Dear Vidyut, I am writing to you to seek your help in bringing the Free Press Journal to justice. On Valentine’s Day this year, the Free Press Journal published a story written by Swati Jha, which I have attached with this email. As you can see, I have been quoted in this story in my professional capacity. Now what is the problem with this story, you ask? Well, the reporter never contacted me for any such story. The whole quote, along with all the stats are completely made up. What’s more, the other helpline which has been quoted in the story – Aasra, has also said that the reporter never called him up for the story. The three case studies as it stands, are absolutely fake. I have written to the Editorial board and went through the entire hierarchy going from the DGM – Mr. TGP Krishnan, the city editor Mr. Anil Singh, right to the Editor-in-Chief Mr. Shailender Dhawan. The paper was initially apologetic and cooperative. They took down the story from the website and as you can see now the page throws a 404 http://freepressjournal.in/helplines-flooded-with-desperate-calls-before-v-day/ After relentless pressure from my end, and after you wrote about this, the journalist personally wrote to me apologizing for her story and even admitting that she has no proof for her story! We said that since our organization had been quoted publicly, a private takedown of the story and an email apology shall not suffice. Despite repeated assurances, the editor-in-chief today has refused to print a retraction saying that we have not provided clinching proof that the story was fake. He essentially says that its our word against his reporter and if we question their journalistic ethics, they will question our ethics saying that we dont respect client confidentiality and freely share the information with the media. He has told me ‘Don’t waste my time’ and that ‘I should pursue the matter in any way I deem fit’. Some more facts in conjunction to this case: 1) The reporter did not have my personal number 2) She thought my name was Prashant as opposed to Paras 3) She has no call-log or audio transcript of the conversation 4) She has no proof to establish she spoke to ANY of the people mentioned in the story While we are contemplating our future course of action, I would appreciate any support/guidance you can offer in fighting this unethical newspaper. ThanksUpdate: The Free Press Journal did publish an apology and retraction on their front page.
Founder at Aam Janata
Vidyut has a keen interest in mass psychology and using it as a lens to understand contemporary politics, social inequality and other dynamics of power within the country. She is also into Linux and internet applications and servers and has sees technology as an important area India lacks security in.
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