On Monday, the Delhi High Court heard a plea filed by four film bodies and 34 Bollywood producers against derogatory reporting by certain media houses. After hearing the matter today, the HC asked news channels to ensure that no defamatory content is broadcast against Bollywood or any of its members. The Court further said that it expects fair reportage and neutrality from the media.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher who was hearing the case asked the news channels to follow the Programme Code provided under the Cable Television Networks Rules. “We expect fair reportage.. sadly, it is happening all over the world, not just in India,” the judge remarks saying that the court hesitated in restraining media reports as it was a constitutional right.
Addressing that people do not want their private lives addressed in public, the court 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?”
The court also addressed the kind of language used on TV news channels. “Now I am hearing that participants in TV debates are using cuss words because they get so excited. If you keep egging them on, that is what happens”.
“If you do not follow self-regulation then what is to be done in a matter like this. You are not following your undertaking to the court. It’s a little disheartening and demoralises everyone,” the High Court said.
The plaintiffs(4 film bodies and 34 Bollywood producers) had sought restrain on Republic TV and Times Now channels from making or publishing “irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory” remarks against the Hindi film industry and its members. The plea also sought to restrain them from conducting media trials of Bollywood personalities and interfering with the right to privacy of persons associated with Bollywood.
The court on Monday adjourned the hearing of the case to December 14.