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Exorbitant damages will cripple media: NBA

Last Updated: Friday, November 18, 2011 - 17:06

New Delhi: The News Broadcasters Association
(NBA) on Friday noted with sadness the Supreme Court declining to
interfere with the order of Bombay High Court in the Times Now
case saying if media is made to pay "disproportionately
exorbitant" damages for "innocent mistakes", it will cripple
its functioning.

"If innocent errors committed by media, are visited with
such dire legal consequences, and if media companies are
compelled to pay such disproportionately exorbitant damages,
despite the issuance of a public apology, it would effectively
cripple the functioning of the media," an NBA statement said.

The NBA notes with "sadness" that the Supreme Court has
in its wisdom declined to interfere in the order of the Bombay
High Court by "summarily" dismissing the Special Leave
Petition filed by Times Now, seeking relief from an order
stipulating it to deposit Rs 20 crore and furnish a Rs 80
crore bank guarantee to hear an appeal in a defamation case,
it said.

"Economic burden of such gargantuan amounts would
completely jeopardise media businesses and will directly
impact media freedom, independence and survival, which are
essential for a vibrant democratic set up in any country," the
statement said.

"Therefore to impose a condition of pre-depositing or
securing such huge quantum of damages -- without which the
broadcaster may face, imminent attachment of its assets --
effectively cripples the broadcaster`s right to even seek
redressal by way of appeal," it said.

It said if stipulations such as these become a norm, news
media will be targeted at every instance thereby affecting the
very survival and existence of the news industry as a whole.


First Published: Friday, November 18, 2011 - 17:06

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