Alibaba, Jack Ma summoned by court on complaint of fake news, censoring content ‘unfavourable’ to China

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Published: July 26, 2020 1:13 PM

Pushpandra Singh Parmar, a former employee at UC Web (owned by Alibaba) in a court filing of over 200 pages on July 20, alleged that the company had wrongfully terminated his employment after he objected to what he saw as fake news and censorship of content.

The court has summoned Alibaba, Jack Ma, and around 12 individuals or company units to appear in court or through a lawyer on July 29. (Reuters)

Nearly a month after the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, UC Browser, Club Factory, WeChat, Shareit, etc., a district court in Gurugram has summoned Alibaba and its founder Jack Ma. According to a Reuters report, Pushpandra Singh Parmar — a former employee at UC Web (owned by Alibaba) in a court filing of over 200 pages on July 20 alleged that the company had wrongfully terminated his employment after he objected to what he saw as fake news and censorship of content. Parmar said that the company used to censor content that appeared ‘unfavourable’ to China while its now banned apps UC Browser and UC News showed news “to cause social and political turmoil”.

Following the complaint, the court’s civil judge Sonia Sheokand, has summoned Alibaba, Jack Ma, and around 12 individuals or company units to appear in court or through a lawyer on July 29, according to the media report citing court documents. The judge also asked for written responses from the company and executives within 30 days. UC India has been “unwavering in its commitment to the India market and the welfare of its local employees, and its policies are in compliance with local laws. We are unable to comment on ongoing litigation,” according to the company statement.

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Parmar worked as an associate director at UC Web in Gurugram till October 2017 and is seeking $268,000 in damages. He referred queries by Reuters to his lawyer, Atul Ahlawat, however, he declined to comment calling it a sub judiced matter. Parmar has included clippings of few posts on UC News that he claimed were fake. For instance, “2,000-rupee notes to be banned from midnight today,” read one post from 2017. “Just now: War broke out between India and Pakistan” was the headline of another post from 2018 that included a description of firing across the disputed border of the two nations.

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