Why blogs are angry at Barkha Dutt?

Published: Feb 03, 2009, 18:31 IST | B F Firos |

Why blogs are angry on Burka Dutt?

Call it a war between a Goliath and many Davids! Blogs are up in arms against NDTV's Barkha Dutt after the TV channel sued a blogger who attacked her coverage of Mumbai terror attacks.


The blogger, Chyetanya Kunte, in his post named Shoddy Journalism, had come down heavily on Barkha Dutt for "breaking every rule of ethical journalism in reporting the Mumbai mayhem."


He had also accused Dutt of "giving away locations in her broadcasts, thus causing Indian casualties" during the Kargil war.


NDTV soon issued a legal notice for defamation to the blogger, forcing him tender an `unconditional apology' and remove the post.


'Read at your risk'

The law suit has angered bloggers who are rallying behind Kunte, while condemning the 'arrogance' of NDTV. Ironically, NDTV's action seemed to have backfired with lots of bloggers spewing venom on the TV channel and Dutt! 

Though the blogger has deleted the post, other bloggers are reproducing the controversial post.

Here's a blogger who reproduces the post with this note: "The blogger himself has retracted the post and he is not responsible for my reproduction here. Read at your risk. Barkha might sue you!"

"The incidence is startling. Not only because it has exposed the malevolent side of the imposing face of NDTV, but also because the incident has exposed how a prime television media house and its famed Managing Editor can easily become prickly about venial criticism. It is similarly startling to observe how arrogant a television news channel can be when confronted with uncomfortable questions from its very own audience.," says this blogger in this post named The Megalomania of Barkha Dutt.


"It looks more odd when the same NDTV adopts the role of conscience-keeper and become instrumental in arousing public anger against the government and politicians, invites stupid guests in serious looking talk-shows to deliver stupid lectures on matters of public concern, interviews hapless relatives of the victims to make 'story' out of their mental anguish," says the blogger. 


'Why pick on a small fray?'


"I cannot believe that a senior journalist like Barkha Dutt had to pick on a small fry like Kunte! Whether the media likes it or not, I think the media coverage of the 26/11 attack was shoddy and appalling and have said so in public, on Television. Grow up guys...learn from your mistakes and move on. Don't stop the reality check," says a comment in The Hoot.


This blogger says threatening a blogger with legal action and forcing him to put up an apology is the "worst PR tactic possible." "Bloggers are famously defensive of free speech, and legal threats have a way of making bloggers into martyrs and rallying the blogosphere in their support."


Suing viewers is not "good management. Nor is it good for freedom of speech - something you might find useful yourselves in the future," says Paul Bradshaw.


"What would happen if Kunte would ignore this notice and ask BD and NDTV to go take a walk?," asks this blogger.


"So, someone calls you an idiot and you go ahead and serve them a legal notice even though you routinely insult people and hide behind the facade of being in the media" says this blogger.


However, not everyone is supportive of the blogger. Here's this blogger who doesn't "agree with Kunte, particularly his calling Dutt an idiot."


Cyber law expert Naavi says we should discuss as to whether the post "amounted to "Defamation" and there were reasonable grounds for Barkha to take offence."


He is wondering why do the media shy away from covering the Barkha vs blogger fight. 

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