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August 2019 - 3:09 pm IST

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Fear the power of fake news: TMC lawmaker on defamation case
Mahua Moitra

Fear the power of fake news: TMC lawmaker on defamation case

Published:17 July 2019

New Delhi | Trinamool Congress lawmaker Mahua Moitra Wednesday said she has immense respect for freedom of speech but fears the "power of fake news".
The comments come days after she filed a defamation case against Zee News and its Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary for alleging that her June 25 speech in Parliament on the 'Seven Signs of Fascism' was plagiarised.
Chaudhary, when contacted, said he would refrain from commenting specifically on the case as it was sub judice, but termed it an attempt to intimidate the press.
In a statement, Moitra said, "I have immense respect for freedom of speech, as guaranteed under the constitution, but I also fear tremendously the power of fake news. It is broadcasts and statements such as that which I have addressed in my criminal complaint for defamation, that taint the beliefs and opinions of the public...
"In this day and age of 24*7 news channels...it is all the more important that individuals who make statements that are false to their knowledge, be brought to book." She further said that she has faith in the judiciary and hopes that her attempt would make some inroads in "addressing fake news".
She also said that as a public figure she was open to criticism and could apologise if she committed a mistake.
Chaudhary said "to be so intolerant" of criticism and dissent is not expected from lawmakers.
"This is part of our relentless pursuit of the truth. Zee News has always stood up for facts and the truth, even when it makes some prominent individuals uncomfortable. It is an attempt to intimidate the press," he said.
The case is listed for hearing on July 20 at Delhi's Patiala House Court.


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