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Delhi High Court Passes An Interim Order Barring News Channels From Broadcasting Defamatory Content

Delhi HC News Channels
On 23rd March, 2021, the Delhi High Court passed an interim order till 25th may directing media houses AGR Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, Bennett Coleman and Co Ltd, and others to ensure that the won’t upload any defamatory content or broadcast it on their news channels relating to Bollywood.

Background:

Since the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, Bollywood has faced a series of allegations directed towards them as a result of the derogatory and defamatory remarks made by certain media houses against them.

4 film bodies and around 34 studios had joined hands and filed a civil suit against media houses before the Delhi High Court to “refrain them from making irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks against Bollywood as a whole and members of Bollywood , and to restrain them from conducting media trials of Bollywood personalities.”

These defamatory and derogatory remarks included allegations of drug abuse, nepotism, debauchery, toxic work culture and many more.

The suit stated that “These news channels (have been) using highly derogatory words such as “dirt", “filth", “scum", “druggies" and expressions such as "all the perfumes of Arabia cannot take away the stench and the stink of this filth and scum of the underbelly of Bollywood." 

So, the suit sought for these news channels to abide strictly by the Programme Code and to take down the defamatory remarks, content published by them against the Bollywood.

Nearly a month after the suit was filed before the Delhi High Court, the court directed 2 news channels namely – ‘Republic India’ and ‘Times Now’ that “no defamatory content" should be displayed on their channels or uploaded on social media. "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, further stressing that "things are being pre-judged.”

This civil suit was primarily filed to restrain the media houses like AGR Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, Bennett Coleman and Co Ltd and other from conducting media trials and interfering with the right to privacy of the persons associated with the Bollywood in doing so.

The suit also sought the media houses to abide by the Programme Code in their content.

Current Scenario:

The plaintiffs stated that they were acquiescent in closing the suit if the media houses agreed upon court’s orders to refrain from posting defamatory and derogatory content on their social media platforms or broadcast such defamatory/derogatory content on their respective news channels.

However, the media houses turned down this proposal and challenged the maintainability of this suit that the plaintiffs in this suits were not defamed by them.

Currently, the Delhi High Court has passed an Interim Order barring the aforementioned news channels from broadcasting defamatory content related to Bollywood personalities as such.


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