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Lies, damned lies and statistics: Court orders IRS not to use Oriya daily Dharitri’s masthead

05-September-2005
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Lies, damned lies and statistics: Court orders IRS not to use Oriya daily Dharitri’s masthead

In the three kinds of lies that Benjamin Disraeli enumerated, statistics remains the most talked about lie at least in media circles. And the lie is receiving approvals from courts too.

In a case filed by leading Oriya daily ‘Dharitri’ against MRUC (IRS), the Civil Judge Court (Junior Division), Bhubaneswar has ordered IRS not to use Dharitri’s masthead in its forthcoming IRS 2006 report.

Dharitri had complained that while its circulation was increasing significantly, IRS had been showing in its reports that the readership of the publication was on a declining path. The daily first sought to resolve the matter with the IRS, but to no avail. At last, it had to take legal recourse to address its grievances, claimed the daily.

Taking almost a dig at IRS, the court observed that, “Such survey and report is to be based on true facts and figures and it should not be biased, unfair and arbitrary, so that the readers would not be confused, and goodwill, reputation and popularity of a newspaper would not be affected.”

When contacted, Tathagata Satpathy, Editor, Dharitri said, “Dharitri enjoys maximum trust and faith of the people of Orissa. It is a proven fact based on ground reality. When we are experiencing robust growth in our circulation, it is ridiculous to say that our readership is declining.”

Sathpathy was unstandably quite critical of the readership surveys. “These surveys have lost their confidence. There is an evil nexus at force and favouritism is high in such surveys. It is high time they should do a soul-searching,” he asserted.

With a similar complaint, the Indian Express Group last week took the National Readership Survey (NRS) to court disputing the figures of its Marathi daily, Loksatta. In recent past, financial daily Business Standard also opted out of the NRS.

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