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Zee Media Files Criminal Complaint Against Publishers and Editors of The Wire

They alleged that The Wire published articles that falsely linked Zee with allegations of black money and alleged suspect demonetisation deposits.

New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) Zee Media Corporation Ltd. has filed a criminal complaint against the publishers and editors of online news portal The Wire for allegedly defaming it by attributing wrongdoing on its part in relation to black money and demonetisation deposits.

The complaint, filed before Metropolitan Magistrate Sumeet Anand, alleged that two articles published by the online news portal “caused serious harm to the reputation of the complainant by imputing behaviour incompatible with proper conduct and suggestions of involvement in improper activity”.

The court has put up the matter for consideration on March 28.

The complaint, filed through advocate Vijay Aggarwal, has sought the prosecution of The Wire’s publisher, Foundation of Independent Journalism, directors and founding editors, Siddharth Varadarajan and Sidharth Roshanlal Bhatia, its director MK Venu and the authors of the articles, Gulam Shaik Budan and Anuj Srivas.

The complaint has been filed under sections 499 and 500 (defamation) of the IPC and if held guilty, the accused persons may get a maximum punishment of two-year jail term.

The complaint alleged that the articles “falsely” “linked the complainant company with the allegations of black money and alleged suspect demonetisation deposits and have conveyed to the world at large that the complainant company is being investigated by the SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office).”

It alleged that articles were incorrect, having no factual base and that they were “motivated and malicious, twisting the facts and the truth”.

“The offences have been committed under the accused persons’ active and direct directions, instigation and to fulfil their malafide intentions; And in order to malign and defame the image of the complainant, a false and defamatory story has been published, not only by twisting and manipulating various facts but also by making absolutely false and fabricated allegations.

“The aim and objective behind these illegal and reckless acts to broadcasting news without any research or authentication and without any caveats is to only grab eyeballs with an eye on viewership and in effect revenue of the channel,” it said.

The complainant claimed that it was not involved in any illegal activity and despite the same, the accused dragged it in unsubstantiated allegations.

“The contents were specifically designed by liberal use of innuendos and suggestive words to be mischievous and malicious and to cause the general public and even media at large to believe that there was truth in the allegations made against the Complainant, though there was none,” it said.

Also read: NaMo App Promotes Fake News Factory ‘The India Eye’

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