Indian media is truly a specimen when it comes to making a clownish scene. The news media industry in India, cutting across various formats – print, electronic or digital, is all about running down on competition. News media brands have made berating competitors a major pillar of earning more money. By disparaging the coverage of their fellow media companies and journalists, news media stakeholders have begun carving a name for themselves in the country. However, this dangerous scheme does not come without its own consequences. Therefore, the TV Today Group, which operates news channels like India Today and Aaj Tak is now going after an online media venture called Newslaundry.
TV Today Network has filed a defamation suit against Newslaundry, its management, and senior editorial staff and sought damages of Rs 2,00,00,000 (two crore rupees) from them for “commercially disparaging” its commercial products and for “defaming” it, its news anchors, management and employees. According to the Indian Express, TV Today Group has alleged that Newslaundry has reproduced or published various portions of original works and telecasts from its news channels, adding that “use of such material by the defendants is, therefore, an infringement of the copyright of the plaintiff in its news broadcasts” under the Copyright Act, 1957.
#IndiaToday alleged that #newslaundry uploaded various videos on its website & on social media infringing on copyrights & making untrue, unfair, disparaging as well as maliciously defamatory remarks about the channel's News, Reporting, Management & it's News Anchors.
— Ritika Jain (@riotsjain) October 25, 2021
What is Newslaundry?
Newslaundry has made a career for itself by producing satirical content. Its expertise involves critiquing the work and content of other mainstream media organisations and journalists. Newslaundry claims that it functions purely on the basis of crowdfunding, and does not depend on the advertisement model for revenue generation. As such, the media portal likes to place itself on a pedestal and preach all others in the most distasteful of ways. However, it seems to have crossed the red line, and for the TV Today Group to take on the satire publication is really a statement of how Newslaundry is annoying even its own ideological comrades in the media.
Why Is the TV Today Group So Riled Up?
The Arun Poorie-led media group has claimed that Newslaundry has “made untrue, unfair, disparaging as well as maliciously defamatory remarks” about the news, reporting, and news anchors of the news channels operated by it as well as management of the media group. TV Today even went on to make a scathing remark in its suit against Newslaundry, saying, “The allegations and vitriolic remarks made by the Defendants are untrue and unfair commercial statements only with the intent to increase Defendant No. 1’s (Newslaundry) market share in the digital news industry.”
Newslaundry runs satirical shows, in which it uses video footage and clippings from various media outlets to critique them. Therefore, it becomes very easy for the news channels in question to file copyright infringement claims against Newslaundry, and that is what has happened this time too. TV Today Network had recently made copyright strikes against the videos uploaded by Newslaundry on YouTube after which the news portal’s channel on YouTube was blocked. Apart from seeking damages from Newslaundry, the TV Today Group has also sought a permanent injunction against the nine defendants and also demanded a direction from the Delhi High Court for the deletion of the videos, tweets, and news articles in question.
Gaurav Sawant, @IndiaToday says in the lawsuit, has written a children's comic, has "impeachable reputation" and is the "credible face" of the media group.
yeah sure 😆👇https://t.co/ViPQaTBtgM
— Ayush Tiwari (@sighyush) October 26, 2021
Who Will Win?
Everyone except the two media outlets fighting it out in court will win. Needless to say, the TV Today Group is not a holy cow. On umpteen occasions, India Today has been found spreading fake news and reporting on developments with a certain bias. Rajdeep Sardesai really is the mantle carrier of all that is wrong with India Today’s journalism. The likes of Rahul Kanwal and Anjana Om Kashyap, meanwhile, hardly bring anything promising to the table.
Newslaundry Vs India Today is a fight in which everyone wins except for these two pic.twitter.com/7pIf5gWz3z
— The Frustrated Indian (@FrustIndian) October 26, 2021
So, Newslaundry does not really find itself in a dearth of content to make fun of. The only thing which has gone wrong for Newslaundry is that a giant media organisation like the TV Today Group has decided to teach the online media portal a lesson. There is really no need for anybody to take sides in this fiasco. All that we need to do is watch the circus as it plays out.