The Delhi High Court heard the petition filed by four Bollywood associations and 34 producers to seek a restraint of two news channels for running “irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory” news items against Hindi film industry and its members.
Justice Rajiv Shakhdar heard the petition. The plea had also sought to restrain the news channels from conducting “media trials” of Bollywood personalities and interfering with their right to privacy.
The Delhi High Court after observing the plea asked the news channels to ensure that no defamatory content is broadcast against Bollywood or any of its members. The court also said that fair reportage and neutrality is expected from the media.
The court also said people “are very scared of the fourth estate” and asked the news channels to file written statements in response to the suit.
During the hearing, Justice Rajiv Shakdher observed, “We used to find Doordarshan very stale. I wish Doordarshan comes back. They had some lovely broadcasters then..,”
The suit was filed by thirty-eight leading Hindi cinema associations and production houses against Republic TV and Times Now for publishing “irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks” against the film industry and those part of it.
As per the reports Court also asks the channels to “toning down” it has been observed that the media channels were apparently not following the Programme Code. “If you (new channels) do not follow self-regulation, then what is to be done in a matter like this? You are prejudging issues. It is less news and more opinion,” observed the court.
“It is disheartening and demoralizing… I mean it demoralizes everyone. Today it is not hurting us (judiciary)… suppose it is your fraternity tomorrow. Surely, you can investigate but it has to be fair reportage,” the court said while addressing a lawyer representing the news channel.
Court also said, “Surely, these are people who are public personalities so that element of privacy to an extent gets diluted… but please see what happened when the media chased someone like (Princess) Diana. You cannot go on like this. Courts are the last ones who want to interfere…. but what is happening here… is that you do not want to follow the code?”
Commenting on the debates being broadcasted on news channels court said there was “no civility in (their) discourse”. “Now I am hearing participants in debates are using cuss words because they get so excited. If you keep egging them on, that is what happens,” it added.
The court on Monday adjourned the hearing of the case to December 14.