The Delhi High Court has clearly stated that it expects fair reportage and neutrality from the media and has asked certain news channels to ensure that no defamatory content is broadcast in regards to Bollywood and members of the film fraternity. Four leading Bollywood industry associations and 34 producers had filed a suit at the Delhi High Court against Republic TV, Arnab Goswami, Times Now, Pradeep Bhandari, Rahul Shivshankar, and Navika Kumar.
In a strong statement, the court said that people “are very scared of the fourth estate” and asked the news channels to file written statements in response to the aforementioned suit.
“We used to find Doordarshan very stale. I wish Doordarshan comes back. They had some lovely broadcasters then,” said Justice Rajiv Shakdher during the hearing and also slammed Republic TV and Times Now for publishing “irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks” against members of the Hindi film industry.
“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 told the lawyer representing Times Now.
“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?” it also observed.
This comes in the wake of the highly publicised Sushant Singh Rajput case which has dominated the primetime hours at news channels. Insinuations, rumours, and wildly inappropriate statements have run amok.
″Entertainment industry in our country which provides direct employment every day to 5 lakh people and indirect employment to 5 million people. At a time when the financial situation is in a depressing state, and employment is at the worst level, in order to divert attention of the people, we are being used to be flogged by the social media and the government’s non support,” Rajya Sabha MP and actor Jaya Bachchan had made a speech in Parliament criticising the vilification of celebrities of Bollywood earlier.