Delhi High Court to shortly hear suit by Bollywood Production Houses against 'Bollywood drugs mafia' reportage, seeking to curb irresponsible and derogatory remarks against the film industry.

The matter is before Justice Rajiv Shakdher.
The suit singles out @republic's Arnab Goswami and Pradeep Bhandari and @TimesNow's Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar for conducting media trials of Bollywood personalities and interfering with the right to privacy.

@navikakumar @pradip103 @RShivshankar

[Read more]

10 contentions in the 1,069-page suit filed by Bollywood producers against Republic TV, Times Now…
Senior Advocates @KapilSibal, Sajan Poovayya, Arvind Nigam, Rajiv Nayar and Sandeep Sethi among the counsel on screen.

Hearings begins.

Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar: Me and Advocate @SibalAkhil appear for the plaintiffs
Nayar informs court: I am appearing for all the plaintiffs, Mr Akhil Sibal appears with me

Advocate Neela Gokhale appears for plaintiff no.2, she informs Court.
Nayar refers to @republic show hosted by Arnab Goswami where he referred to "a kingpin producer in Bollywood", other references to "Bollywood's rotting cabal" in reports on the #SushantSinghRajput case.

Nayar refers to a September 22 report next
Nayar recounts in Sept 22 report, it was said "clean up and boycott the #bollywood dirt."

Nayar goes on narrating other media reports.

Nayar: Allegation is that we are linked to the drug mafia
Nayar goes on to recount reports where Saira Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor, Deepika Padukone were named in such media reports which said: "we need to boycott all 'druggies'".
Nayar: It does not stop here. Now they proceed as if we have links with Pakistan and ISI.

Your Lordship will see how the reports start with reports on Sushant Singh and move on to links with drug peddlers and Pakistan.
Nayar refers to headline that appeared on @republic that following their reports, that @iamsrk to @karanjohar will now "renounce links with pro-Pak, anti-India Lobby"
Nayar goes on narrating media reports: Now it is alleged as if Shahrukh Khan has links with Pakistan and ISI
Nayar goes on to narrate another report: Now come to page...

Court: So, there are several of these reports.

Nayar: Yes. I just wanted to show that when you start to use this as a means to increase your #TRP, others start following.
Nayar: @TimesNow goes a step further because they access my WhatsApp chats and violate my right to privacy. My WhatsApp chats with the NCB... are accessed by them and put on the public domain.
Nayar refers to how #RheaChakraborty's WhatsApp chats concerning NCB probe were disclosed by @TimesNow

Nayar: This is more dangerous because this is actually the course of investigation.
Nayar: It started with reportage on Sushant Singh Rajput's suicide. Suicide became murder. #Bollywood became criminals, drug peddlers, ISI, Pro Pakistani Jehadis.

Nayar: That is how the course of this course of the entire defamatory campaign- scurrilous, I must say - has changed.

Nayar also refers to reports by @ABPNews and @ZeeNews

Nair: Only media with some responsibility is @IndiaToday. They realised the mistake and said they are making amends

Nayar: We have one channel chasing Deepika Padukone... Chasing is not a difficulty. But when you start saying 'Oh look at her sweat, paseena aa raha hein..."

Nayar comes to prayers: I can understand "fair comment", but can someone say don't restrain me from making irresponsible, defamatory remarks? from carrying out #MediaTrial?

Nayar refers to bail order passed in Vibhor Anand's case, where he had mentioned that he had submitted that he was carried away by #Republic Bharat's reporting on the Disha Salian case

(Read more)…
Nayar: This is to show how public perception is influencing all kinds of people
@SibalAkhil : Courts have traditionally, in the past, expressed hope that about self-regulation, auto-course correction. So they have been circumspect. But the point is it (course correction) is not taking place.
@SibalAkhil also submitted that there is now a disjunct between journalism, which has certain principles associated with journalism, and news media, a certain section of which seems to have abandoned those principles.
@SibalAkhil refers to NBA code which cautions against media making conjectures and speculations in pending cases.

