Arnab Goswami sends cease and desist notice to Indian Express following publication of article on TRP scam

Published : January 26, 2021 16:16 IST

Arnab Goswami. Photo: Sujit Jaiswal / AFP

Seeking an unconditional apology from Indian Express for a report it published about the ratings points scam, Republic TV’s Editor-in-Chief has sent a cease-and-desist notice to the media group. The legal notice addressed to Editor-in-Chief Raj Kamal Jha and two others calls for a stop on the “fake, unsubstantiated, false and unverified news against Republic TV in respect of the alleged TRP scam being investigated by the Mumbai Police”.

The article in question, titled ‘Arnab Goswami paid me $12,000 and Rs.40 lakh to fix ratings: Partho Dasgupta’, was published on January 25. It talks about certain sections in the Mumbai Police’s supplementary charge sheet in the Television Ratings Points scam case involving certain channels. Partho Dasgupta is the former chief of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc). 

The notice has asked for the removal of “the false news report from all mediums” and has asked for an unconditional apology and fact-clarifying corrigendum to be published across all the media group’s print, digital and social media platforms. It accused Indian Express of playing the role of judge, jury and executioner; a criticism, ironically, often directed at Arnab Goswami and his channel.

It called the report ‘part of a motivated plot’, in breach of journalistic ethics, a propaganda piece to cloak reality and damage Goswami’s goodwill, and devoid of fact-checking. The “news report is a part of a mala fide, vicious and vexatious campaign to tarnish the reputation of our client. Despite the pendency of the matter before a court of law, which is well known to you, the above news report has attributed guilt to our client in relation to the alleged TRP scam.”

Terming the headline of the article ‘misleading’, the notice issued by Phoenix Legal goes on to state that the statement the article relies on for its headline/report was part of a police confession and hence inadmissible as evidence; the bail application of Dasgupta which clearly does not implicate Goswami; and the reports/complaints of torture during police custody of the ex-Barc chief.

The notice ended by calling for a response and compliance steps-taken report within 24 hours, and that Republic’s media statements in the matter be published on its platforms within 48 hours of receipt. 

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