Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. (BCCL) has filed a hundred crore defamation suit against News Laundry Media Pvt. Ltd. and nine of its employees in the Bombay High Court for allegedly defaming the editors of the Times Now channel a part of the BCCL television broadcasting and distribution group - Times Network..BCCL moved the Court seeking urgent ad-interim directions to Newslaundry to deposit the entire compensation amount with the High court and to restrain them from re-telecasting or commenting on the defamatory content published on their website and shared via their YouTube channel..As final reliefs in the suit, BCCL sought unconditional apology from the website of Newslaundry, YouTube and Twitter for the defamatory content uploaded on their websites made against the editors of Times Now, Navika Kumar and Rahul Shivshankar..BCCL raised objections to two programmes run by the Newslaundry published on their website and shared on their YouTube channel..Through the first programme, Toadies banega tu? (Do you want to become a Toadies?), Newslaundry allegedly made extremely defamatory statements against Kumar and Shivshankar which caused harm to the reputation of the company and the editors as reputed independent journalists..The video purportedly showed a tweet by the promoter of BCCL which stated that the Times Now channel was asking for Rhea Chakraborty’s arrest with #IndiaForRheaArrest while the Times of India newspaper was asking for her bail during their reportage on the Sushant Singh Rajput death investigation..They claimed that the remarks were made with a deliberate intention to defame the company.“The remarks made in the video against the channel of the Applicant and against the editors of the Applicant as the hosts on the channel, and the promoters of the applicant go beyond the realm of satire, parody or spoof,” the plea said. .As a result of the video, BCCL claimed to have suffered in its reputation which was allegedly lowered in the estimation of colleague, viewers, employees and general public..BCCL submitted that the video by no stretch of imagination can qualify as independent journalism or news reporting which Newslaundry claims on its website.“Any right thinking members of the society would conclude that the said video defames and tarnishes the image, reputation and goodwill of the company, its channel and editors.".BCCL also raised objection to another programme by Newslaundry - Explained: How to rig TRPs - on the website and their YouTube channel in November 2020..They purportedly discovered this video through a tweet which read “#NLCheatSheet | What do you do when a system is broken and those tasked with fixing it aren’t doing so?” with a picture of editors from the news channel creating an impression that the channel is involved in the alleged the Television Rating Points Scam manipulation and rigging scam..They submitted that neither the company, nor channel or its editors are involved in the TRP scam and none have been named in the FIR or are being questioned by the Mumbai Police..It was contended that since the editors were considered as face of the news channel, using their photo implied that the company is involved in criminal acts of manipulating data and this kind of false linkage to the TRP scam may genuinely bring down the credibility of the channel’s genuine viewership which is measured in TRPs, thereby directly impacting its advertising revenues..BCCL had earlier issued legal notices to Newslaundry, YouTube and Twitter India for taking down the content from their respective websites. However, since there was no action by Newslaundry or any response from them, BCCL was compelled to approach the Court, the plea points out..In its reply to the interim application by BCCL, Newslaundry informed the Court that it’s motive for putting up the Toadies Banega Video was so that “media houses could start reporting accurate content instead of acting for the purpose of TRPs.”.They expressed their shock at having received legal notices from BCCL stating that “the answering defendant (Newslaundry) believes in critical journalism and as above stated believes that no one should be above scrutiny; not politics, industry, civil society and certainly not the media.”.Newslaundry claimed that it filed a reply to the legal notice placing on record that the video was merely trying to show the contradictions in reportage within the BCCL organisation by showcasing content as it is from their own reportage and, hence it could not amount to defamation is any respect..In its reply to the application, News Laundry argued that the terms were not referable to a particular individual or a collection of persons and that the grievance was shared by all members of the profession, hence it is not defamatory..They further argued that they had only used the true facts and clippings which were further presented to their subscribers and viewers at large. “It is further needless to submit that truth is the substantive defence to the allegations of defamation.”.Newslaundry also apprised the Court of the conduct of the Times Now channel by referring to the decision given by the Division Bench of Bombay High Court presided over by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta in a batch of public interest litigation (PIL) petitions filed against media trial in the wake of the reportage relating to suicide of Bollywood actor, Sushant Singh Rajput case..Newslaundry stated that they had merely adopted the view taken by the High Court in the judgment which was that the reportage by television news channels like Republic TV and Times Now on the death of Rajput was in brazen disregard of the rule of law. .Justice AK Menon hearing the defamation plea today granted time to BCCL to file its rejoinder to the reply of Newslaundry. The matter is likely to be heard for ad-interim reliefs on February 22, 2021..Senior Advocate Nikhil Sakhardande with Advocates Amogh Singh and Nipun Katyal represented News Laundry meanwhile Advocates Vijay Hiremath and Swaraj Jadhav appeared for BCCL.