Delhi HC Bars Cobrapost From Releasing Second Exposé on Paid News
The Delhi High Court on Thursday, 24 May, ordered an ex-parte injunction against investigative news portal Cobrapost – a day before it was to release a documentary titled Operation 136: Part II at a press conference in New Delhi at 3 pm.
The documentary was a follow-up of Operation 136: Part I that released on 26 March, in which Cobrapost said it had “exposed 17 media houses and their ill-practices, including indulgence in paid news, peddling communal agenda, mass polarisation, and acceptance of illegal black currency.”
The injunction came after the Dainik Bhaskar media group approached the Delhi High Court with the argument that the documentary’s release would lead to “irreparable loss and injury” to its reputation, “which cannot be undone.”
Notably, Cobrapost said the Dainik Bhaskar group is part of the “investigations launched by our team.”
However, “if we are unable to get the injunction vacated before 3 pm, we will be unable to hold our press conference (on Friday),” it added.
The injunction order issued by Justice Valmiki Mehta of the Delhi High Court reads:
In view of the arguments urged by the planitiff [Dainik Bhaskar], till further orders unless varied by the court, the defendants [Cobrapost] are restrained from in any manner releasing in public domain the documentary ‘Operation 136: Part II’ in any manner including at the Press Club of India on 25.5.2018 at 3:00 pm.
Cobrapost’s editor Aniruddha Bahal called Dainik Bhaskar’s move of approaching the High Court as acting in a mala fide manner, reported The Wire.
The first part of Operation 136 had claimed to have found, through its sting operations, that several Indian media houses agreed to run political campaigns, defame leaders of the Opposition, and propagate Hindutva agenda for electoral gains, in exchange for money.