complaint. He added that the cartoon
and the commentary were likely to inflame the passions of the followers of the
faith and communalise the situation. He further stated that The Telegraph was
habitual of publishing photographs or cartoons which could hurt the sentiments
of any community. Very recently a poster depicting Sonia Gandhi as Goddess
Durga was published by The Telegraph. In the present case the publication was
improper, more so the case was still under trial and the charges had not been
proved.
Recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
        The Inquiry Committee considered the material on record and the oral
arguments advanced by the complainant before it. The Committee observed
that though Guru Sankracharya was facing charges, due to his status and position
he was revered by many and the impugned caricature that attempted to present
two different faces of the Swami was bound to hurt their sentiments. Even
while discounting any malafide on the part of the paper, the Committee felt that
due regard should have been had to the above factors without contributing to
the parallel trial being conducted by the media in the case. The Inquiry Committee

                                       233
advised the respondent newspaper, The Telegraph in particular and the press in
general to observe greater restraint and caution in publishing such news/
photograph/cartoon which may hurt the religious sentiments of any community.
With the above observations the Inquiry Committee recommended to the Council
to drop further proceedings in the matter.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.

61)    Shri S. Abuthalha                              The Editor
       Madurai                        Versus          Tamilian Express
       Tamil Nadu                                     Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Complaint
       Shri S. Abuthalha, Madurai has filed this complaint dated 23.8.2005
against “Tamilian Express”, a New Indian Express Group Publication, Chennai
for spreading baseless, false rumours in the name of investigative journalism
causing bitterness amongst Hindus and Muslims and promoting enmity between
them by publishing a baseless and defamatory article/cover story on 28.7.2005
under the heading “Nehru London Naalai Madurai” (Yesterday London, Madurai
Tomorrow – English translation).
        The complainant alleged that the impugned article was targeted against
the Muslim community and a classic example of awkward communal journalism
terming the entire Muslim Community as anti-social. The content of the said
report drew a parallel with the bomb blasts in London with two murders in
Madurai out of religious animosity. The report stated with vengeance that
Muslims were planning to bomb Meenakshi Amman temple at Madurai since
they had an apprehension that Meenakshi Amman temple would belittle Taj
Mahal, if it is declared as one of the wonders in the world. The complainant
submitted that the said statement was completely false since the majority would
consider Taj Mahal as the national asset whereas Meenakshi Amman Temple is
the centre of activity and source of livelihood for a large number of Muslims in
Madurai. Many fancy stores, plastic stores, textile stores in and around Meenakshi
Amman Temple are owned by Muslims in addition to a large number of Muslim
community employed as ‘Salesman’ and ‘manual labour’. Further, though the
internet voting to declare Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai as one of the
wonders of the World was farce, and a racket to enrich some communication
network companies it had no authenticity. No Muslim in Madurai could even
think of comparing Taj Mahal with Meenakshi Amman Temple though both
are unique in their respective spheres, added the complainant.

                                       234
        According to the complainant, the report was motivated with religious
fanaticism and justified the torture committed on Muslim youths arrested in
connection with murder cases, and the worst of all had even pronounced that
Muslims were planning to stage bomb blast in Madurai. He submitted that in
many cases, Muslims were unnecessarily dragged in cases stage-managed by
the intelligentsia. In one such incident, a police informer and five others were
arrested for planting crude bombs at Meenakshi Amman Temple to settle a
family feud and all the persons involved in the said incident were belonging to
majority community. The article further imposed indirect pressure on the police
to raid Muslim dominated civilian areas. The said article was completely baseless
and an example of communal journalism adapted by the respondent magazine.
The complainant submitted that unless the respondents are censured for the
writings in their magazine, their vicious communal propaganda promoting
enmity between Hindus and Muslim would go unabated. The respondent’s
writing had affected the standards of journalistic ethics by committing a
processional misconduct.
     Show-cause notice was issued to the respondent-editor, Tamilian Express,
Chennai on 11.11.2005.
Written Statement
          Denying each and every averment contained in the complaint, the
respondent editor, Tamilian Express in his written statement dated 20.12.2005
submitted that the article in question was published to inform the general public
about the seriousness of bomb blast staged by terrorists in London and Egypt.
There was no reference to the Muslim Community and it contained only reference
to Muslim Fundamentalists/terrorists and their being a responsible newspaper
was least likely to indulge in creating any communal problem. The averment
regarding Meenakshi Amman Temple and Taj Mahal appeared in the article
was based upon the information gathered from the police authorities. This
information had been published only to inform the general public about the
activities of Muslim Fundamentalists and not intended to create any hatred and
communal clash between Hindus and Muslims. As responsible members of the
Press they thought it was fit to place before the public the increasing terrorism
and bomb culture in the world and the fear of terrorist attack in India since it
was a matter of utmost importance to the general public. The respondent denied
the allegation that the magazine “Tamilian Express” was spreading baseless
false rumours in the name of investigative journalism causing bitterness among
Hindus and Muslims and promoting enmity between them which would
precipitate into a communal clash. The respondent stated that the careful reading
of the article would make it clear that the article was not directed against any
community much less the Muslim community in particular but it was mainly
focusing the activities of Muslim fundamentalists. There was no complaint from

