Aakar Patel, a director of Hill Road Media & a former newspaper editor, having worked with the Bhaskar Group and Mid Day Multimedia Ltd. writes in his column titled ‘Why Shekhar Gupta is right to be angry, but wrong to sue’ in Firstpost:
Gupta claims he was defamed by Mehta, who said in an interview to Open magazine that an Express report published earlier this year was “the mother of all mistakes” and specifically written to damage India’s army chief VK Singh. This is the background to Vinod Mehta’s comments.
The report carried Gupta’s own byline, which was unusual. It claimed the Indian government was “spooked” when it learnt on 16 January that certain army units were moving towards Delhi on the same night as the Supreme Court was hearing a petition by the army chief on his age.
….But this was brushed off and the Indian Express was attacked as being irresponsible. I don’t think that charge is true, and I rate the Express under Gupta as one of India’s three best newspapers.
….What puzzles me is why he is also suing the magazine which carried Vinod Mehta’s interview. There a reporter and editor did their job fairly and accurately. The reporter Hartosh Singh Bal doesn’t egg Mehta on, he is balanced and questions whether it’s fair to say what he does.
Also, quite funnily, Gupta sent his legal notice in the same week his newspaper lectured parliamentarians on being more tolerant about what was written and drawn about them.
I think Gupta was hurt by the collective accusation against him and his paper and reacted angrily to Mehta’s comments, which I accept were unfair and extreme.
I hope Gupta takes no further action on the notice and does what he excels at: editing India’s only reporter-run newspaper.
Read the full column: ‘Why Shekhar Gupta is right to be angry, but wrong to sue’ in Firstpost
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