Republic TV may face defamation case after broadcasting fake news on Delhi’s Jama Masjid electricity bills due

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Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Imam of Jama Masjid Delhi has sent a Legal Notice to Arnab Goswami’s ‘Republic’ TV for Running what he called ‘False and malicious’ Story about the historic mosque.

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Under the caption, “Power cut at Jama Masjid”, the channel on August 30, 2017, had repeatedly aired the story that ‘because of non-payments of bills, Jama Masjid’s power was snapped by the Delhi Electricity Department”. The channel also tweeted this on its official Twitter handle the same day “Imam Bukhari has money to buy luxurious cars but can’t pay electricity bills?”

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Fake News buster site Altnews.in were first to notice that false information from Republic TV, they carried an article in which they exposed the lies which were peddling on live TV to millions of viewers.

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Bukhari claimed that the story run by ‘Republic’ recently was false, defamatory and malicious and was done to defame him and Jama Masjid as the power of mosque was never cut by the electric supply department.

Mr Bukhari in a strong-worded legal notice to the channel’s promoters and editor Arnab Goswami asked them to tender unconditional apology, and to remove the content of the story from the channel’s website within 15 days. He warned the channel of defamation case, if it fails to comply with the notice.

The notice stated: “It was expected that as an organization having a wide broadcast television news channel audience, you should have verified the facts before embarking upon such unprofessional and irresponsible statements which are nothing but intended to defame our client. The aforementioned news report is not only a glaring case of false and fake reporting but has also been telecast with malafide intent to adversely affect the image and reputation of our client.

He told Caravan Daily, “I came to know from my acquaintances that Republic TV has been telecasting a report regarding me and the Jama Masjid. I see a design in it as it was telecast on the very day when the supporters of Baba Gurmeet Singh alias Ram Rahim had unleashed a reign of terror after he was convicted by a special court on rape charges.”

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The shahi Imam added, “The channel and its editor are known for Muslim bashing and a tilt towards the saffron groups and its ideology. There is no doubt that the news story and tweets were intended to degrade and damage my reputation in general and the Muslim community, in particular as the channel did not bother to verify the facts before airing

However, according to Indiantelevision.com Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani told the channel did not receive any notice yet. And, if at all the noticed had despatched, the matter would become sub-judice. (In law, sub-judice, Latin for “under judgment”, means that a particular case is under trial or being considered by a judge or court.)

Republic TV was founded by Arnab Goswami after he was sacked by Times Now, where he worked as channel’s editor-in-chief in November 2016. Two of its key investors are believed to be the NDA MP, Rajeev Chandrasekhar and former Infosys executive, Mohandas Pai, a known supporter of RSS and Prime Minister Narendra Modi since it’s launch the channel has only been busy attacking the opposition parties while avoiding criticism for the central government.

With PTI inputs

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