Category Archives: Media

Equipping media professionals for post pandemic media industry

VIPSNEW DELHI : In order to skill media professionals and mass communication students, Delhi-based Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies (VIPS) has launched a post graduate diploma in media studies under Vivekananda Institute of Mass Communication (VIMC).

Post Graduate Diploma in Digital Content Creation & Communication (PGD2C3) program’s industry oriented curriculum will be delivered by master mentors and industry experts. It will be a real time journey to gain practical insight through a bouquet of  classroom engagements, practical training in industry environment and project assignments. PGD2C3 is an initiative to hone skills of talented students under the mentorship of some of the best performers in the field
This initiative takes into account absence of such centers of excellence in north India and most importantly– the affordability factor. The formal Inaugural Ceremony of VIMC was held on Monday, June 21, 2021 by Prof Sidharth Mishra, Master Mentor of VIMC, in the presence of Dr. SC Vats, Chairman VIPS, Mr. Suneet Vats, Vice- Chairman, VIPS; and other dignitaries.

Prof Sidharth Mishra described the thought behind setting up VIMC and the programme, Postgraduate diploma in digital content creation and communication. He shared the reason behind choosing June 21 as the date for this inaugural. Prof Mishra shared the details about VIMC and the idea behind it. He threw light on how postgraduate mass communication courses are expensive and are not affordable; keeping this in mind, VIMC and this programme was introduced at a price of almost 1/6th of what other big institutes provide. Dr. SC Vats, Chairman, VIPS, commenced his speech with the peace mantra and lauded the efforts everyone had put in to give this course a shape and make it rigid. After Dr. Vats concluded his speech, the website of VIMC was officially launched.
The website was shown to all the participants, following which, Mr. Suneet Vats shared his thoughts about VIMC and the dynamic nature of media and communication around the world. With the conclusion of his speech, the first half of the session ended. The second part of the ceremony began with Prof Sidharth Mishra’s speech on why students should choose VIMC. He further explained about the course and how it is different from what other institutes all around India are offering. He introduced the participants to the committee and the master mentors of this course.

The internal committee was also introduced. Prof Mishra further explained the admission process and fee details. The house was made open for questions from the participants which were answered one by one by the master mentors. Many questions were asked during the QA round. The dignitaries who answered the queries and explained the further scope were Mr. Sumit Pande, CDR Deepak Adhar, Mr. Saumya Tyagi, Mr. Rochak Sahu, Mr. Sanjeev K Ahuja, Mr. Abhishek Anand and Mr. Ashwini Sharma. Vivekananda Institute of Mass Communication (VIMC) is an initiative of Strength India Educational Society, under whose aegis functions VIPS.
Vivekananda Institute of Mass Communication is conceptualized as a modern age Gurukul. Life at a Gurukul is not only about living in sylvan surroundings but also about 24×7 mentoring. Being in a Gurukul is an experience where the mentor leads the pupils to a real-time professional experience. VIMC is about learning and living with nature in world-class urban infrastructure, a rare synthesis to drive the desire to engage and get enlightened about one’s strengths and weaknesses.
It’s about understanding the social, economic, and political milieu where life’s battles would be fought. Life at VIMC is about being part of the media teams led by master mentors, getting encouraged to share ideas, and honing one’s inherent skills under the tutelage of modern-age media solons. A large number of students participated in the online launch of the Course Programme, in presence of the master mentors, dean of various departments, faculty members and stakeholders.

 

Journalist Kappan “collapsed in bathroom”, tested positive for COVID

SiddiqueKappan_23012021_1200NEW DELHI :  Sidhique Kappan , a reporter for Malayalam news portal Azhimukham and secretary of the KUWJ’s Keral unit, was arrested along with three others in Uttar Pradesh in October while on his way to Hathras to report on the gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl.

They were later booked under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and also slapped with charges of sedition. KUWJ a journalist organisation had then approached the Supreme Court seeking Kappan’s release.

Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh Police had informed the Supreme Court that Kappan was not cooperating, with the investigation and had refused to divulge details of his social media accounts, passwords etc. in a bid to “conceal his misdeeds”.
KUWJ had on the other hand told the Supreme Court that Kappan was beaten with lathi and slapped” in Mathura jail, where he is lodged. It was also claimed by KUWJ that Kappan was denied sleep and medicines though he is a diabetic and on medication. Kappan was beaten up, dragged by the jail authorities and also subject to “mental torture,” the affidavit submitted by KUWJ added.
“He is presently hospitalized in KM Medical College , Mathura. It is reliably believed that, more than 50 inmates of Mathura Jail are suffering from COVID, with various of scarcities, and even drinking water from toilet, seriously affecting hygiene, health, all leading to a major disaster in the making. In short, as on today , the life of Mr. Sidhique Kappan is in danger for all reasons,” the plea said.
Thus, taking into account Kappan’s deteriorating health condition, he should be shifted to AIIMS or Safadrjung Hospital, New Delhi immediately, it was submitted.
(Bench &Bar).

 

VIPS Effectuates Canonical Feats With Largest Media Festival “Spandan 2020” Online

Bharatnatyam-Divya Awasthi1 (1)News Spandan2020NEW DELHI : Braving the ongoing blitz of Corona virus pandemic across the globe, the mass communication and journalism students of Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies (VIPS) New Delhi have created a historical feat by organising the biggest annual media festival on the digital platform.
VIPS accomplished a historical feat by organising their annual media festival online with over thousand participants across the globe. Themed at digital literacy, media and pandemic, the three-day event with a total of 22 Competitive and Non Competitive Events wasorganised by over 300 media students of Vivekananda School of Journalism and Mass Communication (VSJMC) from December 3 to December 5.

A panel discussion titled Media Panchayat on the topic of 'Information to misinformation: 25 Years of Indian Television News Industry' witnessed the participation of industry veterans like Sidharth Mishra, Anant Vijay, Sumit Pande, Satish K Singh and Charu Lata Singh.
The issues of responsible journalism and talks about the ethical norms and fact-based journalism with specific references from journalistic ethics repeatedly edged by a section of media and

entertainment media were pondered upon. "Ethics are moral set of values and principles that guides us to differentiate between good and bad with a core obligation appended to it towards the benefits of the society.
In democratic set up free media is essence for proper functioning of the system and for this ethical journalism is must," elucidated Sidharth Mishra, an industry veteran and currently chairperson of Vivekananda School of Journalism and Mass Communication (VSJMC).
Industry veterans across the globe participated in various events. Amongst the various sessions, a 'Ad Man's Webinar' was organised to picturise the current status of the advertising industry during the pandemic. Industry veteran Suraja Kishore, who is currently CEO – BBDO India, addressed participants and discussed the ground realities of the advertising industry and human's counterbalance to it.
Spandan 2020 allowed experiencing normalcy, instilling creativity, competitive high, excitement, and happiness to every participant even in such unpredictable times.
Spandan 2020 concluded with a musical extravaganza, where over 100 students participated in a lineup for the musical performances in the form of Grand Musical Finale including dance, music, jugalbandi and theatrical acts.

Exemplifying about the festival, Prof Sidharth Mishra, chairperson VSJMC, says, "When everything stopped and the world was introduced to a new normal, digital platforms became the only resort for education and showcasing talents, and bringing normalcy in our lives.
The media students of VIPS have demonstrated a high level of commitment and sincerity by organising Spandan 2020 on the virtual mode."

 

R-TV condemning Mumbai Police to their investors in relation to the TRP scam

Arnab_Goswami_MUMBAI: Media network Republic TV has issued a statement condemning the summons issued by Mumbai police to their investors to join the investigation in the TRP scam.

The crime branch of Mumbai police had issued summons to the owners of RPG Power Trading Ltd, Anant Udyog LLP, Purvanchal Leasing Ltd, Pan Capital Investment, Dynamic Storage and Retrieval Systems (P)Ltd to join the investigation on October 23.

