Bombay High Court Questions Republic TV’s Reportage In Sushant Rajput Death Case
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked Republic TV if inquiring viewers who should be in prison in a case that is under enquiry, and intrude on upon a person’s rights qualified as “investigative journalism”.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni was mentioning to a hashtag campaign, and some news reports interconnected to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput that the channel aired.
The court pointed to the channel’s #ArrestRhea hashtag campaign on Twitter.
It also questioned the channel’s lawyer Malvika Trivedi why Republic TV exposed the photos of the dead body, and take risks on whether the actor’s death was a case of suicide.
The complaint is regarding #ArrestRhea. Why is this part of your news?” the bench said.
When a case is under examination and the issue is whether it’s a murder or a suicide so why is a channel is saying that it is murder, is this fact-finding journalism? it enquired.
The opinions came while the bench was enquiry the final point of view on a bunch of public interest lawsuits, looking for that the press be controlled in its reportage on actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
The pleas had also hunted that TV news channels be stopped from showing a media trial in the case.
The bench had enquired all parties to explain if a statutory mechanism was essential to control the content broadcast by TV news channels.
Previous this week, it had also enquired the Union government why rules of private bodies such as the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) to control the content aired by TV news channels could not be ratified and imposed by the government.
During the day-long hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh, who seemed for the government, said that the Centre was in favour of a self-regulatory mechanism for the print and TV media.
Anil Singh also said that the Union government forwarded the grievances it received against TV channels to the NBSA if those channels were its members.
Else, it commenced action against them while confirming that the freedom of the press was not breached.
Maybe one or two channels may not have followed the guidelines properly, but by and large all channels have been following them on a regular basis,” the ASG said.
Action has been occupied by the Ministry against 214 channels since 2013 for infringement under the Programme Code Court,” he said.
The lawyers for more than a few TV channels that are a party in the case, all submitted that the NBSA’s code of ethics and guidelines on reportage and the authority’s powers to demand an apology and a maximum fine of ₹ one lakh on erring member channels were an ample self regulatory mechanism.
Republic TV in the meantime, replying to the court’s queries, said that its reportage on Sushant Rajput’s death and the consequent investigation helped “unearth” some important elements in the case.
Journalists have a right to show public opinion to the forefront and criticise the government. It is not necessary that everyone will appreciate what is being predictable by news channels. Though, if news makes a some section uncomfortable, it is the principle of a democracy Malvika Trivedi said Republic TV’s counsel.
The court said that it wasn’t asking for the media’s throat to he throttled, but that the press must be familiar with its boundaries.
We are referring to the basic journalism norms, where a basic protocol has to be maintained for suicide reporting. No sensational headlines, no constant repeating.
You have showed a lady in such a way that intrude on her rights. The high court will continue the enquiry on Friday.