Hi, everyone,Going back to Keya’s e-mail, and in case any other journalist is in need of legal advice or representation, a good place to contact is the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MDLI). The London-based MDLI offers help to journalists, bloggers, and independent media under legal threat, and also provides funding to organizations for legal assistance or litigation activities that safeguard media freedom.You can find more information on their website, and also contact them by e-mail: [log in to unmask].Also, at GIJN we’ve compiled two lists of different organizations that provide emergency support to journalists in danger and legal defense for journalists.Best regards,Gabriela./On Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 3:05 PM, Keya Acharya <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Dear journalist colleagues,
I have been served a legal notice for defamation demanding Rs. 100 crores ( approximately USD16.4m or Euro12.4 m) by Mr. Ramakrishna Karuturi, the founder and managing director of Karuturi Global Limited (KGL), for an article I wrote for Inter Press Service (IPS) on the legal, financial, tax, labour and land problems of KGL in Kenya and Ethiopia. The article discusses the impact these developments have had on the Indian rose production industry in India and Africa. A copy of the article is attached.
KGL trades on the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange. In Ethiopia, KGL was leased over 300,000 hectares of land, twice the size of Delhi. In 2007-2008, it became the world’s largest rose producer with revenues in the region of USD 100 million. However, KGL was soon embroiled in collapsing farms, debt, retrenchment, labour violence, allegations of sexual abuse, and more. In India, KGL was censured and fined by SEBI for violating insider trading rules.
Every claim in my article is true: I am attaching a preliminary index, accompanied with corresponding links, of previously published articles to support my story. I will be happy to send you copies of legal documents pertaining to KGL if you want.
However, Mr. Ramakrishna Karuturi has now accused me of malicious intent, collusion, and libel. A copy of the notice is also attached.
I am writing this to bring to the media’s attention this blatant attempt at intimidating journalists. Cases such as these, as you know, are called SLAPPs (strategic lawsuits against public participation), being increasingly used in India by large corporations to threaten the media into silence. My particular case is not just to intimidate me, but to silence all further reports on the man and his misdoings in Africa.
I will be going to the Press Council of India; and, the Forum of Environmental Journalists in India (FEJI), which I head, is currently preparing a memorandum to be presented to India’s Information & Broadcasting Minister, Mr. Prakash Javadekar, protesting this harassment of journalists; and further perhaps to the Union Law Minister protesting the misuse of libel laws.
I am heartened at the support I am already receiving from the journalist and media fraternity, both in India and in Ethiopia and Kenya. As a fellow-journalist writing sincerely and truthfully on development issues for the last two decades in India, I am hoping you will extend me your support as well.
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