India TV complains to MIB on `India News'

MUMBAI: India TV has filed a complaint in the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) saying its "fair name and goodwill" were being compromised because of regulatory permission given to Information TV to run a 24-hour Hindi news channel by the name of 'India News'.

In a letter to information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, India TV chairman and editor-in-chief Rajat Sharma has expressed shock at continued references to India News as India TV.

Sharma in his letter has cited several instances including the letter written by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights member Sandhya Bajaj, which is being widely circulated in the press, claiming that a pornographic MMS purportedly of Arushi Talwar, was aired on India TV when in fact, it was aired on India News. Sharma maintained that India TV has nothing at all to do with such an objectionable video.

India TV said in a statement that 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.

India TV has also conveyed one case in point where The Times of India of 10 June on page three put the erroneous and unjust reference to India TV instead of `India News'.

In an identical letter to Women and Child Development minister Renuka Chaudhary, Sharma pointed out that in a talk show on the Arushi case aired by NDTV, members of the audience and experts invited by NDTV managing editor Barkha Dutt, 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," said Sharma.

"India TV is exercising every option to protect its name. Our senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi has suggested seven alternate names to the court and it has directed Information TV and India News to carry detailed disclaimers until the disposal of the case," an India TV statement said.

Sharma pointed out that on 29 April even MIB issued an important letter to India TV, but referred to it as India News. The MIB had to issue a corrigendum on 30 April for the same.

A similar reference to India News when the intent was to refer to India TV was made by the Delhi High Court.

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