The leading media conglomerate Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd., also known as the Times Group, has served a legal notice to online publication ThePrint for a report it published claiming the novel coronavirus could be transmitted through newspapers and currency notes but it was most unlikely.
According to The Print, the Times Group has demanded in its legal notice that the online news website takes down the report from its website and social media platforms. The notice said the report “disparages newspapers and their operations with malicious intention”. The media group has said it will initiate civil or criminal proceedings against ThePrint if its demands are not met.
The report, published on March 23 and titled ‘Transmission of coronavirus through newspapers, currency possible but unlikely: Experts’ quotes people who say there was a risk that papers could bring the deadly virus to people's homes but it was "least probable" of all scenarios.
This comes amid a decline in newspaper sales and distribution due to the 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.
In its reply, The Print says: "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 online publication called the report "fair and accurate" and asserted that it stood by the story.
"We are also flattered that the venerable Times Group sees ThePrint, not three yet, as a 'true competitor',” it says.