Punjab's Dainik Savera Times has sent a legal notice to Adsert Web Solutions — the company that runs trade news website exchange4media.com (E4M) — and its top leadership for ‘deliberately maligning’ the reputation of the Hindi newspaper by publishing a misleading article on the web platform.
The Dainik Savera Times has also asked E4M and its top leadership to pay them Rs 10 crore in damages.
On June 26, exchange4media (E4M) had published a report under the headline 'As Punjab Newspapers Grow, Dainik Savera Struggles With Falling Readership'.
The legal notice sent by Dainik Savera lawyers in Jalandhar alleged that the facts mentioned in the article were misrepresented. The legal notice has also been sent to Anurag Batra, Director/Chairman of the company, Nawal Ahuja, Director/CEO, and Sunil Kumar, President.
The notice started with the reason behind the report and said, “My client (read Dainik Savera Times) used to give advertisement and sponsor the events in your web portal, namely Exchange4Media. However, my client stopped giving you advertisements on your web portal Exchange4Media and as such you start nursing grudge against my client and tried to damage the reputation of my client. One of the modes adopted by you is that you started giving adverse reporting against my client. You made false reporting about the publication and growth of Dainik Savera Times in your portal.” (As exactly written in the legal notice).
The notice says that Shital Vij of Danik Savera has been wrongly quoted by E4M and the article has been published willfully and intentionally to cause loss to the newspaper.
"My client never made any such comments nor Mr. Shital Vij has/had ever talked with you about the facts you have mentioned in your article. The facts mentioned in the article are your self-creation and based on wrong facts. You have intentionally and wilfully and in order to cause loss to my client have published the article knowingly fully well and having reasons to believe that the same is false," the notice has said. (As exactly written in the legal notice).
It also said that the trade media portal has not mentioned the growth of the total readership of the newspaper in Q4, whereas, the story has been done on the basis of Average Issue Readership numbers (where the fall in the readership number is as little as 20,000).
The newspaper has alleged that other publications have lost many more readers and it is not visible in the article. The article also does not say that the newspaper has posted maximum growth (as compared to others) in terms of total readership.
When the article was published, Dainik Savera Times had written to E4M, saying that such stories show the prevalence of a highest form of yellow journalism and it was a highly biased news piece.
"We believe that this is the highest form of yellow journalism and it is indeed surprising that a media portal as reputed as yours, should find the need to indulge in such nefarious activity," Dainik Savera Times had earlier told E4M and requested them to remove the article. The legal notice includes it as well.
"We are bringing to your notice, the bias with which this piece has been produced, which is more than evident right from the very headline itself. So, we hope that you will agree that it is fitting on our part to expect you to remove this article from the portal immediately, since we are confident it is designed to malign the business interest of Dainik Savera Times and for no apparent reason."
The notice adds, "Why was Dainik Savera Times being named in the headline, when the story is about Punjab Dailies? Is this not a deliberate attempt to mislead readers? Why would anyone do negative story about a newspaper readership and that too the no.4 newspaper in a market?"
The notice said that the article is clueless about the functioning of the Indian Readership Survey.
"Even at the most basic level, your corresponding is evidently clueless and ignorant and misinformed about the IRS itself. The entire study of IRS 2019 was completed much before the Covid-19 crises happened in India. The article attempts to connect the readership figures of certain dailies with the Covid-19 pandemic," the notice has said.
The newspaper has sought Rs 10 crore in damages, claiming its reputation has been lowered.
"Due to your aforesaid malafide act, the reputation of my client has been lowered in the circle of Print Media, Social Media, Electronic Media, the readers, viewers and the right thinking members of the society and suffered damages which he estimates to the tune of Rs 10 crore. Apart from damages, you are also liable for prosecution U/s 500 of IPC for which my client reserves right to prosecute you separately. You are hereby called upon through this legal notice to pay Rs 10 crore as damages and also to remove/take off the said article from your portal immediately, failing which my client shall be constrained to file appropriate legal proceeding against you and in that event you shall be liable for all the cost, risks and consequences," the notice has said. (As exactly written in the legal notice).
The IRS Q4 2019 results for Punjab:
(Disclaimer: BestMediaInfo.com directly competes with Exchange4media.com. The latter had earlier filed a lawsuit against BestMediaInfo.com, which is currently subjudice at the Patiala House Court in New Delhi).