Television

Imam Bukhari challenges 'fake' story, Republic TV denies receipt of notice

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MUMBAI: You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life, said Winston Churchill. There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that's not being talked about, said Oscar Wilde. Arnab Goswami fits both.

The 'shahi imam' of Jama Masjid in Delhi, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, has reportedly served a defamation notice on Republic TV’s promoters including its founder and editor, Arnab Goswami, for what he says "was malicious reporting on the mosque."

Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani however told Indiantelevision.com that the channel did not receive any notice yet. And, if at all the man had despatched the notice, 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.)

In his notice, Janta Ka Reporter wrote, Bukhari demanded an on-air apology from the channel and removal of any video content existing on the web platforms owned by Republic TV within 15 days.

In its programme on 30 August, Republic TV had claimed that electricity supply to the historic mosque was cut by the Delhi Electricity Department due to non-payments of bills. The channel had run this story repeatedly while also using its official Twitter handle to tweet about it. Its tweet reportedly read, “Imam Bukhari has money to buy luxurious cars but can’t pay electricity bills?”

Imam Bukhari said the story was baseless and defamatory, as the power of the mosque was never cut.

The notice reportedly stated: “It was expected that as an organisation 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 mala fide intent to adversely affect the image and reputation of our client," the Indian Awaaz reported.

Media companies will not only need journalists but good lawyers too if they wanted "the show to go on."

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