NDTV vs Kunte. Some thoughts on law

Talk about corporate own-goals. Or worse, loss of irony. Blogger Chyetanya Kunte appears to have been coerced into making “an unconditional apology to Ms. Barkha Dutt, Managing Editor, English News, NDTV Limited and to NDTV Limited, for the defamatory statements… made regarding Ms. Barkha Dutt and NDTV Limited, in… post titled “Shoddy Journalism,” dated November 27th 2008, on my weblog at www.ckunte.com.?” It is not clear why he retracted. A Facebook discussion would suggest that NDTV and Barkha Dutt are involved in getting Kunte to apologise (link). But the issue has been picked up by other bloggers (link, link, link, link).

Kunte’s “defamatory statements can be found here in a Google cache (link). You need to scroll down to the bottom to read it. Bloggers need to be aware of defamation laws in India. There is a useful and concise India Today article on defamation here (link). If you applied the defamation test, Kunte would have had a hard time defending himself. According to the “Indian Penal Code (1860), Chapter XII:

Whoever by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter excepted, to defame that person.

Barkha Dutt had this to say on the matter:

Just because some random bloke can sit at a computer and make up stuff doesnt (sic) mean he or others like him need to be dignified with responding to their utter and total rubbish. rubbish is what it is. And as already mentioned. Mr. Kunte has been served a legal notice for libel by NDTV. That should give you some indication of where we and I stand. The freedom afforded by the Interent cannot be used to fling allegations at individuals or groups in the hope that they will then respond to things that arent worthy of engagement. (link)

6 thoughts on “NDTV vs Kunte. Some thoughts on law

  1. I thought that this was interesting.
    http://gauravsabnis.blogspot.com/2009/01/did-ndtv-apologize-to-barkha-dutt.html :
    [This is a classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. A friend pointed out something hilarious about the whole Kunte-NDTV episode. NDTV.com itself had carried an IANS story criticizing media coverage during 26/11, and this story had quoted Chetan Kunte’s contentious post extensively. The story WAS here. Why WAS? Because the link now gives a 404 error. Maybe NDTV was sued by its own lawyers on behalf of Barkha Dutt, and they took the post down with an apology to Ms Dutt.]

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