SHARANYA KANVILKAR writes from Bombay: Last month, India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, and its most powerful business house, Reliance Industries, shot off a seven-page legal notice to several TV news channels for airing anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal‘s allegations against them in October and November last year.
Surprisingly, or perhaps not, neither Kejriwal nor his advocate-partner, Prashant Bhushan, heard from RIL’s lawyers, A.S. Dayal & Associates, on their charges of Ambani’s Swiss bank accounts and hanky-panky in the Krishna-Godavari basin by RIL, which were covered “live” by the TV channels.
Not surprisingly, or perhaps not, Kejriwal is now believed to have written to Mukesh Ambani, who is now also a media player, urging him inter alia to stop “threatening the media”. Excerpts:
Shri Mukesh Ambaniji
Recently you have sent a legal notice to all TV channels in the county. Their fault is that they “live” telecast the press conference addressed by Prashant Bhushan and me on 31 October 2012 and 9 November 2012.
We, in our press conferences, informed the citizens of India on how you illegally pressured the government for a hike in fuel prices. Our expose was covered “live” by many TV channels.
You have sent them a legal notice for defamation suit.
I am not able to understand this.
If you have been defamed by Prashant Bhushan and me, then we are at fault. Why has the notice been sent to TV channels and not us? This clearly reveals that your motive was to exert pressure on the TV channels….
According to your company, the “live” telecast by TV channels is a case of defamation.
Just think through: is it really me or Prashant Bhushan or the TV channels who have defamed you, or have you yourself defamed your image by your acts?
I request you do not try to threaten the media of this country.
There could be a few people in the media who are biased; they can follow you.
Still, there are many journalists who work for this country. They will not be influenced by you. History is witness that such journalists come forward to save democracy.
There could be some media houses where you could have directly or indirectly invested money; they could come under your control. But the journalists working for them will not.
Photograph: courtesy IBN Live
Also read: ‘RIL has no direct stake in media companies’