                                      235
any quarters including the complainant about the article. Hence, the
complainant’s apprehension was without any basis or foundation. The respondent
clarified that the article in question was not motivated with religious fanaticism
but published to inform the public about the terrorist activities. It was published
based upon the criminal cases/complaints pending with the police authorities/
competent courts and on the basis of information gathered by their reporter
from higher police officials and Intelligence officers. He pointed out that the
criminal complaints filed in respect of some of the incidents mentioned in the
article are even now pending before the criminal courts for trial. The respondent
while denying the allegation that they had committed any professional
misconduct submitted that the article had not affected the standards of the
journalistic ethics or norms of journalistic conduct in respect of the right to
reply of the complainant, as the article was not directed against him. However,
if the complainant felt anything to be published in response to the matters
contained in the article he could send the same and they would publish the
same subject to constraints of space and editing.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
12.01.2006 for information.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
       The matter came up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee on 22.9.2006
at Hyderabad. Shri S.M.A. Jinha, Advocate appeared for the complainant. Shri
K.S. Prabhakar, Sr. Personnel Officer, Express Publication Ltd., Hyderabad was
present on behalf of the respondent newspaper, Tamilian Express.
Submissions before the Inquiry Committee
       The complainant’s counsel in his oral and written submissions submitted
that the respondent newspaper while reporting about bomb blast in London
and the possibility of similar attacks in Madurai, projected that the Muslim
Community was behind such attacks and the terrorists were giving training to
the Muslim youths in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Thereby the whole community
had been maligned.
       The respondent submitted that the news report in question was not
intended against Muslim Community and there was no reference to the Muslim
Community in the news report. The respondent submitted that the newspaper
made a reference to the fundamentalists and terrorists and the information was
published to inform the general public about the activities of the fundamentalists
and it was not intended to create any hatred among the communities. The paper
was very careful to ensure that it did not contribute to the communal tension
and thus did not name any community. The respondent agreed on the advice of
the Committee to clarify the position in the columns of their newspaper.

                                       236
Recommendations of the Committee
        The Inquiry Committee perused the material on record and the
submissions made by the parties. The Inquiry Committee opined that the news
report “Yesterday London, Madurai Tomorrow” was about fundamentalist
activities and there was no aspersion as such on the Muslim Community. The
Inquiry Committee noted that the respondent had given a statement that the
impugned news report was not intended against the Muslim Community and it
was against the fundamentalists who were harming the public of the country
and had agreed to publish such clarificatory note in the column of the newspaper
“Tamilian Express”. The Inquiry Committee on consideration of the undertaking
given by the respondent to publish the clarificatory note decided to dispose of
the complaint with a direction to the respondent, “Tamilian Express” newspaper
to send the clipping along with its English translation to the complainant for
information and to the Council for record. It recommended to the Council to
dispose of the complaint with above directions.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.



