The Delhi High Court on Monday asked news channels Republic TV and Times Now to ensure that no defamatory content was uploaded on social media platforms or displayed on their channels.
The court was hearing the suit filed by four Hindi film industry associations and 34 leading film producers against the news channels and anchors Arnab Goswami and Pradeep Bhandari of Republic TV and Navika Kumar and Rahul Shivshankar of Times Now.
“Media can’t run a parallel trial. You’re a broadcaster… show news. There is less news and more opinion,” the court told the channels, stressing that “things are being pre-judged”.
“Even cuss words are being used during live debates. Nobody is stopping from reporting but the language and the manner have to be right,” the court said.
The Delhi High Court asked the channels to follow the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995, and comply with the programme code. During the hearing, Justice Rajiv Shakdher asked media houses AGR Outlier Media Pvt Ltd (Republic TV) and Bennett Coleman and Company Ltd (Times Now), to ensure that no defamatory content was uploaded on social media platforms or displayed on their channels.
In their lawsuit, the producers had alleged that the two media channels and their anchors had used “derogatory words” and made maligning remarks about the Hindi film industry, while reporting on actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide and the subsequent Narcotics Control Bureau investigation.
The producers said the news channels used derogatory words such as ‘dirt’, ‘scum’, ‘druggies’, and expressions like, ‘it is Bollywood where the dirt needs to be cleaned’, according to a report by The Indian Express,
The court has sought written responses from the media houses within two weeks.
Refusing advocate Malvika Trivedi’s plea, who sought more time to file Republic TV‘s reply as Goswami was in judicial custody (for a 2018 case of abetment of suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik), Justice Shakdher ruled that “certainly there would be other people in the organisation” to write a reply, reported Live Law.
The next hearing is scheduled for December 14. The court has directed the news channels to take down the content from social media and YouTube.