‘Follow Guidelines on Media Trial’: Bombay HC to Marathi Channels

The court was hearing the petition filed by a man objecting to the reportage carried out on his daughter’s death.

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India
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Bombay High Court. 
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The Bombay High Court on Friday, 5 March, pulled up four Marathi news channels and asked them to "scrupulously follow the guidelines" from the judgment on media trials over Sushant Singh's death reportage, reported Bar and Bench.

The court was hearing the petition filed by one Lahu Chavan objecting to the reportage carried out on his daughter's death by print and electronic media.

Chavan noted that after his daughter’s “alleged accidental death,” several media outlets started circulating news that “his daughter was having illicit relations with one Y.”

He contended that the news is "defamatory and derogatory to the name of the petitioner and his family, including his daughter.”

The court asked the news channels to follow the guidelines issued by it, adding that and directed the respondents “not to publish or give any unnecessary publicity to the incident of death of the daughter X of the Petitioner and further alleged illicit relationship of daughter X with Y.”

The Bombay High Court on 18 January, came down strongly on the sensational manner in which the media reports on high-profile criminal investigations like the Sushant Singh Rajput case, criticising media channels, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the self-regulation mechanism that currently exists for electronic media.

“Trial by media interferes with criminal investigations by the police and runs counter to the Programme Code under the Cable TV Act and Rules,” the bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice GS Kulkarni observed.

The high court had laid down a number of guidelines to be followed by the media when reporting on criminal investigations and cases, so that they do not prejudice the rights of the accused as well as witnesses in such matters.

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