In the lawsuit filed by the leading 38 Bollywood filmmakers in the High Court of Delhi against “irresponsible reporting by certain media houses” nearly after a month of filing such lawsuit, the court told two channels – REPUBLIC TV & TIMES NOW that “no defamatory content” should be displayed on their channels or uploaded on social media.
The suit was filed against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami and Pradeep Bhandari of the channel; & Times Now & its top faces Rahul Shivshankar & Navika Kumar, amid the fallout of the Sushant Singh Rajput Case which is investigated by CBI, NCB and ED.
“Media can’t run a parallel trial. You’re a broadcaster… show news. There is less news & more opinion,” stressing the“things are being pre-judged”the court told the channels today.
The Court recalled the circumstances under which British Royal Princess Diana died in 1997.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher said that “Bollywood celebrities are entitled to privacy. Look what happened in the case of Princess Diana… she died because she was being chased by the media. You can’t just go on like this. The courts are the last ones to want to regulate”.
“Even cuss words are being used during live debates. Nobody is stopping from reporting but language & the manner has to be right,” the Court added.
The lawyer representing Times Now asked for clarity: “How do you define defamation here?” to ensure that no defamatory content is uploaded on social media platforms or displayed on their channels.
Judge Shakdher told the Times Now lawyer, “You represent the fourth pillar (of democracy), & people are scared about the condition of fourth estate in this country,”
“We expect fair reportage but sadly that is not happening. Not just in India but across the world. We used to find Doordarshan stale but now I wish it comes back. The black n white Doordarshan was so much better”, judge added. The court said that “consistent misreporting even affects trained and educated minds,” the court added.
The Court has sought written response in two weeks in the case, & recorded the assurances by the channels to follow the Cable TV Act & Rules, & the Programme Code.
While referring the Arnab Goswami arrest last week In Mumbai, Lawyer Malvika Trivedi, representing Republic TV, told the Court “We can’t file a reply in two weeks because my client is in judicial custody.” On this the judge said, “It’s a big company. I am sure that there are other people.”
The producers had said earlier, the channels used highly derogatory words & expressions for Bollywood, listing terms like “dirt”, “filth”, “scum” & “druggies” used over the past few months.
While the producers wanted the court to stop reportage that violates the law and wanted channels to withdraw, recall and take down all the defamatory content published by them against the Bollywood.
Rahul Shivshankar, Times Now Editor-in-Chief, said earlier cases against his channel’s journalists were “bad precedent”.
The court has issued notice and listed the matter for further hearing on December 14. The bench has also noted that the program code and cable TV rules will be followed.
Some of the film industry’s biggest names came together in the unprecedented legal action against the media houses.