Days after four cine-associations and 34 movie production houses filed a petition against Republic TV and Times Now over the coverage of Bollywood-drug nexus, it has been revealed that the original petition included more TV news channels which were dropped in the final petition, without informing some of the petitioners. OpIndia has accesses email exchanges between Solicis Lex, the law firm representing CINTAA (Cine & TV Artists Association), and the Producers Guild, which discuss about possibility of adding more channels in the petition so that it does not look like targeted against two channels.
On 15th October, an office bearer of Producers Guild of India wrote to Solicis Lex, saying that as there are total 38 petitioners in the petition, they have decided that only one law firm will represent them all due to logistical issues. The official writes that there are more media houses ‘who have also indulged in defamation, vilification and slander against the industry’, and they are ready to have a discussion to add more defendants to the case.
Replying to the email, Ameet Mehta, managing partner of Solicis Lex, wrote on behalf of CINTAA that the ambit of the petition should also include more channels, “which inadvertently may have been missed out in petition by the Producers Guild”. The law firm suggested the addition of the following channels:
- Aaj Tak
- Editors Guild of India
- Zee News
- India TV
- India Today
- ABP News
It may be noted that Editors Guild of India is not a new channel, but the same was included in the list by the law firm. Giving the justification for adding these additional respondents to the case, the email stated, “Otherwise the petition is going to look like a targeted audience against two new Channels”.
Interestingly, the mail by the law firm official representing CINTAA states that as per original plan, they were to include all major news channels in the plea, and they were surprised to see the final petition. “Let me reiterate and remind that it was a clear understanding that we will be making all major news Channels, party to this. However, we were little surprised to see the final petition only limiting to two news channels”, the mail stated. This means, CINTAA was kept in dark about limiting the petition only to Republic TV and Times Now.
“We have to either make it really look fair or just then we delete all and keep two,” Ameet Mehta added. He also suggested that keeping respondents like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube in the petition look as ornamental parties which have no meaning.
“Lets be fair and move ahead. We are with PG and do not wish to be let out of this. However an amendment is urgently needed”, the mail stated. The law firm also as the Produces Guild that in case they do not want to add the mentioned channels as parties to the case, CINTAA should know the reason of the same as petitioners.