TV News Channels Promise to Behave on Air & Social Media
- Delhi HC issues notice and summons to the defendants
- Bollywood production companies have filed a 1,000+ page suit.
- The initial target of the news coverage was Sushant Singh Rajputs previous partner: Rhea Chakraborty
- The target then moved to several women actors: Saira Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor, Deepika Padukone
- Adv Akhil Sibal said that yellow journalistic channels had become mainstream
- Delhi HC notes that the media trial accused people before a FIR was lodged, creating bias
- Delhi HC noted how Princess Diana had died [in a car crash] while being chased by paparazzi
- Counsel for defendant Arnab Goswami asked for time since he is in custody [in unrelated, non-media case]
Prominent Indian TV news channels have undertalen to abide by programmes code and the Cable TV rules in the Delhi High Court where they have been sued by several top list Bollywood production houses.
Following a preliminary hearing in a suit filed by a collective of the production companies (Bollywood Producers Association), the TV news channels have given an undertaking that they will not carry and defamatory content on their TV screens or on their social media channels. The Delhi High Court has issued notice and summonses in the suit.
The producers have also sued Google (YouTube), Twitter and Facebook, social media channels where the news were also carried apart from being aired to TV sets. The videos of the news coverage is sill available on YouTube channels of the media houses.
This update comes after months of criticism of the coverage by some Indian TV news netowrks of the Sushant Singh Rajpur death case. The film star was found dead in his flat earlier this year days after his manager Disha Salian was also found dead as well. Initially, both deaths were described as suicides, but investigations are ongoing and courts are yet to rule on the nature of the deaths.Several TV news stations speculated that neither was a case of suicide, tied it to alleged use of psychoactive substances by some members of the Bollywood industry and alleged foulplay in the deaths.
The news reports percolated to social media, where there was wild speculation connecting members of the film industry with drug distribution networks. A social media user was arrested in this connection when he made allegedly defamatory remarks against ministers of the Maharashtra government including CM Udhhav Thackeray. A sessions court in Maharashtra granted him bail when he repented for it and offered to carry an apology on his social media channels. He said that he had been influenced by Republic Bharat, the channel co-owned and edited by journalist Arnab Goswami, who is currently in custody of the Maharashtra Police in an unrelated case.
Soon the news coverage started to target influential members of the Indian film industry who have sued some of the prominent news networks for their coverage calling it a smear campaign. The list includes Goswamis Republic TV and the Times Groups, Times Now channel. The coverage in Times Now was anchored by prominent news personalities Navika Kumar and the channel editor Rahul Sivshankar.
You can find the coverage of the court proceedings in this thread.
The coverage by legal news outlet Bar and Bench is available here.