TV Media Should Stop Delivering Sermons Like Pope: SC Hits Out

Justice Dipak Misra appealed to the press, especially electronic media, to be “more responsible”.

2 min read
CJI Dipak Misra.

While hearing a defamation case against the news website The Wire, the Supreme Court on Thursday, 15 March, made strong observations with regard to the media, saying that it should be more responsible, and that it cannot write whatever it feels like about anyone.

The Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, while stressing that he was not commenting on the case before it, said that sometimes journalists write in a way that amounts to "sheer contempt of court", reported PTI.

The bench, which also included Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, was quoted by CNN-News18 as saying:

We don’t want to name channels, but some people think they are the Pope sitting in a Pulpit and can pass judgement or deliver a sermon...that is not the culture of journalism.
SC Bench, as quoted by CNN-News18

While emphasising on the freedom of speech and expression, and saying that "the question of gagging the media does not arise", Justice Misra asked the press, especially electronic media, to be "more responsible".

How can anyone write whatever they feel about anyone. There are limits... They are writings, at times, which amounts to sheer contempt of court.
Dipak Misra, Chief Justice of India

The Supreme Court stayed the defamation proceedings against The Wire, as it asked a Gujarat trial court not to proceed till 12 April, with the criminal defamation complaint filed by BJP president Amit Shah's son Jay Shah against the news portal and its journalists.

The bench asked Jay Shah and others, who have filed complaint against the scribes, to respond within two weeks to the plea filed by journalists against the Gujarat High Court's order, refusing to quash summons issued against them by the trial court, reported PTI.

Jay Shah had moved the lower court alleging criminal defamation by the petitioners, after the article published by The Wire, titled The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah claimed his company's turnover grew manifold after 2014 when the BJP-led government assumed power at the Centre.

(With inputs from PTI and CNN-News18.)

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