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Ensure No Defamatory Content Against Bollywood: Delhi HC To Republic TV, Times Now

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday asked two news channels to ensure that no defamatory content against Bollywood should be broadcast.

The court said that it expects fair reportage and neutrality from the media. It also said that people “are very scared of the fourth estate” and asked the news channels to file written statements responding to the lawsuit filed by 38 leading associations and production houses of Bollywood against Republic TV and Times Now.

“We used to find Doordarshan very stale. I wish Doordarshan comes back. They had some lovely broadcasters then..,” Justice Rajiv Shakdher, who heard the lawsuit filed by the leading Hindi cinema association and production houses against Republic TV and Times Now, was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

“If you (new channels) do not follow self-regulation, then what is to be done in a matter like this? You are prejudging issues. It is less news and more opinion,” the court said.

“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 said while addressing a lawyer representing Times Now.

The court observed that people are “very scared” of the fourth estate, It said that no one wants to reveal private life. “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 commented on the debates which are shown on news channels. It said, there was “no civility in (their) discourse”. “Now I am hearing participants in debates are using cuss words because they get so excited. If you keep egging them on, that is what happens,” it added.

The associations and producers who have approached the court are Film & Television Producers Guild of India (PGI), Cine & TV Artistes’ Association (CINTAA), Indian Film and TV Producers Council (IFTPC), Screenwriters Association (SWA), Aamir Khan Productions, Ad-Labs Films, Ajay Devgn Films, Andolan Films, Anil Kapoor Film and Communication Network, Arbaaz Khan Productions, Ashutosh Gowariker Productions, BSK Network and Entertainment, Cape of Good Films, Clean Slate Filmz, Dharma Productions, Emmay Entertainment & Motion Pictures, Excel Entertainment, Filmkraft Productions, Hope Production, Kabir Khan Films, Luv Films, Macguffin Pictures, Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment, One India Stories, R S Entertainment (Ramesh Sippy Entertainment), Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures, Red Chillies Entertainment, Reel Life Productions, Reliance Big Entertainment, Rohit Shetty Picturez, Roy Kapur Films, Salman Khan Films, Sikhya Entertainment, Sohail Khan Productions, Tiger Baby Digital, Vinod Chopra Films, Vishal Bhardwaj Pictures and Yashraj Films.

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