Cobrapost releases paid news sting sans references to Dainik Bhaskar

Ashutosh Gambhir

Investigative journalism house Cobrapost today released the second part of its ‘Operation 136’ documentary, which alleges that certain news publications agreed to run political campaigns and propagate Hindutva ideology in exchange for money.

This comes a day after the Delhi High Court restrained Cobrapost from  releasing the said documentary in any manner, in a plea by Dainik Bhaskar, one of the publications on which the sting operation was carried out.

Representing Dainik Bhaskar, Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul who was briefed by law firm Praxis Counsel, had argued that the entire object of the sting was to sully the reputation of the plaintiff company.

It was submitted that in Cobrapost’s view, either fake news was being generated or such news was being generated which would reflect a particular ideology. However, there was no question of fake news, and that if some news reflecting a particular ideology was being generated, the same was in itself, not illegal.

It was further argued that the intention behind the said documentary was sensational journalism, and if the said documentary is allowed to be released, irreparable loss and injury would be caused to the reputation of the plaintiff.

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Valmiki J Mehta agreed with the contentions of the plaintiff and granted ex parte injunction refraining Cobrapost from releasing the said documentary, in any manner.

Cobrapost, on its website, has stated that in compliance of the High Court order, references to, and materials relating to Dainik Bhaskar have not been released at this stage.

Cobrapost has also stated that the High Court passed the order in favour of Dainik Bhaskar without affording them a hearing and that they would challenge the said order.

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