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Consistent misreporting even affects trained and educated minds: Delhi HC

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We used to find Doordarshan very stale, but we had some lovely broadcasters then… I was actually thinking black and white and DD was much better… consistent misreporting even affects trained and educated minds: Delhi High Court

New Delhi (ILNS): The Delhi High Court has issued a notice in a plea filed by 38 Bollywood film producers along with there association alleging misreporting and violation of the right to privacy by ‘Republic TV’ and ‘Times Now’ during reportage of Sushant Singh Rajput death case.

The court also directed these two news channels to ensure that no defamatory content against Bollywood personalities are displayed on their channels or uploaded on their social media handles.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher, while hearing the plea through video conferencing, noted that the TV channels get so excited while reporting that they start using cuss words.

The plea has been filed by 38 producers seeking permanent injunctions against Arnab Goswami and Pradeep Bhandari from Republic TV, and Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar from Times Now “from carrying on reportage and publication of material that violates applicable laws.”

Senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the Arnab Goswami reportage used words like “Pakistan Funded”, “Nepotist”, “King Pin of Bollywood”, etc. while referring to Bollywood. Nayar further added that it should be seen how the report started with Sushant Singh Rajput and linked to drug peddlers, ISI and Pakistan.

Nayar alleged that Times Now further moved forward by accessing my WhatsApp chats with Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and released the same in the public domain. He further informed the court that there are 6 grounds in this matter, (i) Defamation, (ii) Breach of Right to Privacy, (iii) Jeopardising Personal Safety, (iv) Injurious falsehood, (v) Breach of Programme Code, (vi) Parallel investigation.

Senior advocate Akhil Sibal appearing for the petitioner submitted that the signal has to come from the court, whereas, the idea is not to attack the fourth pillar.

The bench stated that it is a constitutional right because of which the court hesitates, however, a fair reportage is expected and that too globally.

Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi appearing for the ‘Times Now’ submitted that the parties aggrieved are not before the court, whereas, some third party is here.

Advocate Sajan Poovayya appearing for Twitter, pointed out that some Twitter subsidiaries have been wrongly impleaded. Malvika Trivedi representing Republic channel has sought more time to file a reply on grounds that the client (Arnab Goswami) is in judicial custody. To this the court said: “It is a company, there are other people there.”

The bench pointed out that the NBSA orders are not being followed. The bench asked the counsels that if self-regulation is not being followed, what is the way forward?

We used to find Doordarshan very stale, but we had some lovely broadcasters then… I was actually thinking black and white and DD was much better,” said the court.  The court said that “consistent misreporting even affects trained and educated minds,” the court added.  

The court also directed deletion of YouTube from array of parties. Court was earlier informed that since Google is a party, there is no need for YouTube to be impleaded. Kapil Sibal representing Facebook India stated that FB will abide by any orders of the court. But otherwise, there is no need to implead FB in court, he added.

The court has issued notice and listed the matter for further hearing on December 14. The bench has also noted that the program code and cable TV rules will be followed.

Read Also: NGT imposes a total ban on firecrackers in NCR from midnight of November 9-10

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