Newslaundry files appeal against Delhi High Court view that it defamed and infringed on TV Today's copyrighted content

In her order passed on July 29, Justice Asha Menon had refused to grant an injunction in favour of TV Today, found that a prima facie case was made out against Newslaundry.
Newslaundry files appeal against Delhi High Court view that it defamed and infringed on TV Today's copyrighted content

Digital news platform Newslaundry has filed an appeal before a Division Bench of Delhi High Court against a single-judge order holding that its shows commenting on news programmes of India Today and Aaj Tak were prima facie defamatory and infringed on their copyrighted content.

A Division Bench of Justices Vibhu Bakhru and Amit Mahajan heard the matter on Thursday and listed the case with the appeal filed by TV Today in the same case.

The Court, however, remarked that Newslaundry can have no cause of grievance against the order, since there was no injunction restraining it from airing its shows.

The Bench further said that observations like those made by the single-judge in the case was matter of routine in such cases.

However, counsel appearing for Newslaundry argued that the finding may create create a basis for others to have a hypersensitive approach in injunction cases.

TV Today had approached the High Court last year alleging that Newslaundry tarnished its reputation and infringed its copyrighted content.

It was stated that the defendants ridiculed and defamed the plaintiff’s company, its news channels, employees and management and published various videos and articles containing false, malicious, defamatory and derogatory information on their website as well as on various social media platforms.

In her order passed on July 29 this year, Justice Asha Menon had refused to grant an injunction in favour of TV Today since it failed to establish "balance of convenience"' and "irreparable loss".

The Court, however, found that a prima facie case was made out against Newslaundry.

The judge had said that Newslaundry’s comments do not seem strictly in public interest “except as part of the larger picture of the right to express an opinion adding to the availability of myriad such opinion to the public at large” and whether these comments constitute honest and fair comment will require trial.

TV Today subsequently filed an appeal against the Court's refusal to grant an interim injunction. The matter was heard on September 22 by the same Bench and is now listed on November 21.

Newslaundry's appeal will be heard on the same date.

In its appeal, Newslaundry has argued that the observations of the single-judge were ex facie erroneous and in clear contravention of the law in relation to the defamation and disparagement.

"The Ld. Single Judge in the judgment and order dated 29.07.2022 has entirely failed to appreciate that the content of the Appellant falls within the realm of 'fair criticism' and 'satire' and as such, nothing in the content created by the Appellant, would be per se defamatory to the Respondent No.1," the appeal states.

It added that the single-judge ought to have seen the contours of satire, fair comment and criticism.

Newslaundry stated there can be no case of disparagement because the because the two organisations are not competitors, and merely by being in the media industry, does not ipso facto render them each others' contestants.

"Therefore, to completely overlook the relevant law, the Ld. Single Judge has grossly erred in her findings," it said.

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