The Delhi High Court on Thursday restrained till further orders web portal Cobrapost from releasing in public a documentary on various media houses that were allegedly indulging in malpractices such as paid news, peddling communal agenda, mass polarisation and acceptance of black money.
Justice Valmiki J Mehta passed the order after Dainik Bhaskar Corporation Limited sought to restrain Forum for Media and Literature — a non-profit organisation that is engaged in investigative journalism and publishes its investigations on http://www.cobrapost.com — from making public its “Operation 136: Part II”.
The court said, “In view of the arguments urged on behalf of plaintiff (Dainik Bhaskar Corporation Limited), till further orders unless varied by the court, defendants (Forum for Media and Literature and others) are restrained from in any manner releasing in public domain the documentary ‘Operation 136: Part II’ in any manner at the Press Club of India on May 25, 2018 at 3 pm.”
The court also issued summons to Forum for Media and Literature and others and listed the matter for further hearing on July 4.
Cobrapost had carried a story titled “Operation 136: Part I” on 17 media houses and their alleged malpractice, including indulgence in paid news, peddling communal agenda, mass polarisation and acceptance of black currency. Part 1 was released on March 26.
Soon after the verdict, Cobrapost said in a press statement that they had been barred from airing the story in part or whole, on the argument of Dainik Bhaskar that if “Operation 136: Part II” is allowed to be released in the public domain, then irreparable loss and injury would be caused to them which cannot be undone.
In the statement, Cobrapost said that the plaintiff, Dainik Bhaskar group, features in the investigations by their team.
“In the interest of the whole truth reaching the public, we are trying our very best to vacate this injunction, but whether we shall be able to achieve this before 3 pm of May 25, 2018, remains to be seen. If we are unable to get the injunction vacated before 3 pm, we will be unable to hold our press conference tomorrow,” it said.
Dainik Bhaskar told the court that the “entire object of Cobrapost is to sully their reputation”.