Sibal: These are the standards set by the industry itself.
@SibalAkhil continues reading another NBSA report where it says is not unmindful of public media crusades which become #mediatrial.

Deficiencies in an investigation cannot be a license for media excess destroying an individual's rights, the NBSA had said, Sibal reads further.
@SibalAkhil refers to NBSA order which states that use of words such as "alleged" "purported" etc. in pending cases cannot be overemphasised.
@SibalAkhil: The advice of court is not heeded, tempering is not happening, so something more stringent is required.

(Reference is to how courts have refrained from issuing injunctions with advice for sensitive, restrained, careful media reporting on pending trials)
The case being referred to is Dr. Shashi Tharoor vs Arnab Goswami & Anr:
Sibal: (In pending cases) matters and being dissected, described as evidence - whether it is evidence or not, admissible or not - those are matters for the court!

There are accusations, speculations, who will be called next... all of that is being discussed threadbare.
Sibal: There is a statutory scheme and a programme code under the Cable TV Network Rules by which these channels are bound.
Sibal refers to comments under YouTube videos of media coverage where persons are commenting against #Bollywood.

Sibal: Those are the YouTube videos that we are seeking be taken down immediately.
Nayar says there are 6 grounds in the matter:

1. Defamation
2. Breach of Right to Privacy
3. Jeopardising personal safety
4. Injurious falsehood
5. Breach of Programme Code
6. Parallel investigations contrary to expectations of a fair trial.
Nayar, referring to the sixth ground: "I am damned even before the trial starts."
Court: The only question I have - there are some individuals (who claim to be aggrieved) Why haven't they themselves become plaintiffs?

Nayar: They are members of the association

Court: I understand that. But there is a defamation of a class and defamation of individuals.
Nayar adds: There is no difficulty, we can add a few more individuals (as plaintiffs).

In response to another query, Nayar says: At the moment, we are on injunction only. We reserve the rights to claim damages.
Court remarks that without individuals as plaintiffs it appears to be a case of "Willing to strike, but unwilling to hurt."

Nayar: It takes courage to come this far.

Court: Why? Courtage of being heard?

Nayar: No, I am not saying your Lordhsip is not hearing.
Nayar points out that when individuals come forward: You come and you are exposed to more attacks.

However, he adds: Some specific persons can be impleaded, there is no difficulty. Now that we are in Court...
Akhil Sibal: At times there is strength in numbers.

Sibal points out that @republic and @TimesNow claim to represent 70% of English news audiences.
Sibal: With the kind of vitriolic attack going on, there is an element - you are right, there is hesitation - the individuals are vulnerable. The minute they come forward, there is a counter-attack.
Sibal: We know of the narrative that is going on in so many cases. The idea is not to attack the media as a whole. The idea is this has to stop. It is crossing a line. it is not hat we are half-hearted.
Sibal: But the idea is not to attack the fourth estate. What we called yellow journalism - that fringe has become mainstream. So a signal has to come from the court
Court: Courts hesitate (in restraining media reports) because it is a constitutional right. But you are right, we expect fair reportage.. but sadly, not only in India but globally...
Court: 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.

Sr Adv Nigam appears for @Google, says they have not been served with papers as filed. They were given papers in October, but there have been changes. He seeks for copies of papers as filed and requests that @YouTube may be deleted from party array.
@poovayya appears for Twitter, points out that some Twitter subsidiaries have been wrongly impleaded.
Poovayya also submits, inter alia, that the kind of orders Twitter can comply with.

Says content under an entire hashtag cannot be taken down, but if the court directs some content to be taken down, this can be done.
Senior Advocate Sandeep Sethi for @TimesNow disputes maintainability of the suit, argues that those aggrieved are not before the Court.
Sethi: Surely neither do plaintiffs have a right of privacy and it is not their allegation that their privacy has been violated - neither are the individuals who should have been aggrieved before the courts. Some third party has come before the courts
Court that Sethi can argue on technical grounds. However, it requests Sethi to "rise above his brief" and answer larger issues.