The police also reportedly alleged a one-time payment of Rs 32 lakh made to Republic TV by Hansa Group, saying it could be linked to the TRP case. Republic TV had clarified yesterday that the payment was made by the media buying arm of the Hansa Group for the purpose of on-air advertising on the channel. The channel denied having done any business with Hansa Research, the company that managers Bar-o-meters of BARC.
A statement has been released by Republic TV regarding the summons issued by the Mumbai police to the investors of the media network. In its statement, the media channel called it “highhandedness” of the Mumbai police “in the guise of investigative process”.
The channels said that the crime branch has asked every investor of the channel to produce all financial transactions relating to last five years. Calling the Mumbai police’s action a display of “intimidatory tactics”, the statement said that Encounter Specialist and API Sachin Vaze had given instructions for making even the smaller investors of the channel appear before the crime branch for interrogation.
In the statement, the media channel said that Mumbai police was going after the channel in a “witch-hunt” by issuing 91 notices to them so far and now calling the investors.
Recently, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) which is an international body based in New York, had issued a statement regarding the ongoing investigation by Mumbai police against Republic TV. The body which defends the rights of journalists had asked Mumbai police to stop their investigation against Republic TV.
Recently, an FIR was filed by Mumbai police against the entire editorial team of Republic TV allegedly inciting disaffection among Mumbai police and for defaming them.
The police had also served notice to the media network seeking details of every single employee and journalist working for the Republic TV and details of every transaction made by the channel since its inception.
Republic TV executive editor Niranjan Narayanaswamy was questioned by Mumbai Police for almost 9 hours on 21st October. He was allegedly threatened with imprisonment repeatedly for not revealing the source of the Hansa report.
(Media Reports).

Seema Mustafa elected president of the Editors Guild of India; Sanjay Kapoor is GS

seema mustafaNEW DELHI : Seema Mustafa elected president of the Editors Guild of India; Sanjay Kapoor is general secretary
17 October 2020
Seema Mustafa, the founder and editor of the website The Citizen, has been elected as the new president of the Editors Guild of India for a one-year term. Mustafa defeated M.D. Nalapat of The Sunday Guardian, 87-51, in the first ever election of the Guild’s officebearers, held via Zoom, on Friday. Previously, the Guild has chosen its officebearers by consensus.sanjay kapoor
Sanjay Kapoor, the journalist who broke the Jain Hawala tapes for Blitz and is now the editor of the magazine Hard News, was elected general secretary. He secured 90 votes, beating Smita Prakash of the news wire Asian News International (ANI) by 40 votes. Kapoor bagged 90 of the 140 votes polled; Prakash ended up with 50.
Nath, the Editor of The Caravan, was elected treasurer, unopposed. The trio replace Shekhar Gupta of The Print, A.K. Bhattacharya of Business Standard, and Sheela Bhatt of ex-NewsX, respectively.

Mumbai police summons Republic TV CFO in TRP manipulation scam

cp-MumbaiMUMBAI: Mumbai Police on Friday issued a summons to Republic TV’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in connection with the Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation racket it is probing, an official said. Shiva Subramaniyam Sundaram, CFO of Republic TV, was asked to join the investigation on Saturday morning, he said.

Besides him, the police also summoned accountants of Marathi channels `Fakt Marathi’ and `Box Cinema’ and those of a couple of advertising agencies, he said.
The summons to Sundaram said there are reasonable grounds to believe that he is “acquainted with certain facts and circumstances of the matter and the same are required to be ascertained”. He was asked to come to the city police’s headquarters around 11 am, an official said.
The Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of Mumbai Crime Branch is investigating the fake TRP racket. On Thursday, the police arrested four persons including owners of Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema in the case. Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh claimed that three channels including Republic TV manipulated the TRP.

The racket came to light when BARC, an organization which measures TRP, filed a complaint in this regard through Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd, police said. Republic TV is the biggest name to have emerged in the early investigation with viewers testifying that they had been paid to keep the channel on even when they were not watching. The two others are local channels in Maharashtra called Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema.

The police said they intend to carry out a “forensic audit” of Republic TV’s accounts and the summons to Mr Sundaram contend that there are reasonable grounds to believe that he is “acquainted with certain facts and circumstances of the matter”.The police have also summoned accountants of the two other channels and those from a couple of advertising agencies.
Four people, including owners of the two smaller channels have already been arrested in the case. The police have said the accounts of Republic TV and the others could be frozen if it was established that the channels made advertising money using rigged ratings.

Republic TV has strongly refuted the allegations and accused the Mumbai Police of vendetta because it had raised questions on its investigation into actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death and other stories which have been critical of the state’s Shiv Sena-led coalition government.
Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami said he will sue Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh for the allegations and that there is “not a single BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) report that mentioned Republic TV”. “The people of India know the truth. BARC has not mentioned Republic in any complaint,” he added.

