New Delhi, Wednesday, June 11, 2008 -- News-market leader India TV today complained to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) that its fair name and goodwill were being compromised because of regulatory permission given to a company called Information TV, to run a 24-hour news channel by the name of `India News’.
In a letter today to Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, India TV Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma expressed shock at continued references to `India News’ as India TV and the implications therein.
Mr Sharma cited several instances including the letter written by Sandhya Bajaj, Member, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, which is being widely circulated in the Press, claiming that a pornographic MMS purportedly of Ms Arushi Talwar, was aired on India TV when in fact, it was aired on `India News’.
Mr Sharma made it plain that India TV has nothing at all to do with such an objectionable video. The video was actually aired for long periods of time on `India News’ controlled by Mr Kartikeya Sharma, son of Congressman Vinod Sharma and brother of Manu Sharma, convict in the Jessica Lal case.
In a statement, India TV said Ms Bajaj too is being apprised of her erroneous information, but that the damage can’t be undone, because by now many sections of the Press have associated the pornographic MMS with India TV instead of `India News’.
Just one case in point is The Times of India of June 10, 2008 on Pg 3, where the erroneous and unjust reference to India TV instead of `India News’ has been conveyed to the Editor (Delhi) of The Times of India.
In an identical letter to Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chaudhary, the India TV chairman pointed out that in a talk show on the Arushi case aired by NDTV, members of the audience and experts invited by Ms Barkha Dutt, Managing Editor, NDTV, referred to India TV as the purported broadcaster of the pornographic MMS instead of `India News’, and it was left to Deepak Chaurasia, Senior Editor, Aaj Tak to clarify.
“Such acts of confusion have emanated out of the regulatory decision to allocate a similar sounding name to the channel owned by Information TV,” Mr Sharma said.
“India TV is exercising every option to protect its name. Our Senior Counsel Mr Abhishek Manu Singhvi has suggested 7 alternate names to the Hon’ble Court and the Hon’ble Court has kindly directed Information TV and `India News’ to carry detailed disclaimers until the disposal of the case,” an India TV statement said.
Ellaborating on the confusion in other quarters, Mr Sharma pointed out that on 29.4.2008 even Mr Das Munshi’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an important letter to India TV, but referred to it as “India News.” The MIB had to issue a corrigendum on 30.4.2008.
A similar reference to “India News’’ when the intent was to refer to India TV, was made by the Learned Delhi High Court.
About Mr Rajat Sharma and Independent News Service Private Limited (INS):
Mr Rajat Sharma is Chairman of Independent News Service (INS) and Editor-in-Chief of India TV. India TV is presently the No.1 Hindi News Channel. INS was co-founded by Mr Sharma and Ms Ritu Dhawan in 1998. Mr Sharma edited important publications before entering television in 1992 with the iconic 'Aap Ki Adalat' and India's first private news bulletin.
With 20 years of work behind her, Ms Dhawan is one of India's senior most television producers.
INS launched India TV in August 2004. Today it has a talent pool of 400+ personnel. As per TAM, India TV is a leader, on the Elite Panel and in the C&S Hindi news market in terms of shares, TVRs, time spends and audience reverts.
In March last year Fuse+ Media, an entity of ComVentures, a leading Silicon Valley-based venture capital and private equity group with over $1.5 billion of assets under management, had placed an equivalent of Rs 50.9 crore of FDI in INS for a 19.17 per cent stake, taking INS's enterprise value to Rs 270 crore. Earlier this year, after another strategic investment, INS's enterprise value stood at Rs 500 crore.
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