Court: What is that should be put in place to change the way the reporting is carried out? All kinds of things shown behind the broadcaster, a flame..
Justice Shakdher: ... Maybe I am old school
Court had also remarked: There needs to be some toning down. There are orders of NBSA. But it seems that news channels are not following that. As an officer of the court, what is the next step here if you do not follow self-regulation?
Court: Because you are prejudging - more opinions less news.

What are we to do about this? It is a general remark across the board. All of you have to think about it. It is a little disheartening and demoralises everyone.
The court notes that in England when charge sheets are filed, the accused person's ID is only disclosed as a "person of interest."

Court: Here there isn't even an FIR and people start identifying the person... Even trained minds get affected.
Court (to Sethi): You need to rise above your brief and say what needs to be done about this? At the end of the day, how are we going to resolve this issue?
Court: No one wants to have his private life dragged in public. That element of privacy gets diluted (for public personas) to a certain extent. If you live on public praise, you are likely to get a certain amount of flak as well.
Court; But see what happens... in the case of Princess Diana. she died because she was racing away from the media. You can't just go on like this. The Courts are the last ones to want to regulate.
Court: It applies to all of you. What is to be done here? You cannot have a code and you say that because they don't have teeth, they keep passing these orders and you have to come to court to enforce.
Malvika Trivedi (for Defendants): One case cannot make the law today, we have to look at the work of the media that has been done till now. In the #Bennicks case...

Court: I will be the first one to say, they (media) have done some outstanding work.
Trivedi highlights that it cannot be ignored that there were two mysterious deaths here and a lot of the information came to the public domain because of the media's work
Court: Please start with the premise that I am not saying you cannot report. You can report. It is the manner of reporting. There is no civility in discourse. You are a broadcaster...

Trivedi: We realise the sharpness of language has created issues..
Court refers to an incident where a school teacher almost got killed by lynching by residents after media reported she disseminated obscene material.

Court: Does no one take responsibility for these kinds of incidents?
Adv Jatinder Kumar Sethi, appearing for defendant side, asserts that the media was reporting on facts.
Court: Have you seen the kind of language used... Now participants on TV are using cuss words on live TV channels because they get so excited. If you keep egging them on, that is what happens.
Kapil Sibal for @Facebook Inc says FB will abide by any orders of the court. But otherwise, there is no need to implead FB in court, he submits.
Delhi High Court directs the 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.
DelhiHighCourt issues summons and notice in suit by Bollywood Producers seeking to curb the irresponsible, derogatory remarks made against the film industry by news channels.

Amended memo of parties to be filed within 5 days
Court records that notice has been accepted. Written Statement and reply to the application to be filed in 2 weeks. Rejoinder before next date of hearing.
Court on the question of interim relief, orally observes that defendant cannot say I cannot follow the law.

Sethi observes of course not.

Court adds that only thing is: Some people have to be told that there is law and it has to be followed.
Trivedi (for @republic) seeks more time to file reply: My client is in judicial custody.

Court: It is a company, there are other people there
Court records assurance by Defendants that they will follow the Programme Code and the Cable TV Rules.

Court: From hereon I expect them to follow the code.

Adds in order that no defamatory content should be uploaded on Social Media or displayed on their channels.
Matter posted to be taken up next on December 14.

Hearing has ended.
Delhi High Court in Bollywood v. Times Now, Republic: Black and white Doordarshan was much better

Princess Diana died racing away from media


#ArnabGoswamy #RepublicTV @pradip103 @navikakumar @RShivshankar #DelhiHighCourt #DelhiHC
Ensure no defamatory content is displayed, uploaded on social media: Delhi High Court to news channels in Bollywood suit #ArnabGoswamy #RepublicTV @pradip103 @navikakumar @RShivshankar #DelhiHighCourt #DelhiHC

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