According to the police, the complaint in the case was filed earlier this month by Hansa Research, a company appointed by BARC, which installs “people metres” to track viewership. The company said some former employees had shared details of the households being tracked and helped rig ratings.
(Bureau Report with agency Inputs).

Republic TV Fake TRP Scam: BARC submits TRP data sought by cops

TRPMUMBAI: The war between the Maharashtra State Government and Republic TV has turned ugly as the Mumbai Police have claimed that they have busted a fake TRP scam.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh on Thursday said that the Mumbai Police have identified three channels, namely Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema, and Republic-TV which are reportedly involved in distorting the apparatus used by BARC to rate television channels.
Amidst the massive TRP botch up, more details are now emerging from the probe by Mumbai police on the fake TRP scandal. Mumbai police will serve summons to the top bosses of Republic TV tomorrow.
On Republic TV, the Mumbai CP said, “BARC has submitted that Republic TV is a suspect in TRP manipulation. Police received the data of these households from BARC, the rating agency. We suspect that if this was happening in Mumbai then it could be happening in other parts of the country as well, he added.
The accounts of Republic TV and the others could be frozen if it was established that the channels made advertising money using rigged ratings, he said. The ratings scam emerged during a larger analysis of the manipulation of news trends and how a “false narrative” was being spread, especially in connection with the probe into actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, Mr Singh said. The information had been shared with the central government, he added.
The probe is not a part of a vendetta because the Mumbai police have several other inquiries against the owner. The fact that the case was registered on October 6. Mumbai police has retrieved certain digital evidences, their WhatsApp chats in which the transactions have been highlighted.
Vishal Bhandari’s name has been mentioned in Republic TV and the other two Marathi channels whose names are now under the radar. Certain households were paid around Rs. 400 and were asked to watch the channel.
The complaint was filed by Hansa Research against some of their ex-employees who could have misused the data on the households where the TRP monitoring systems are installed. Some current employees could also be involved and some insiders could be involved. It’s cheating (breach of trust) complaint turned into FIR.

Officials of Republic TV which claims the highest TRPs or Television Rating Points among news channels will be summoned today or tomorrow, CP Param Bir Singh told reporters, dropping a bombshell in the middle of a row over the media coverage of the Sushant Singh Rajput case and aggressive criticism of the Mumbai police by some channels.
Asked whether the inquiry would include Arnab Goswami, the Editor-in-Chief of Republic, the police chief said: “Anyone involved in the channel, no matter how much in the top, how senior, will be questioned, and if involved they will be investigated. No one, no matter how senior, will escape.”
He explained that the scam was based on household data being revealed to channels, which used it to manipulate ratings. “Based on these ratings they received illegal advertising funds. This will be considered proceeds of cheating,” said the police chief. ” The manipulation was mainly for advertising revenues.”
In Mumbai, 2,000 barometers are installed to monitor ratings and BARC hired ‘Hansa” to monitor these. The investigation is based on Hansa’s complaint, the top cop said. “We suspect that if this was happening in Mumbai then it could be happening in other parts of the country as well,” he added.
The media organisations allegedly bribed the households being metered to keep their channel switched on all the time even if they were not watching it. “If you see the data, poor uneducated households that don’t speak English were watching only English TV channels,” Mr Singh said. He claimed that the families were offered a monthly payment of Rs 400-500 for their role in pushing up ratings.
Meanwhile, In a statement, Arnab Goswami said he would sue the Mumbai Police commissioner and accused him of making false allegations “because we have questioned him in the Sushant Singh Rajput case investigation”. He added: “He should issue a public apology or get ready to face us in court.”
“Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh has made false allegations against Republic TV because we have questioned him in the Sushant Singh Rajput case investigation. Republic TV will file a criminal defamation case against Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
BARC has been served notice and its officials are also being questioned. “As in all our previous cases of suspected panel homes intrusions, BARC India continues to follow its established vigilance and disciplinary guidelines. BARC remains steadfastly true to its purpose to accurately and faithfully report ‘ What India Watches’. BARC India appreciates the efforts of the Mumbai Police and will provide the support asked of it,” said a company spokesperson.

Ratings manipulation has been a familiar charge in the television industry. Central ministers have commented on it and even the Supreme Court recently criticized the race for TRPs in a case involving Sudarshan TV’s “UPSC Jihad” show. “The problem with the electronic media is all about TRPs, leading to more and more sensationalism that damages the reputation of people,” a judge had remarked.
(Agency Report with Bureau Inputs).