Press and Morality

62)    Shri C.V. Narasimha Reddy                         The Editor
       Editor                                Versus      The Economic Times
       Public Relations Voice                            Mumbai
       Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Complaint
        This complaint dated 30.6.2003 has been filed by Dr. C.V. Narasimha
Reddy, Editor, Public Relations Voice, Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) against
“The Economic Times”, Mumbai for publication of an allegedly obscene/
indecent picture of a couple in its issue dated 30.6.2003. According to the
complainant, the supplement of The Economic Times carried an article titled
“Bold Statement” on the natural wealth of Jharkhand State which it claimed
can be harnessed only when the necessary infrastructure is provided. Alongside
this article an obscene photograph of a woman with a male partner compressing
her hips has also been published which has no relevance to the article in question
on the State of Jharkhand. The complainant alleged that the publication of this
picture amounts to indecent representation of woman and likely to deprave,

                                       237
corrupt and injure the public morality. The complainant submitted that such a
trend in journalism be stopped and to preserve the age old moral values of
Indian culture.
      The complainant has drawn the attention of the respondent on 16.8.2003
towards the impugned publication but received no reply from him.
Written Statement
        In response to the show cause notice dated 2.1.2004, Shri Rajnish M.
Singh, counsel for the respondent in their written statement dated 29.1.2004
denied that the picture in question amounts to indecent representation of woman,
likely to deprave, corrupt and injure the public morality. The counsel for the
respondent further submitted that the picture published in their newspaper was
not a picture of real woman but rather a wax model and this picture of the
model was widely circulated series of AFP photographs taken by Nicolas Asfouri
on the Blushing wax model of Jennifer Lopez at Madame Tussaud’s-a globally
acclaimed artistic creation that actually blushes when whispered to. The person
on the left was a staff member of Madame Tussaud, who was seen to position
the wax model of Jennifer Lopez at its inauguration in London on 21.5.2003.
Regarding reference of the picture with the article, the respondent submitted
that there was no question about the picture’s being based on an actual work of
art as Jennifer Lopez Universal appeal lies in her poise, grace and beauty which
was highlighted by her natural physical attributes. That was precisely they feel
that the picture was related directly to the opening line of the story which
essentially speaks of Jharkhand as a State which is ‘enviably young and well-
endowed’. The respondent further stated that a picture does not necessarily
have to relate always with the nuts and bolts of the story and they have for long
been using mood pictures to do with its story on regular news pages and these
have always been highly appreciated and regarded by readers.
       A copy of the written statement was forwarded to the complainant on
11.2.2004.
Counter Comments
        In his counter comments dated 11.3.2004, the complainant submitted
that the statement of the respondent that a picture does not necessarily has to
relate always with ‘nuts and bolts of the story’, does not stand on merit in the
instant case as the body language of the male and the picture of woman were
not decent and relevant. It was not even for advancing any public cause.
According to the complainant, the impugned picture conforms positively to
the taste of vulgarity, indecency, not relevant to the subject matter of the article
published. He requested the Council to take necessary action to prevent such
kind of indecent representation of woman even as a wax model of a real life

                                        238
super model in the newspapers to protect the professional standards of
journalism.
       A copy of the counter comments was forwarded to the respondent on
5.4.2004 for information.
Appearance before the Inquiry Committee
      When the matter was taken up for hearing by the Inquiry Committee at
New Delhi on 13.7.2006 there was no appearance before it. The complainant
had, however, requested that the matter may be decided on the basis of his
complaint.
Recommendation of the Inquiry Committee
       The Inquiry Committee perused the material available on record. It
observed that the impugned photograph may have a relevance to the content in
which it was taken but it had no relevance at all with the article in question that
was a serious economic survey of the natural resources of the State of Jharkhand,
especially when published in a newspaper devoted to economic and financial
news aimed at a specific target readers. It was all the more objectionable when
read in the context of the explanation provided by the paper for its selection
and positioning i.e. “enviably young and well endowed.” The Inquiry Committee
expressed its displeasure over the selection and publication of the photograph
in question that it felt was an error of judgement. It recommended to the Council
accordingly.
Decision of the Council
        The Press Council, on consideration of the records of the case and report
of the Inquiry Committee accepts the reasons, findings and the recommendation
of the Committee and decides accordingly.




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