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Delhi HC Restrains Cobrapost From Releasing ‘Operation 136: Part II’ That Claims To Expose Paid News With Communal Leaning On Dainik Bhaskar’s Plea [Read Order]

The Delhi High Court has by way of an ex-parte injunction restrained Cobrapost, on the plea of Dainik Bhaskar, from releasing its documentary “Operation 136: Part II” which is an expose on media houses, including indulgence in paid news, peddling communal agenda, mass polarization, and acceptance of illegal black currency.

Justice Valmiki Mehta granted the ex-parte injunction on an application moved by Dainik Bhaskar Corp which also featured in the documentary and feared harm to its reputation.

The injunction order was passed on Thursday, just a day before Cobrapost was to release its documentary at a press conference held at 3 PM at Press Club of India.

“…till further order unless varied by the court, defendants are restrained from in any manner releasing in public domain the documentary ‘Operation 136: Part II’ in any manner including at the Press Conference at the Press Club of India on May 25 at 3 PM and the defendants are further restrained from in any manner releasing in public domain the e-mail dated May 10 and other related telecommunications,” ordered Justice Mehta.

Following the order, Cobrapost said, “In the interest of the whole truth reaching the public, we are trying our very best to vacate this injunction, but whether we shall be able to achieve this before 3 PM of 25th May 2018, remains to be seen.”

Cobrapost broke a story ‘Operation 136: Part I’, exposing 17 media houses and their ill practices, including indulgence in paid news, peddling communal agenda, mass polarization and acceptance of illegal black currency. Part one of the story was released on March 26.

The documentary showed a Cobrapost reporter posing as a religious activist working to help the BJP in 2019 elections by promoting Hindutva through media. It showed several media houses agreeing to the undercover reporter’s proposal of carrying communally-motivated news in lieu of money.

The second part of the documentary was to be released today at 3 PM subject to the ex-parte order being vacated.

The May 10 e-mail, which is also covered by the high court order, was sent by Cobrapost to Dainik Bhaskar seeking its comment on statements made by its senior officials to the undercover reporter of the web portal.

Meanwhile, during the hearing on Thursday, Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for Dainik Bhaskar Corporation, argued that the entire object of the defendants (Cobrapost) is to sully the reputation of Dainik Bhaskar Group.

He also contended that in the e-mail dated May 10 sent to the plaintiff by the defendants, there is a whiff/scent of the endeavour of defendants to arm-twist the plaintiffs for the illegal benefit.

He said if the documentary “Operation 136: Part II” is allowed to be released, it will cause irreparable loss to the plaintiff and any conversation by any of the employee of Dainik Bhaskar cannot be held to the ideology of the company.

Read the Order Here

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