Bloggers across India have gone into a tizzy over reports that they could be sued over bad reviews for restaurants.
A Pune Mirror report quoted Hospitality Industry of India Chairperson Sanee Awsarmmel as saying: “Legal action would be taken for those defaming restaurants.”
Times of Food reached out to Awsarmmel, who explained the matter at length over the phone.
Among the things he said are the fact that even bloggers’ associations are under the scanner for their legitimacy or lack thereof.
Awsarmmel’s take on bloggers who give bad reviews:
1. Awsarmmel explained that the scanner is currently on those bloggers who have just begun writing, and demand free food and beverages in return for giving good reviews on social media platforms.
2. He said the action was being taken under the aegis of the National Union of Hospitality Industry of India (NUVHII). Awsarmmel is chairperson of this organisation as well.
3. It may be noted that NUVHII is associated with the Republican Party of India.
4. Awsarmmel explained that no action would be taken against those qualified enough to understand food and the hospitality business.
5. This means people who have been academically trained to make or understand food and the hospitality business will not face action.
6. This also means people with industry experience and blog or vlog posts over a certain number — which indicates experience — would not be sued.
7. Awsarmmel said action would also not be taken against paying customers who leave bad reviews based on the kind of food they have eaten.
8. He said, however, that if bloggers find an eatery wanting in any respect, they should first contact the local office of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
9. He said self-proclaimed bloggers are currently under the scanner of NUVHII if they leave negative reviews for unscrupulous reasons.
10. Awsarmmel said the credentials of not just bloggers but also geography-based bloggers’ associations are under scanner over their claims of legitimacy and authenticity, or lack thereof.