Stand up for your rights

Complaint filed against Neethu Chandra & India Today

Posted on: April 1, 2012


On March 3rd 2012 India Today published a filthy article authored by their reporter Neethu Chandra under the title “Dowry harassment: Delhi bride tortured by cruel NRI husband in US”. This was a demonstration of highest levels of yellow journalism; a totally farce story inflated with lies and false allegations. I’m not posting it here and make the entire wordpress stinky. The day after the editor was contacted they removed the article from the site. By that time it got propagated through all the channels and fooled all the readers; apparently, most readers are already awakened and have learned to identify the “bad apples” in the basket. Evidently, these kind of articles that cost less than dirt are putting the publishers themselves in poor light. Formal complaint with Press Council of India has been filed against both Neethu Chandra and India Today. Since the same article got published in DailyMail UK, Neethu Chandra and DailyMail another complaint has also been filed with Press Complaints Council UK. Daily Mail not only removed the article but also published the true story later,  “In-laws deny torture charges“. MSN also reported in similar lines http://news.in.msn.com/exclusives/it/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5900927

I hope this article will give you an insight about how to make complaints against yellow journalism. If something is unclear or you have any questions please post a comment and I will be happy to share the information that I have. It is a very simple process that anyone can follow.

If you find such articles first thing you have to do is to save a copy of it. You may either take a screen-shot, save it to a file , print it to a pdf or paper. This is required when you file formal complaint with Press Council of India. It is also required to contact the editor before we file a formal complaint.

In short what we need for a complaint are

  1. Complaint petition
  2. Copy of the news article
  3. Signed  declaration. (http://presscouncil.nic.in/images/decl.doc)
  4. Copy of the correspondence with editor.

In this case the correspondence with India Today is as given below.

Mail to the India Today Editor

Sub: – Notice as per Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulations, 1979

Dear Sir/Madam

 This is with regard to your news article published under the title “Dowry harassment: Delhi bride tortured by cruel NRI husband in US” at http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/dowry-case-delhi-bride-tortured-by-nri-husband-in-america/1/176291.html on March 3, 2012.

Could you please state that, whether or not those incidents mentioned in the article ever occurred? Do you have any substantial proofs, any investigation reports from government or private agencies, any court order either Indian or American, to support your claim? Have you made any attempt or got a chance to interview the person Kaling mentioned in the article? If yes, kindly state the reasons for not publishing any of his comments? Based on which investigative report or court order did you use the word “cruel NRI husband” in the title?

 Kindly provide the name, postal and email address, contact phone number of the reporter Neetu Chandra as well.

Please furnish relevant materials required to state that you have not breached the recognized ethical canons of journalistic propriety and taste by publishing the aforementioned article. This notice is to comply with the PIC Inquiry Regulations, 1979 and your early reply is very much appreciated within 15days.

Reply from India Today Legal Department

Mail Today will not be able to provide any information as sought by you, in your mail. Please be informed that you don’t have any locus standi to seek such information as mentioned in your mail. The subject matter of the article is a matrimonial dispute, and the same is pending enquiry before the court of Law. Apart from the article pertaining to Criminal Complaint we have also carried the version of Kalind Parashar’s family in our newspaper. We do not entertain any queries from private individuals pertaining to news published in our newspaper and hence we request you to desist from sending, any such mails in future.

The formal Complaint

Reasons why content of the above mentioned article is objectionable within the meaning of Section 14(1) of the Act

1) The article did not give the readers substantial material to support that those incidents covered have ever occurred. It is a cleverly worded, cooked up story to cheat the readers and therefore breached the recognized ethical canons of journalistic propriety and taste.

2) USA is not a lawless land like Afghanistan. The said article did not mention about any police report lodged or order of any legal authority in America, which underscores the fact that the stated offences are highly hypothetical and intended to raise false alarm. I believe, freedom of press does not mean the right to write whatever it likes; and therefore is an abuse of press freedom.

3) The said article does not carry any comments, justifications or whatsoever from the vilified character Dr. Kaling and his family, neither it talks about the attempts of press to contact them; hence the article is not bonafide and fools the readers.

4) The title of the article calls by name ‘cruel NRI husband’ where no court of law on this planet, to date, has declared so. More over this usage is extremely derogatory to the whole NRI community and so it should be considered as a very serious professional misconduct.

5) Notice to comply with Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulations, 1979 was served to the editor of India Today on March 3, 2012 (US – EST) and the said news link got removed from their website, in next few days. The notice was replied with an arrogant response denying all the requested information. This should be considered as acceptance of guilt and tantamount to approving all the 4 arguments mentioned above, beyond reasonable doubt.

I, Prassoon Suryadas, hereby humbly pray before the Press Council of India to consider this petition for inquiry and execute its inherent powers to take the most stringent action against respondent number 1 and 2 so as to uphold, maintain and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in India.

The full version of complaint is available to download from here.

More info :- http://presscouncil.nic.in/complaints.htm

.

17 Responses to "Complaint filed against Neethu Chandra & India Today"

Press Complaints council is asking me to show the exceptional public interest in this in order to go forward. Please sign the petition and show your support

http://www.change.org/petitions/demanding-stringen-action-against-misandrist-neethu-chandra-daily-mail-press-complaints-council-uk-please-take-action

Well done prasoon, Hats off to you

Great praso0n , as usual!!

Shameful. Propaganda masquerading as journalism.

Perfect to nail down these kind of YELLOW jornalist who publish these matrimonial issues as a NEWS. BTW is there any public intrest in these kind of news? These kind of journalists should be barred by PCI and legal actions should be inititated. Where is the authenticity of TOI news now? Poor journalism and poor minded people.

Absolutely Rocking work Prassoon sir.

Heartiest congratulations on the victory against Yellow Journalism

Thanks… Real victory comes only if we get a favorable verdict.🙂

Excellent job.. Prassoon… Hats off to you…for your work.

[…] https://prassoon.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/complaint-filed-against-neethu-chandra-india-today/ On March 3rd 2012 India Today published a filthy article authored by their reporter Neethu Chandra under the title “Dowry harassment: Delhi bride tortured by cruel NRI husband in US”. This was a demonstration of highest levels of yellow journalism; a totally farce story inflated with lies and false allegations. I’m not posting it here and make the entire wordpress stinky. The day after the editor was contacted they removed the article from the site. By that time it got propagated through all the channels and fooled all the readers; apparently, most readers are already awakened and have learned to identify the “bad apples” in the basket. Evidently, these kind of articles that cost less than dirt are putting the publishers themselves in poor light. Formal complaint with Press Council of India has been filed against both Neethu Chandra and India Today. Since the same article got published in DailyMail UK, Neethu Chandra and DailyMail another complaint has also been filed with Press Complaints Council UK. Daily Mail not only removed the article but also published the true story later,  “In-laws deny torture charges“. MSN also reported in similar lines http://news.in.msn.com/exclusives/it/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5900927 […]

Prassoon ji,

Thanks for the information. It is very useful. This kind of yellow journalism is more in local news papers. Journalists generally don’t study about that topic, they just publish them. Sometimes an ordinary blogger, leave the good bloggers, can write articles with good information.

Well said. They also print garbage for money.

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