The clash between Mumbai Police and Republic TV has worsened as an FIR has been filed against the TV news network by the police. After sending a notice 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, the Mumbai Police has now filed an FIR against the entire editorial staff of the channel, a report by Republic TV said. The FIR has been filed against the entire editorial team of the channel allegedly for broadcasting the Hansa Report on TRP scam.
Fuming at the Mumbai Police, Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami said that a criminal case has been lodged against about 1000 employees of the channel.
#BREAKING on #RepublicWitchhunt | Mumbai Police files FIR against the entire editorial staff of Republic Media Network.— Republic (@republic) October 23, 2020
Phone lines are open, call us now on 022-62431010 and share your views – https://t.co/rGQJsiKgt2 pic.twitter.com/1mOgRt5mNk
The FIR has been filed for allegedly inciting disaffection among Mumbai police and for defaming them. According to reports, the complaint was been filed by PSI Shashikant Pawar of Special Branch-1 at NM Joshi Marg Police station. Based on the complaint, an FIR has been filed under various sections including Police (Incitement to Disaffection) Act 1922, read with section 500, 34 of IPC.
The complaint names several editorial staff at Republic including Deputy News Editor Sagarika Mitra, Anchor and senior Associate Editor Shivani Gupta, Deputy Editor Shawan Sen, Executive Editor Niranjan Narayanswamy. Apart from them the entire editorial staff and newsroom in-charge for the concerned report getting aired, and others are also named as accused in the FIR.
The complaint filed by the PSI said that the channel has committed offences amounting to incitement to disaffection among members of the Police Force and defaming Mumbai Police by airing the concerned reports.
“I have been informed just now that in the first time in the history of India, Mumbai Police has filed an FIR against 1000 members of the editorial staff. There is an FIR against all Republic TV editorial staff because we cited Hansa Research report on our show exposing the TRP scam,” Arnab said.
It may be noted that the report by Hansa Research had exposed the lies of Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, as it had shown that India Today was named in the TRP scam complaint, not Republic TV as alleged by Singh.
Bombay court legitimises Republic TV’s use of Hansa Research report in its broadcast on TRP case
While the Mumbai Police filed a criminal complaint against the entire editorial team of Republic TV for citing Hansa Research report in its broadcast of TRP scam, the Civil Court of Greater Bombay today legitimised the Republic TV’s use of Hansa complaint in the course of its coverage on the alleged TRP manipulation case.
A statement in this regard has been released by the Republic TV earlier today. “It was natural for the media house to use its news channel to defend itself against the charge of manipulation of TRP ratings and disclosing the documents which support their case of innocence,” the court observed as per the statement released by the Republic TV.
#RepublicWitchhunt In a big win for the truth & its disclosure to the public, not only has the City Civil Court of Greater Bombay upheld Republic Media Network’s right to refer to the Hansa complaint in its coverage of the TRP case but the document’s veracity has also been upheld pic.twitter.com/4UgAo1FF6O— Republic (@republic) October 23, 2020
The Court also noted that the claim that the mention of Hansa Research report by the defendants (Republic TV) in their broadcast will damage the reputation of the plaintiff (Hansa Research) is untenable and therefore unacceptable. The court had also noted that the document was already published by other media houses and circulated on social media, hence stopping Republic to broadcast will not prevent the circulation of the report.
Mumbai Police seek details of every transaction made by Republic TV since its inception
Earlier today, Republic TV reported that the Mumbai police Crime Branch has sought details of every financial transaction made by the channel in the past 4 years. Meanwhile, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Sundaram S have been asked to submit the details at the police station. Despite being well aware that collecting information of such transactions may take months, the Mumbai police have provided just 12-hour window to Republic TV for submitting the details.
As per Republic TV, the fresh demand for financial transactions is a part of the witch-hunt of the Mumbai police against the news network, carried out on the behest of the Maharashtra government. The channel has claimed that the cops have sought for petty and trivial transactions including the cost of toilet paper, coffee vending machines, makeup kits, stationery, furniture and so on.
Arnab Goswami at loggerheads with the Maharashtra government
Arnab Goswami and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government are at loggerheads since the prime time show aired on Republic Bharat over the lynching of Hindu sadhus in Palghar. Several FIRs were filed against the news anchor and he was called to the police station in Mumbai where he was grilled for more than 11 hours. A case was also filed against him and his channel Republic TV for broadcast on April 14 and 15 regarding the Bandra migrants incident.
Arnab had also alleged that one of his reporters and the camera person was unlawfully detained by the Maharashtra government when they were on a trail of an investigative story in Navi Mumbai. Another Republic TV journalist Pradeep Bhandari was recently encircled physically by the Mumbai Police and was detained illegally. It was alleged that Pradeep was assaulted as well and was not provided with access to lawyers.
A few days back, Republic TV was also targeted in a TRP manipulation case when the Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh convened a press conference and insinuated that Republic TV paid bribes to manipulate its TRP. However, hours later Republic TV cited Hansa Research’s report to allege that the complaint of TRP manipulation carried the name of India Today and not Republic TV.