Court Show Cause Notice to Reuters’ Journalist

By Impact Desk | Published: November 25, 2023 03:57 PM2023-11-25T15:57:58+5:302023-11-25T16:02:47+5:30

A city Court on November 16 issued a show cause notice to Reuters’ journalist, Raphael Satter, asking him to ...

Court Show Cause Notice to Reuters’ Journalist | Court Show Cause Notice to Reuters’ Journalist

Court Show Cause Notice to Reuters’ Journalist

A city Court on November 16 issued a show cause notice to Reuters’ journalist, Raphael Satter, asking him to appear before the court of law in person by November 30 to explain why he violated its order restraining him from publishing defamatory stories about an Indian ed-tech company. The Additional District Judge of the Rohini court in north-west Delhi had delivered the restraining order on December 1, 2022, in the context of Appin Association of Training Center (the plaintiff) after its legal team accused Reuters' journalists (the defendants) of carrying out an agenda against its client. 

However,  Satter, along with Zeba Siddiqui and Christopher Bing of Reuters, published an article around Nov 17, detailing and mapping the Plaintiff, an ed-tech company founded almost two decades ago, in 2004, and which shut down its operations in 2013, as per records. The lawyers for the plaintiff, when contacted for comment, argue that the Reuters article emphasizes on a Norman Shark report, titled, “Operation Hangover”, published in 2013, which itself clarified the limited probability of Appin’s involvement. Meanwhile, two reports by Trend Micro and Blackberry in 2019 concluded that it was Phronesis, a Gurgaon-based cyber intelligence firm behind the cyber breaches. 


The lawyers also said that the report is built on opaque interviews with former students of Appin, who were asked strange questions and forced to reveal information that they didn't have. The other people  such as Sumit Gupta has been convicted by FBI and Peter Hargitay has been arrested in the past have been quoted in the article. The lawyers of Mr Rajat added, "we gave undeniable evidence that Rajat Khare submitted letters of resignation to Appin and separated from the company in December 2012. Post his operational disengagement, it took some time to exit as shareholder due to decisions linked to investor buyout, property transfers, debt obligations and other related obligatory matters. But the journalists refused to believe and demanded that we “provide evidence” for what they disparagingly called Khare’s “claim.” A list of email and WhatsApp exchanges were also used to charge Appin that could not be verified. The lawyer pointed out that neither the plaintiff or any related party has ever received a notice or been charged under any statute or legal proceedings globally. The groundwork for the story began early 2022, according to a former student working as a software developer in Delhi-NCR, who was one of the first persons contacted by the Reuters journalists. “After registering themselves as recruiters on, an Indian job portal, the journalists tracked and spoke with a number of ex-students, asking them uncomfortable questions related to Appin and using coercive tactics. Jobs were offered in exchange for information.” He added that the Association informed them that their lawyers flagged the issue with Christopher Lee, Reuters’ legal head, but he showed little interest. When contacted, Vinay Pandey, president of Appin Association of Training Centers, expressed anger at the Reuters report. “The report is a blatant disregard of a court order that restrained them from writing unsubstantiated stories. Appin was a training business, but after Rajat Khare’s resignation in year 2012-13, we weren’t sure how the training business and employment of thousands of trainers, counsellors, managers would survive. We decided to form an informal association to help individual training centres across India manage their business. "To begin with, the article is misrepresented in its first line – Appin was founded by Rajat Khare, Tarun Wig and few other school friends. Anuj Khare joined several years later. The journalist should have been more responsible and cross checked on facts.” Most of the documents the article refers to were created for training purposes only, he informed. “For example, one specific presentation on blackberry hacking was a corporate training document designed to train corporates planning to switch to blackberry. But it was taken out of context." "Another document on cyber warfare was a simulation training done for Defence client. Some of the documents were intended to prepare students for interview for job of a cyber investigator with the government.” On being questioned on the evidence that Reuters published in the form of invoices, emails and chats, Vinay said: “The amount and nature of invoice clearly indicates that it was either a website security audit or a web server rental invoice, both of which employed association’s students to help them gain work experience."An email was sent to the journalists and the legal dept at reuters for reaction. Whether it is Satter who appears before the court or his representative  remains to be seen.

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