The recent incident where the NDTV Managing Editor, Ms Barkha Dutt has reportedly taken offence to a comment made in a blog forcing the blogger to tender an apology reflects a sad state of affairs where one journalist is trying to curb another. 

The issue related to the TV coverage of the Mumbai blasts which the blogger called “Shoddy Journalism”.   (see posting of november 27, 2008) .

Subsequently, he is appeared to have been forced to tender an apology having been threatened of a defamation suit by Ms Barkha Dutt.

It is unfortunate that one journalist who should know more about journalistic ethics and freedom of expression decided to use the clout she wields on the blogger.

It is difficult to accept that the blogger’s remarks amounted to “Defamation” and perhaps the strong notice that some lawyer might have drafted on behalf of Ms Barkha must have made the blogger decide that it is not worth fighting against a big channel which also is considered Pro-Government and must have political clout too.

This is a clear case of a blogger being intimidated for expressing his honest views.

I urge the Press Council of India to step in suo-motu and take action against this assault on the freedom of expression of a fellow Net Journalist.

In the event Press Council thinks that the blogger is not a journalist and not registered with them and therefore not eligible to be protected, then it is time for bloggers to set up a “Blogger’s Association” and seek recognition as a “Collaborative media vehicle”. This collaborative entity should register itself as a “journal” and seek registration  with the Press Council.

In the meantime, even without the responsibility to protect a blogger, Press Council should consider that it has a duty to prevent its own members acting unethically and should initiate a disciplinary proceedings against NDTV so that a counter apology from them is obtained.

Views and counter views welcome.

Naavi

Some reactions to note: http://www.vmohanty.com/posts/open-letter-to-ndtv/http://shripriya.com/blog/2009/01/28/shame-on-ndtv-and-barkha-dutt/http://retributions.nationalinterest.in/ndtvs-assault-on-free-speech/http://www.ipatrix.com/muffling-a-blogger/http://thecomicproject.blogspot.com/2009/01/throw-constitution-away.htmlhttp://www.prempanicker.com/index.php?/site/when_free_speech_bears_a_price_tag/http://www.desipundit.com/2009/01/28/blogger-silenced-by-ndtv/

Twitter Reaction:http://www.hashtags.org/tag/ckunte

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