Soham Sen | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd., (Times Group) has served a legal notice on ThePrint for a report that claimed transmission of Covid-19 through newspapers and currency notes was theoretically possible, although it was most unlikely.

The report, titled ‘Transmission of coronavirus through newspapers, currency possible but unlikely: Experts’, was published on 23 March. It quoted experts who said there was a possibility of the virus reaching homes through paper products, including newspapers and currency notes. However, these experts also said among all the scenarios through which the virus can spread, transmission through newspapers is the least probable.

Echoing the report, the International News Media Association has also acknowledged research that says “it may be possible” for a person to get Covid-19 by touching surfaces with the virus on it. But it assures there has been no such reported incident and that such surfaces do carry “lowest potency for the shortest period of time”.

The Times Group’s legal notice, however, demands that the report be pulled down from ThePrint website as well as social media platforms, claiming it “disparages newspapers and their operations with malicious intention”.

It also threatens civil or criminal proceedings if the demands are not complied with.

Times Group’s notice

The Times Group’s notice says the claims made in the report are “absolutely without basis and without appropriate findings by any health or statutory authority”.

It says ThePrint, through a “doctored” view of the situation, has acted with knowledge “to make wrongful gains and to cause unjustifiable loss to others”.

The Times Group has also taken objection to the fact that it wasn’t approached for its views before the article was put out.

The notice also calls the publication of the report an “unfair trade practice”. “You are a competitor to us and all newspaper organisations, and your actions are anti-competitive in nature. At the time of abundant misinformation and cluttered internet space, you have tried to hurt your true competitors in an exercise of unfair trade practice to hurt your competition under a deep conspiracy, for which you are jointly and severally liable.”

It quotes the World Health Organization (WHO) and America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who have claimed the risk of contracting Covid-19 from newspapers is very low. This, the notice says, counters the claims made in ThePrint report published to “alter the perception of readers and make them stop newspaper subscriptions and deliveries”.

Quoting scientists, ThePrint report, however, had said exactly what WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed — that while infection is theoretically possible, its probability is very low.

ThePrint’s response

Our report is a health and science-focused piece on how this new virus, about which so little is known around the world, behaves on paper and if it transmits through paper. The report quotes experts and studies that say while in theory the coronavirus can survive and be transmitted through paper products, it is most unlikely. If anything, the report is reassuring in anxious times.

The report is important and necessary considering the mysterious nature of the coronavirus and the largescale fears and misconceptions about it among people. It is a very important reader service.

The report is also fair and accurate. ThePrint stands by it. We are also flattered that the venerable Times Group sees ThePrint, not three yet, as a “true competitor”.

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12 Comments Share Your Views

12 COMMENTS

  1. In a time where contradictory views are emerging about probability of transmission of corona virus through newspaper and where nobody claims absolute authenticity based on any scientific findings, I would prefer to play safe and do not read newspaper till a unanimous advisory emerges. Till then I will be content with TV news and news on other electronic media. Play safe – be safe.

  2. China disinfected their currency notes because of the simple fact that the virus can squat on paper. Fight it out with them – it only exposes their lack of knowledge!!
    Let me know if you need a lawyer – no charges!!

  3. Most of those who are in Web news business are from print media. So it is always good to publish reports with disclaimer. As every thing directly or indirectly has a human hand touch. Yes Newspaper owners could have taken precaution at point of distribution. If newspaper are vulnerable what about paper covers which are now widely used in super market etc to end plastic menace. Then what happens to school textbooks which would get introduced during new academic session in few months. Print and paper should Co exist. Both exist for common good

  4. The Jains will do anything for money. Killing the opposition is just one of the
    terrible things they have done over the decades especially in the South. Shame
    on them. BTW the Khaleej Times has begun delivering its edition in plastic bags.

  5. Very unlikely, but news papers are always managed by the multiple hands, distributors to vendors till to my doorstep,remains vulnerable for it’s transmission.

  6. If Times of India is willing to sue you, that means they are insecure and don’t want to lose out on the money from daily circular. I believe if your report is true to medical standards, you can brave this legal storm. Remember the Times group are a big media mafia and they are well known to have deep pockets.

  7. A few days ago I heard a doctor in the US on TV saying paper products, such as paper cups, paper plates, etc. can carry coronavirus for 24 hours. Now, a newspaper is also a paper product, and therefore it can also carry the virus.

  8. Yes. Good. We also stand by you & your report. They are hiding the fact that the almost all the news paper boys who are mostly stays far off suburbs & twin city’s has ran away to their respective places, even the Distributors. Data s are available with TOI as for as Mumbai concerned. I’m an avid reader of TOI. But I do support your article which was mentioned as a matter of fact. But, I’m not getting this TOI for the former reason. Unlike the currencies, we all know & seen how the News Paper bundles are handled & which passes through various areas before reaching us.

    If people are cautious it is for genuine reasons. Unlike TOI, The Print is not driven by the Marketing dominated guys & never adopt the Marketing Gimmick like TOI, Where a Marketing Guy has a final word, who is dictating the TOI not Editor or Editorial Team other wise like The Indian Express they would have kept quiet & not raised such an baseless allegation, as such almost all print media is got affected.
    But this is not the right time or place for legal notice or action where you will loose public sympathy, they understood this & kept quite when all the industries is suffering their’s also, are waiting to complain through News Papers forum/Association.

    Good plz wear the Boxing Gloves Shekher Ji, Let’s fight it out. On a lighter note, hope you have not instilled any moles over there to misguide the TOI by giving such advise so that you will catch more Eye Balls, Vineet may realize his mistake by now. I’m sure his advisers must have earful with all kind of slang languages showered on them by Vineet. Not to surprise a few of them might have kicked out.

    This is what we say in Kannada Language that ” THALAKKE KAI HAKI THALAE MAELE ELLAKONDA” Plz don’t worry this is not slang though I have a few, Check with Narayan Sir, are any Bangalore Based Kannada Guy.

    Its a Time for The Print to enjoy the Adulation & not to forget thank Vineet ji for expanding your readership, without you spending a paise forget about a rupee.
    Best Regards
    Nagesh Rao

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