National

Crackdown on Fake News: Sudarshan TV fined Rs 50 lakh

Kochi: In a major boost to tackling spread of fake news, the Kozhikode sub-court II ordered Sudarshan TV Channel Founder Suresh Chavhanke to pay a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to Malabar Gold – the diamond company run by M.P. Ahammed.

Malabar Gold had filed a defamation case against Sudarshan TV and its founder editor Suresh Chavhanke for airing a morphed visuals and fake news back in 2016.

According to Art of Jewellery, the video showing Pakistan’s Independence Day celebrations organized by a Dubai-based financial services company was morphed by the channel to portray that the event was organized by Malabar Gold at a function held in Chennai.

Alleging that the channel aired the fake news with ulterior motives at the behest of its business rivals to defame Malabar Gold’s reputation and show the patriotism of its promoters in poor light, Malabar Gold and its Director M.P. Ahammed had filed the case against the Channel.

The case was heard on Tuesday during which the judge finding Sudarshan TV and its editor Suresh Chavhanke guilty in a defamation suit, ordered the latter to pay Rs. 50 lakh towards compensation and court-related expenses to the petitioners.

Malabar Group was founded in 1993. The headquarters of Malabar Group is located in Kozhikode and it has branches all over India and in a number of countries. A Dubai court had earlier indicted an employee of the Dubai-based financial service company in a similar case filed by Malabar Gold in a court in the UAE.

On the other hand, Sudarshan TV was launched on January 26, 2007 and is based in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. Suresh Chavhanke – the Chairman, Managing Director and Editor in Chief, is closely associated with Narendra Modi and the Sangh Parivar.

The channel is known for its provocative, anti-Muslim and communal reporting. In April 2017, Suresh Chavhanke was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh poice for inciting communal sentiments. Chavhanke was arrested after a few prominent members of different communities filed a complaint with the police against the channel for airing communally insightful content.

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