OTV files defamation case against AT chief

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Television Limited (OTV) today filed a defamation case against Artha Tatwa group MD Pradeep Sethi for the allegations he had thrown against the channel last week.

In a statement, OTV authorities said, “Odisha Television (OTV) is the oldest private electronic media in the Odia language, having started in 1997. It is also by far the largest, with GRP far higher than the combined GRPs of all other Odia news channels.

“From the beginning it has been committed to the highest ethical standards for media organisations, including a written editorial charter of unbiased, non partisan coverage of news. It also has a code of conduct for its employees, as well as a strict separation between its news and current affairs division and all commercial departments.

“OTV has by far the highest number and amount of advertisements for any comparable electronic broadcaster. It maintains strict ethical standards of dealings with all advertisers on the basis of transparency, professionalism, and standardised commercial terms.

“Recently one of the prime accused in the ongoing chit fund scam investigations who was arrested some months ago, has made a scandalous statement that he “gave” a large sum of money to OTV. Such a claim is odd, considering that it comes so many months after his arrest, but perhaps understandable since OTV had exposed his involvement in the chit fund scam and has continued covering all the subsequent developments without fear or favour.

“This is to clarify that the said organisation did not “give” any money to OTV, but rather paid for advertisements on the same transparent standard terms and conditions applicable to all advertisers. Also, the amount of advertisement was much less than claimed, amounting to a tiny fraction of OTV’s revenue for that period (far less than one percent of total revenue).

“No large broadcaster or publisher can be reasonably expected to verify the antecedents of hundreds or thousands of advertisers, and most big media have received advertisements from entities that have sometimes later turned out to have legal violations. What can and should be expected of media organizations is to maintain transparency in dealings with advertisers and to keep separation between commercial and news/editorial departments.

“OTV takes its reputation very seriously and has filed a criminal defamation suit against the concerned person. OTV will also continue to cover all news without fear, favour, or bias, irrespective of whether it involves any advertiser or not.”