The Bhubaneshwar Court has issued an interim Restraint Order on Media Research Users Council (MRUC), barring it from using the masthead of Pragativadi for any purpose till the suit filed by the Oriya daily against MRUC is settled. It was reported on exchange4media on June 16, 2008, that Oriya daily Pragativadi had filed a legal suit against MRUC for reflecting incorrect readership figures. Pragativadi has also communicated in writing to MRUC that it does not want to subscribe to the survey nor does it want to be included in the survey.
As per the audited circulation figures of Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) for December 2007, Pragativati had overtaken another daily, The Samaj, in 15 districts of Orissa. In the audit report for the period July-December 2007, ABC had stated that the total circulation of Pragativadi in Orissa stood at 182,089, while The Samaj had a total circulation of 203,794.
However, in contrast to the total circulation figures, the MRUC has shown less readership of Pragativadi at just 0.72 lakh, while it has put the readership of The Samaj at 15.2 lakh.
Samahit Bal, Executive Editor and Owner, Pragativadi, had earlier told exchange4media that in response to a letter of MRUC dated November 11, 2007 to Pragativadi seeking details pertaining to recent mastheads of all its publication and latest circulation numbers by edition by state, district and town, the latter, in its letter dated November 27, 2007, had clearly stated that it was neither interested in including its publication in the IRS nor had it authorised MRUC to use its masthead during the survey. Also, reminding that such requests had been made to MRUC in the past, the letter, while asking the Council to consider it as a final notice, warned of legal action in case it failed to comply to its request.
“However, the Council, with utter disregard and contempt, has acted in contrast to the request of the said Oriya daily by bringing out a highly disparaging and misleading report,” a release from Pragativadi had stated.
The Junior Bench of the Bhubaneshwar High Court has put its own remark in the judgement of July 31, 2008, regarding authenticity of the survey as it is only based on the sample sizes. The Court has accepted the fact from Pragativadi that it has a circulation of 182,089 copies, which is certified by the authorised body, Audit Bureau of Circulation.
The Court has issued an interim Restraint Order on MRUC and has barred it from using masthead of Pragativadi for any purpose till the suit is settled.
According to a Pragativadi spokesperson, “Dharitri, another publication from Orissa, had got a Restraint Order against MRUC from the Court. With two major publication houses from Orissa – Dharitri and Pragativadi – abstaining from IRS, the survey happening in Orissa becomes meaningless.”
Oriya daily Pragativadi files legal suit against MRUC over incorrect readership figures