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Odishatv Bureau

Mumbai: In a shockingly blatant move against the Republic Media Network, Mumbai Police has filed an FIR against the entire editorial team of the network, revealed Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami. All 1000 employees of the network have been booked by the Mumbai Police, including top editors of the Network on charges of defamation and inciting "disaffection" against the Police Department.

The Mumbai police has booked the case for a serious non-bailable offence for incitement to disaffection among members of the Police Force and defaming Mumbai Police - under sections 500 and 34 of IPC.

The NM Joshi Marg Police Station has lodged the FIR based on a complaint by Police Sub-Inspector Shashikant Pawar of Special Branch-1, officials said.

The accused Republic TV channel staffers named in the FIR are Executive Editor Niranjan Narayanswamy, Deputy News Editors Sagarika Mitra and Shawan Sen, Anchor/Senior Associate Editor Shivani Gupta, Deputy Editor Shawan Sen, other editorial staff and the newsroom in-charge.

The FIR has involved various sections of Indian Penal Code and Police Act, 1922.

Related Story: TRP Scam Case: SC Asks Republic Media Group To Approach Bombay High Court

Reacting to the development, the Republic TV termed it as "shocking", "witch-hunt" and "a shocking assault on media rights" by the Mumbai Police.

Complainant Pawar said that the channel and its staffers aired certain reports on Thursday (October 22) which, among other things, sought to deliberately defame the Mumbai Police, and Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.

The report in question pertains to one headlined "Revolt Against Param Bir? Senior Officers Part of Probe Give Details" which was monitored by the complainant Pawar on Thursday evening.

The Republic TV report claimed that officers of Mumbai Police were on the verge of rebelling against the Commissioner of Police, citing sources contending that officers were disregarding his orders, which ostensibly spoiled the image of the city police force, it said.

Some of the statements aired by the channel in its report, which are cited in the FIR include: "Republic has exclusive information that there is rebellion against the top cop within the Mumbai police, now growing", "There is now a rebellion of swords brewing from his subordinates", "Param Bir Singh is hell-bent on single-handedly tarnishing the image of Mumbai Police".

Arnab Goswami Can Use Tagline 'NATION WANTS TO KNOW' As Part Of Speech: HC

The Delhi High Court Friday said Republic TV's editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami can use the tagline NATION WANTS TO KNOW' as part of his speech or presentation.

The high court noted in its order that Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd, which has filed a suit against Goswami or ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which owns Republic TV, has submitted that the journalist is free to use the same as part of his speech/presentation of any news channel.

However, if Goswami or ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd choose to use NATION WANTS TO KNOW' as a trade mark regarding any of their goods/ services, they will have to maintain accounts for such usage and the accounts shall be filed in court regularly, it said.

Regarding the tagline NATION WANTS TO KNOW, no interim order is passed at this stage in favour of the plaintiff (Bennett Coleman). As submitted by the learned counsel for the plaintiff, defendant No. 2 (Goswami) is free to use the same as part of his speech/presentation of any news channel, etc, Justice Jayant Nath said.

Meanwhile, the court allowed an interim application of Bennett Coleman group and passed an interim injunction in its favour and against the defendants retraining them from using the trademark NEWSHOUR' or any other mark which is deceptively similar to the trade mark NEWSHOUR' of the Bennett Coleman.

The plaintiff has filed the suit seeking to restrain Goswami or ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd from using the trademark or title or tagline NEWSHOUR' and NATION WANTS TO KNOW' as it infringes its registered mark.

The plaintiff said Times Now' is a news channel operated by the plaintiff having several segments of programmes, one of which was launched in 2006 titled THE NEWSHOUR' pertained to discussions, panel discussions and debates on current topics.

It said Goswami, who was earlier associated with Times Now and resigned in 2016, launched his channel Republic TV' and website www.republicworld.com and they also filed trade mark applications for registration of the mark NATION WANTS TO KNOW', ARNAB GOSWAMI NEWSHOUR' and GOSWAMI NEWSHOUR SUNDAY' claiming proprietary rights.

The journalist told the high court that viewers of the two news channels are well informed, literate and can never associate or confuse between the shows or programmes aired on the respective news channels.

He claimed that the Bennett Coleman's animosity with the Republic TV is well known and publicised and hence, there is no question of any passing off in such circumstances and alleged that the proceedings have been initiated in the form of vendetta litigation and merely in a purported attempt to harass and arm-twist the defendants.

Also Read: TRP Scam: Republic TV CEO, Others Quizzed By Mumbai Police

The high court said it was of the opinion that it is only after evidence has been led that it can be ascertained as to whether the plaintiff was using the aforesaid mark as a trade mark or it was merely being used as a form of speech in the course of conducting the news channel or in the course of carrying on interviews/presentations by defendant No. 2 (Goswami). These are aspects on which, prima facie, no view can be made at this stage based on the documents placed on record, namely, screen shots of various sites of Twitter, Facebook, etc.

(With Agency Inputs)

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