 

Fake News on Telegram is Fueling Hate in India

fake NewsNEW DELHI : While Facebook, Whats App and Twitter have been under the scanner for their inability to curb this menace which has led to a string of violent activities including riots and lynchings, misinformation on Telegram is a bigger challenge often discussed in tech circles.
With over 400 million global subscribers, Telegram was introduced and is widely regarded as a competitor to WhatsApp. It can host up to 2,00,000 people in a private group as compared to 256 people allowed by WhatsApp and there are several public channels which can be accessed by anyone and everyone using the app.
Perceived as one of the safest communication channels, Telegram prevents data breach to a great extent, but these features namely — high broadcast potential, robust security apparatus and unchecked public groups — make it extremely difficult to monitor the flow of mis/disinformation and hate speech on the platform.
We spoke to several experts who underlined the need to protect the privacy of the user and simultaneously introduce features which can check the spread of hate and fake news.

For the purpose of the story, this reporter joined a few public Telegram groups (random selection) and analysed the content which was being shared. Here’s what I learnt.
Hate Speech, Polarisation & Disinformation: What’s Happening Inside Telegram Groups in India?
“हिंदू एकता जिंदाबाद” (Long Live Hindu Unity) is a public group which had over 22,000 members at the time of filing this report. We noticed that members in this group frequently engaged with Islamophobic, anti-minority and abusive content and used misleading information to back their claims.

Sample this conversation among three people – called ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ through the course of this story – illustrated in the screenshot below. After ‘A’ abuses Muslims, ‘B’ points out that the “Sanatan dharma does not allow them to abuse another religion”. Adding to what ‘A’ said, person ‘C’ claims that “Seculars are traitors and should be considered worst than Muslims”.
The matter has now become ‘A’ and ‘C’ vs ‘B’. Responding to ‘C’, person ‘B’ says that “Muslims and Christians might’ve done horrible things to Hindus, but if Hindus reciprocate in the same language, they have no right to call themselves followers of Lord Ram.”Clearly frustrated with what ‘B’ is saying, ‘A’ ends up calling ‘B’ a “Katua”, an often-used derogatory term for Muslims.
These vile and hateful messages are often accompanied by or result from misleading or fake information targeting the minority communities. In this case, the bone of contention was the ‘UPSC Jihad’ episode telecasted on Sudarshan News on 11 September.
The bulletin helmed by channel’s editor in chief Suresh Chavhanke talked about how the public service exam was structured and, according to him, is functioning in a way that favoured the Muslim community. Screenshots of some false claims made by Chavhanke during the episode were then circulated on this group. These claims have already been debunked by The Quint.
This is just one of the many instances where hate speech coupled with disinformation was being circulated on this group without any verification. We spoke with senior journalist Maya Mirchandani who is currently a Senior Fellow at the Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation. She says that disinformation in itself is not a new problem but the need of the hour is to identify the enemy. Mirchandani is leading a research on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism’ (P/CVE), De-radicalization and Hate Speech at ORF.

“The problem today is the speed at which technology is able to amplify rumours. The ability to do so, unchecked, is the real problem. We as consumers of technology need an education – on its obstacles and propensity for abuse.”
Maya Mirchandani, Journalist & Senior Fellow at ORF
We analysed several other groups and were able to sort the disinformation being shared on Telegram into three broad categories: Communal disinformation targeting minorities.
Disinformation around national security and situation along the India-China border.
Darkweb activities including pirated content, fake sim cards and breached data. As is evident from the example illustrated above, fake news targeting the minority communities exists in abundance on Telegram. ‘हिंदू राष्ट्रवादी’ (Hindu Nationalist), ‘BHARATIYA HINDU PARIVAR’ and ‘Hindu’ are among many other such groups where hateful and misleading content is shared on a regular basis. This includes fake news stories which have already been debunked by various fact-checkers.

For example, a viral image claiming that an RSS worker was beaten up in Kerala for attending a Muslim wedding, made its way through to one of these groups. In reality, the man seen in the images is actor and content creator Arjun Ratan and the scene is from a video ‘Smile Please’ uploaded on a digital platform called Karikku. This claim was also debunked by multiple fact-checkers including The Quint’s WebQoof team.
(The Quint).

