Republic TV Sends Notice to 'Indian Express' for Report on Arnab Goswami 'Bribing' BARC CEO

Republic TV's notice said, "You have acted as a judge, jury and executioner in breach of all journalistic ethics."

New Delhi: The television channel Republic TV has sent a legal notice to The Indian Express newspaper, in the aftermath of the latter’s report on channel head Arnab Goswami allegedly having paid BARC chief Partho Dasgupta $12,000 for two separate holidays and a total of Rs 40 lakh over three years.

Express had on January 25 reported that Dasgupta had made these claims in a handwritten note to Mumbai police. His lawyer Arjun Singh had said the note had been recorded “under duress” and had no “evidentiary value in the court of law.”

The report by Express comes days after more than 1,000 pages of WhatsApp conversations between the former CEO of the Broadcast Audience Research Council and Goswami became public, exposing a nexus between the two that has led to reactions from opposition parties and news consumers.

Also read: In Arnab’s Purported ‘WhatsApp Convos’, a Peek at TRAI Tussle and Landing Row

According to the report on the legal notice on LiveLaw, Republic TV, through Phoenix Legal, has said that the latest report by Express aims to affect the channel’s reputation and “is intended to further Indian Express’ own commercial and corporate interests through sensationalism.”

Republic TV has also accused the national daily of running a misleading headline. “You have acted as a judge, jury and executioner in breach of all journalistic ethics,” the notice said.

The notice uses several adjectives to describe the report, calling it “vile, hateful and malicious”. It says the report is “part of a severely prejudicial campaign engineered and implemented by the Indian Express aimed at attempting to irreparably destroy their (Republic TV’s) reputation as well as the reputation of the Republic Media network.”

The notice also claims that the report has made a deliberate omission of the alleged nature of Dasgupta’s statement – the fact that it was allegedly obtained under “coercion and duress”.

The notice also reportedly says that the publication of such a report at a time when the TRP scam case is being heard by the Bombay high court amounts to “criminal contempt of court.”

The notice also claims that Dasgupta’s bail application on January 6, 2021, to the Mumbai sessions court states that Republic TV did not manipulate TRP.