Dainik Bhaskar moves High Court to get stay order on Cobrapost’s sting operation that exposes ugly reality of Indian media


In an unprecedented event, the press freedom of an organisation has been dented by another. The Dainik Bhaskar group on Thursday moved the Delhi High Court to get a stay order restraining Cobrapost from releasing the part 2 of ‘Operation 136’ sting exposing nation’s leading media houses, including Dainik Bhaskar, who spread fake news for monetary gain to polarise voters favoring Hindutva agenda.

The number ‘136’ in the title, Operation 136, refers to India’s poor performance on the world press freedom index.

Apparently, around two dozen of the country’s leading media groups, including Dainik Bhaskar, agreed to Cobrapost‘s undercover reporter’s business proposal offering money for news coverage designed to propagate the agenda of Hindutva.

In the first part of the Operation 136, around 16 major news organisations were exposed for agreeing to propagate paid ‘news’ including  India TVDainik JagranHindi KhabarSAB TVDNA (Daily News and Analysis), Amar Ujala,  Punjab KesariScoopWhoop and Rediff.com.

The media houses whose senior executives or owners have been caught on tape in Operation 136 II are Times of IndiaIndia Today, Hindustan Times, Zee News, Network 18, Star India, ABP News, Dainik Jagaran, Radio One, Red FM, Lokmat, ABN Andhra Jyothy, TV5, Dinamalar, Big FM, K News, India Voice, The New Indian Express, MVTV and Open magazine

Announcing the second part of the sting, Cobrapost had said that the sting would have “some of the biggest names in the Indian media ready to peddle paid news”.

The shameful move of restricting the press freedom has attracted some serious criticism from various journalists and activists including senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, senior journalist Siddharth Vardarajan, activist Dhruv Rathee.

Prashant Bhushan took to twitter to write, “Astounding, absurd&gross violation of freedom of Speech!Judge of Delhi HC grants an ex-parte injunction against Cobrapost restraining it from airing the expose of Media on a petition by Dainik Bhaskar, w/o seeing expose! Ridiculous! At least we know that Bhaskar group was stung!.”

Youth activist Dhruv Rathee questioned Dainik Bhaskar‘s move and wrote, “Dainik Bhaskar went to High Court and blocked Cobrapost from releasing the second part of operation 136 today Truth can’t stay hidden for long, it’ll come out eventually. But now, we already know one corrupt media house, who would have been exposed in the operation.”

Cobrapost has decided that it will not be moving the High Court against the injunction today. Earlier, it had stated that it would try and vacate the injunction before 3 pm today so as to carry on with the sting’s release at the Press Club of India.