…like a blogosphere when a blogger has been served a legal notice. A recent move by NDTV to silence a blogger who had criticized the channels Managing Editor Barkha Dutt, and it’s coverage of the Mumbai attacks has several bloggers (including journalists) up in arms.
The blogger, Chyetanya Kunte, has put up an unconditional apology and deleted the offending post, a cached of which can be viewed here. Reactions have followed, with DesiPundit aggregating posts from across the Indian blogosphere; Prem Panicker uses statements made by Dutt reacting to the criticizm for her coverage of the Mumbai attacks to highlight an apparent contradiction. I concur with Panicker’s assessment of the situation: an opinion criticizing her coverage is legit, but quoting a potentially defamatory wikipedia entry, and as well as calling her names is asking for trouble. Slanderous content, “free speech” or not, will invite legal trouble.
Interestingly, Dutt also has a Facebook group with users dedicatedly criticising her coverage of the Mumbai Attacks. Are they next?
This isn’t the first instance of bloggers getting into legal trouble with media companies over their content: as far back as 2005, Mediaah!, a media blog by Pradyuman Maheshwari who recently joined the Exchange4Media Group as the Editor in Chief for Exchange4Media and Impact was forced to shut down after being served a legal notice by the Times of India group. Someone then launched Mediaha, with some of the deleted content. My take on the issue back then can be read here. Been a long time…