 

Delhi Journalist Sold Army Secrets Via Chinese, Nepalese Handlers: Cops

NEW DELHI : Freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma has been arrested by the Special Cell in a case under the Official Secrets Rajeev SharmaAct and is being interrogated, Delhi Police said on Friday.
journalist has been arrested for allegedly passing on sensitive information to Chinese intelligence. He was also found possessing classified documents.
“He was found to be in possession of some defence-related classified documents,” Sanjeev Yadav, DCP, Special Cell, said. Sharma, a senior journalist who worked for various newspapers and news agencies, was arrested on Monday and was produced the next day before a Delhi court, which sent him to six-day police custody.
After his arrest, the Delhi Police seized his laptop, his mobile phone and are scanning his call detail records to know with whom he was in contact. Sources said that Delhi Police got secret information about his involvement in procurement of classified documents and hence he was arrested by the Special Cell under the Official Secrets Act.
The Special Cell is interrogating him to know how he procured classified defence-related documents and if there is an involvement of more people. Following his arrest, his Twitter account is flashing a message that the account showed suspicious activity and hence, has been restricted. Sharma was also supposed to be one of the many victims of the alleged Pegasus snooping.
Mirror Now’s Bhavatosh Singh says the police intelligence issued an official statement on Saturday. Indian Law Enforcement has for the first time accused Chinese government for espionage. Rajeev Sharma was working as a freelance journalist and writing articles for various websites.

The Delhi Police said it has also arrested a Chinese woman and her Nepalese associate, and claimed that they were paying huge amounts of money to the freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma for allegedly providing sensitive information.

Chinese intelligence tasked the journalist for conveying sensitive information in lieu of large amounts of money,” the police said. “Huge number of  incriminating and sensitive material have been recovered,” the police said.
“He was found to be in possession of some classified defence-related documents. The investigation is in progress and further details will be shared in due course,” senior police officer Sanjeev Kumar Yadav had said on Friday.

 

The arrests come amid a months-long border standoff between India and China in Ladakh that peaked on June 15, when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the line of duty – a first in more than four decades. Even after that, there have been repeated attempts by the Chinese troops to recapture the heights occupied by the Indian soldiers.

AG, Venugopal declines to give consent to initiate contempt against Rajdeep for tweets against SC

rajdeep-venu (1)NEW DELHI : Attorney General K K Venugopal on Thursday said that the reputation of the Supreme Court has been built assiduously for over 70 years and trifling remarks and passing criticism, though perhaps distasteful, are unlikely to tarnish the image of the institution.
he A-G made the observation while declining to grant consent for initiating contempt proceedings against journalist Ranjeep Sardesai.  “I have given careful consideration to the tweets. I find that the statements made by Sardesai are not of so serious a nature as to undermine the majesty of the Supreme Court or lower its stature in the minds of the public,” he said.

Rejecting the request to prosecute Mr Sardesai, the attorney general said, “Trifling remarks and mere passing criticism though perhaps distasteful are unlikely to tarnish the image of the institution.”
Last month, Mr Venugopal declined permission to an advocate to file a contempt plea against actor Swara Bhasker for comments on the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Babri Masjid and Ayodhya land dispute case.
Under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, consent from the Attorney General or Solicitor General was required to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against anyone. Earlier, both the A-G and the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had declined to grant t…
Advocate Omprakash Parihar made a request to the Attorney General to give his consent, as mandated under the the Contempt of Courts Act, for initiating proceedings against Sardesai for his tweets against the Supreme Court.
The petitioner had reportedly mentioned a number of tweets by the journalist on the day the court fined Mr Bhushan ₹ 1 for his social media posts on the judiciary and the Chief Justice.

 

 Cases for contempt have drawn increased public interest after lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan was held guilty of the same charge last month that have stoked discussions on free speech and dissent. Mr Bhushan, the court ruled, had crossed a line in making comments about the judiciary.
 Mr Bhushan, in his defence, said he considered his tweets “as an attempt for working for the betterment of the institution”, and that open criticism was necessary to safeguard democracy in India.
The attorney general, who had himself filed a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against Mr Bhushan last year for comments on the appointment of former interim chief of CBI M Nageswara Rao, this time, urged the court to ignore the veteran lawyer’s tweets.
(With Agency Inputs).