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Another defamation notice
Posted/Updated Wednesday, May 16 12:13:23, 2012
Rs 100 crore defamation notices are now par for the course. After Justice Sawant's suit against Arnab Goswami, and Times Now's legal notice for the same damages to The Hoot, we now have Shekhar Gupta and other authors of the Indian Express page one story on April 4 asking Vinod Mehta and Open magazine for  Rs  100 crore in damages for defaming them. In an interview to Open magazine Mehta had described the Express story as "a mistake of Himalayan proportions" and asserted repeatedly that it was a planted story.

On  December 16, when all media was focused on the Taliban attack in Peshawar,  Press Council chief Markandey Katju decided to contribute his tupenny worth on  Facebook: “In my opinion such incidents are a direct and inevitable consequence of creating a theological state in a subcontinent of such diversity. We shall witness more such incidents in the future, often of a greater intensity and bloodshed.” When reprimanded, he defended himself more vociferously: “Those persons who believe that Pakistan is a real country, not a fake, artificial one, need not come on my Facebook page at all, otherwise they will immediately be blocked.”

When the English-language newspapers claim exclusives, the presumption is that something that appeared a day or two before in the Hindi press does not count. So the Economic Times claimed on December 15 that  its page-two interview with Jugal Kishore, the VHP functionary in charge of "Ghar Wapasi", was an exclusive, even though it had been preceded two days earlier by a front-page exclusive with the same worthy  in Amar Ujala.

Vinod Mehta's last book "Lucknow Boy" was dedicated to Outlook proprietor Rajan Raheja whom he called a prince among proprietors. His latest one "Editor Unplugged" explains how supporting his editorial decisions finally became unaffordable for Mr Raheja. Publishing the Radia tapes cost the magazine a loss of Rs 5 crore worth of  Tata advertising annually, plus a defamation suit to fight after Outlook did a further Tata story on VSNL land after the Tatas bought the public sector company. Regretfully the ‘prince’ elevated  Mehta to editorial chairman from editor.

The UP CM Akhilesh Yadav allotted 68 acres in Noida today to the Times Group to set up a world class university. BCCL MD Vineet Jain was with the CM in Lucknow today, reports ETV. The group is evidently spreading its reach beyond media.

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