Telengana Court orders news portal ‘The Wire’ to remove 14 articles against Bharat Biotech
Pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech filed a defamation lawsuit of Rs. 100 crore against the news portal- The Wire. The online news portal was accused of writing defamatory articles against Bharat Biotech and its Covid vaccine- COVAXIN. The lawsuit is filed before Additional District Judge of Rangareddy Court, Telangana.
Senior Counsel K Vivek Reddy, representing the petitioner Bharat Biotech argued that The Wire has published various articles on its websites with false statements against Bharat Biotech and COVAXIN without having any proper evidence or verified facts. This has damaged the pharmaceutical company’s reputation. Reddy also stated that the vaccines earlier developed by Bharat Biotech for various diseases like Zika Rotavirus, Chikungunya, Tuberculosis, and Typhoid have received global recognition.
“The Wire published several articles making false statements without proper fact check about the regulatory approvals granted to Bharat Biotech. Even after the Government of India had approved the vaccine, articles continued to be published otherwise on The Wire.” Mr. Reddy claimed.
After hearing the case, the court ordered The Wire to take down the 14 defamatory articles within 48 hours and also restricted the portal from publishing any more defamatory articles against Bharat Biotech. The court also considered the fact that Bharat Biotech is the only company that has the authorization to develop vaccines for children aged 15-18 and due to these defamatory articles, people will be hesitant about getting vaccinated.
Siddharth Varadarajan, the Editor of the Wire, expressed his views about ‘The Wire’ not getting a fair chance to demolish the false claims of the petitioner. He tweeted, “So 14 deeply reported Covaxin stories— published over a year—ordered to be taken down by a local court with no notice served on The Wire, no chance given for us to refute whatever false claims Bharat Biotech has made against us! Let me say this — BB’s bullying will not work.”
The next hearing is scheduled on March 16, 2022.
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