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Preity Zinta sues Mid-Day

Media should be accountable for what it says, says a furious Preity

27th November 2005

After keeping silent for months, actress Preity Zinta has sued Mumbai tabloid Mid-Day for defamation.

When Mid-Day published a transcript of the so-called Salman tape on July 15, which mentioned Preity Zinta's name in a derogatory context, people were shocked. Was Salman's boast about his sexual escapades with Zinta true? What did she have to do with Abu Salem or Aishwarya Rai?

A day before, Hindustan Times had published "exclusive" transcripts of the "Salman tapes". According to the transcript, which was also aired on TV, Salam used abusive language against Aishwarya Rai and boasted of sexual peccadilloes with another actress. However, HT blanked out the name of the actress. This was revealed the next day by Mid-Day, which was Preity Zinta's. Later, forensic lab reports found that the "Salman tape" was fake. What about the reputation of people who were put to shame by HT and Mid-Day?

None of the three parties mentioned in the tapes - Salman Khan, Aishwarya Rai nor Abu Salem - moved court against the authenticity of the tapes. Preity Zinta did.

In a suit filed before a Mumbai magistrate, the actress based her complaint on the article carried by Mid-Day. The court has not admitted the application yet, and will take it up on December 13, said her lawyer Nooruddin Dhilla.

Hindustan Times, which "broke" the tape transcripts quoted Mid-Day executive editor Lajwanti DSouza as saying: "It is something on record (the tapes); we just reproduced it. We feel bad about it, but that is what it was."

Is it enough to feel bad about something after publishing obscene stuff and putting people to shame? Or are we to believe that celebrities have no reputation lose? Is it that piggybacking them for readership and publicity and later "feeling bad" will undo the sin?

"I have nothing against the press, I'm not hostile towards the media, but at the same time, I want it to be accountable for what it says. I'm just demanding that accountability," said Preity.

We think it is a fair argument.


God save the Malayalee

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