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Big businesses attempt to muzzle critical reporting in India

A young hawker sells roses on Valentine's Day in Mumbai, 14 February 2008
A young hawker sells roses on Valentine's Day in Mumbai, 14 February 2008

REUTERS/Arko Datta (INDIA)

Excerpt from a 7 October 2014 CPJ blog post by Sumit Galhotra/CPJ Asia Program Research Associate

This month Keya Acharya is responding to a nine-page legal notice demanding she pay 1 billion rupees ($16.3 million) over her article on India's rose industry. Her legal troubles are a window on to a pattern of how big businesses are using India's outdated defamation laws to silence criticism of their operations.

Acharya, an environmental journalist, was served the legal notice on August 5 by Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi, founder and managing director of Karuturi Global Limited, a Bangalore-based publicly held cereals, vegetables, and flower exporter. The company accused Acharya of defamation and demanded "compensation" after she published an article for the Inter Press Service (IPS), which explored the company's operations in east Africa and its alleged impact on the Indian rose production industry. After the notice was served, IPS posted a disclaimer in place of the web article that read: "We are suspending the contents of this article so as to ensure their veracity and that of the sources on which it draws and, therefore, request our subscribers not to republish or use it in any way."

Read the full blog post on CPJ's site.

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