Round 1 goes to Arnab?

Stick to facts bring down the rhetoric Delhi HC allows Arnab to report on Sunandas death
news Controversy Monday, May 29, 2017 - 15:55

Looks like round 1 of the Shashi Tharoor-Arnab Goswami legal fight has gone to the journalist.

On Monday, the Delhi High Court heard the civil defamation suit filed by Shashi Tharoor against Arnab Goswami and ARG Outlier Media Private Limited,of which Republic TV is a part, seeking damages and compensation of Rs 2 crore.

The Congress MP in his case had also asked for an injunction on Republic TV reporting on his late wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death till the police investigation is completed. The court has refused to order an injunction in the case.

During the hearing, senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, who appeared for the channel and Goswami, said that there was no reason to order an injunction since they would justify each and every statement made by them, according to PTI.

While the court did not give an injunction on Monday, Justice Manmohan did tell Arnab Goswami to ‘bring down the rhetoric’.

According to The Indian Express, Justice Manmohan passed an oral remark, "Bring down the rhetoric. You can put out your story, you can put out the facts. You cannot call him names. That is uncalled for."

Republic TV's legal team pointed out that the court also asked Tharoor to "have a thick skin" since he was a public figure and that facts should come out in the public domain, especially in a case where there have been loopholes in the investigation. The court refused to gag the media. 

"If you think I am going to gag the media, then I won't," the judge is reported to have said. 

Republic TV also tweeted that the Delhi HC said that the channel had the right to report on the Sunanda Pushkar death case.

"The matter is sub-judice and I would not want to comment on the merits. However, I do want to point out that there has been selective reporting on the matter by some mainstream media houses with misleading headlines, perhaps aimed to convey a negative impression about the proceedings. Notwithstanding this, Arnab continues to enjoy immense public support which is also reflected in Republic TV's leadership week after week since its debut," said Saket Shukla, a partner at Phoenix Legal, the law firm representing ARG Outlier Media and Arnab Goswami.

Tharoor’s lawyer meanwhile told TNM that while the court has not ordered an injunction, this does not mean that it has been dismissed.

“The injunction is still pending till the channel gives a reply on the next hearing date. The court has not ordered an injunction based on the assurance given by Republic TV's counsel that he will report facts, and not call him names and defame him, till the investigation in the case is over,” advocate Gaurav Gupta said.

The next date of hearing has been set for August 16 and the HC has sought Republic TV and Arnab Goswami’s response.

Last week, Tharoor filed a civil defamation plea against Arnab and ARG Outlier Media. Tharoor accused the journalist of resorting to "unverified, unethical and brash journalism and deliberately made malicious and defamatory remarks against the plaintiff in a sensational manner."

This relates to programmes revolving around death of Sunanda Pushkar, Tharoor's late wife, that were aired on the channel.

One audio tape was a conversation between Sunanda Pushkar and journalist Prema Sridevi. The channel also aired another conversation between Prema and Tharoor’s domestic help Narayan.

At that point, Tharoor had said that he was furious that his personal tragedy was being exploited.

Disclosure: TNM co-founder Chitra Subramaniam is an Editorial Advisor at Republic, in her individual capacity.

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