The Delhi High Court Wednesday directed media houses to retract all news reports and video clips from their
websites allegedly insinuating that missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmad could be an ISIS sympathiser.
Justice J R Midha directed that all YouTube links on the content be removed. Calling it a “sensitive issue”, the court warned media houses to behave in a “responsible platform”. The counsel for the media houses assured the court that they will remove all alleged defamatory material against Ahmad.
The court’s interim direction came on a defamation suit by Ahmad’s mother Fatima Nafees against media houses and its journalists for spreading false, baseless and inflammatory news against her son.
The direction comes days after another bench, headed by Justice S Muralidhar, turned down Fatima’s plea to constitute an SIT to probe the case, stating that it does not agree that the “CBI has not acted fairly or that it has been under any influence or political compulsions in its decision to file a closure report” in the case.
While Fatima’s plea to trace her son was being heard before the High Court, some media houses had published a news article based on sources that the 27-year-old JNU student’s internet browsing history allegedly showed that he was looking for information on ISIS’s “ideology, execution and network,” and that his searches included “ways to join ISIS” and similar such queries.
The charges were denied by Delhi Police, days after a national daily (not The Indian Express) published the article in March 2017. But sections of the civil society and students across Delhi University colleges have demanded an unconditional apology from the media houses.
Claiming Rs 2.2 crore compensation from the media houses, Fatima said that despite Delhi Police denying such charges against her son, the defamatory content continued to be accessible to the public at large and that public opinion continues to be against her, Ahmad and her family. She sought that media houses be directed to remove all defamatory content and publish an apology to her. The court has listed the matter for October 10.