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Media Highly Polarized Now; Journalists Were Responsible & Neutral In Past, Bombay High Court Says While Hearing SSR Media Trial Case

Sanya Talwar
23 Oct 2020 8:55 AM GMT
Media Highly Polarized Now; Journalists Were Responsible & Neutral In Past, Bombay High Court Says While Hearing SSR Media Trial Case
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The Bombay High Court on Friday orally remarked that media now has become highly polarized and that journalists were responsible and neutral in the past.

"Journalists were responsible back then & neutral, now media is highly polarised(sic)", said a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice G S Kulkarni.

The bench made these remarks while hearing the lawyer of Zee News in a batch of Public Interest Litigations(PILs) seeking regulations on "media trail" while reporting the investigation in the Sushant Singh Rajput case.

"This is not a question of regulation, this is a question of checks & balances. People forget where to draw lines. Do it within lines. You want to criticize the government, do it! The issue is someone has died and the allegation is you are interfering", the bench said.

"We are ruled by the Rule of law. In India there is a Rule of law, right? How do you advocate that people who go around accusing others can find shelter of freedom of press?", the bench remarked.

On the previous day of the hearing, the Court had expressed concerns at the practice of "trial by media" during the pendency of investigation.

"If you become the investigator, prosecutor and the judge, what is the use of us? Why are we here", the bench had asked Advocate Malvika Trivedi, the lawyer representing Republic TV.

The bench also asked the lawyer of Republic TV if asking the public who should be arrested in a case is part of investigative journalism. This was in reference to the hashtag campaign '#ArrestRhea' run by the channel in Twitter following the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

"Is this part of investigative journalism? Asking public about their opinion on who should be arrested?", the bench asked Advocate Malvika Trivedi.

"When a case is under investigation and the issue is whether it's a homicide or a suicide and a channel is saying it is murder, is that investigative journalism?", the bench asked.

The bench had told the channel's lawyer "investigative powers are given to the police under the CrPC".

The bench had also expressed its disapproval at the manner in which Sushant's death was reported.

"There are certain Suicide Reporting guidelines. There should be no sensational headlines. Don't you have respect for the dead? It is so unfortunate," the bench remarked.

The hearing of the case will resume at 3 PM. Live updates from today's hearing available here.

Read other reports about the previous hearings :

'If You Become Investigator, Prosecutor & Judge, Why Are We Here?' Bombay HC Expresses Concerns Over Media Trial

'Asking Public About Who To Be Arrested Is Investigative Journalism?' Bombay HC Asks Republic TV In SSR Media Trial Case

'Self-Regulation Of Media Has Failed', Says Bombay HC In Plea Against 'Media Trial' In SSR Case

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