Sunday, January 28, 2007

We will sue all critics : Reader's editor

When criticism loses its sting

Full postal address — which we ask for as a sensible rule, partly for legal reasons and partly to know the geographical spread of those who communicate...

Insisting on full postal address never made much sense to me. But I was surprised to read that it is required for legal reasons. Legal? Are you kidding me? Mercifully, the Reader's editor clarifies.

There is yet another category that indulges in not professional but personal abuse (I am not the target in these), using words like "mad dog," "stooping to accommodate thugs and manipulating and exploiting Indians," and so on. These writers, assuming the names and addresses are genuine, are obviously not aware that they lay themselves open to a charge of defamation and ensuing legal proceedings. Those who use false names and addresses perhaps do not know that law enforcers have ways of finding out the identity of the offenders.

Any statement that exposes a person to contempt, hatred or ridicule, or tends to injure him or her in the profession or trade, is defamatory under the law. Communication to a third party other than the person defamed is held to be publication and can be a cause of legal action. An attack on the moral character or attribution of disgraceful conduct can be defamation.

This is mild criticism when compared to the hate and venom spewed by The Anti-hindu on Hindus and BJP, for example. But in the megalomaniac world of CBCNN, criticism is treated with utter contempt. The Reader's editor goes to the extent of threatening readers with legal action for criticising the newspaper.

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