Thirty-eight leading cinema associations and production houses, including Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, Ajay Devgn Films, and those owned by Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, on Monday moved the Delhi High Court against Republic TV and Times Now and their senior editors, seeking “perpetual and permanent” injunction against them from making or publishing “irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks” against the film industry and those part of it.
The civil suit, filed via DSK Legal, is against Republic TV, its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and Consulting Editor Pradeep Bhandari; and, Times Now, its Editor-in-Chief Rahul Shivshankar, and Times Network Group Editor, Navika Kumar. Social media platforms have also been added as parties to the case.
The petitioners have sought the court’s intervention to ensure that the channels and their journalists abide by provisions of the Programme Code under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, and withdraw, recall and take down all alleged defamatory content published by them against Bollywood.
Those who have moved the High Court are the Film & Television Producers Guild of India (PGI), Cine & TV Artistes’ Association (CINTAA), Indian Film and TV Producers Council (IFTPC), Screenwriters Association (SWA), Aamir Khan Productions, Ad-Labs Films, Ajay Devgn Films, Andolan Films, Anil Kapoor Film and Communication Network, Arbaaz Khan Productions, Ashutosh Gowariker Productions, BSK Network and Entertainment, Cape of Good Films, Clean Slate Filmz, Dharma Productions, Emmay Entertainment & Motion Pictures, Excel Entertainment, Filmkraft Productions, Hope Production, Kabir Khan Films, Luv Films, Macguffin Pictures, Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment, One India Stories, R S Entertainment (Ramesh Sippy Entertainment), Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures, Red Chillies Entertainment, Reel Life Productions, Reliance Big Entertainment, Rohit Shetty Picturez, Roy Kapur Films, Salman Khan Films, Sikhya Entertainment, Sohail Khan Productions, Tiger Baby Digital, Vinod Chopra Films, Vishal Bhardwaj Pictures and Yashraj Films.
Seeking direction to restrain the two channels from conducting “media trials of Bollywood personalities” and interfering with their right to privacy, the suit states it has been filed in the wake of the channels using “highly derogatory words and expressions” for the industry.
The channels, it stated, are conducting and publishing “parallel private ‘investigations’” and effectively acting as courts to condemn persons associated with Bollywood as guilty.
“Bollywood is unique and stands on a different footing from any other industry in as much as it is an industry that is dependent almost solely on goodwill, appreciation and acceptance of its audience. The livelihood of persons associated with Bollywood is being severely impacted by the smear campaign being run by the Defendants,” the suit contended.
It also stated that the pandemic has resulted in extreme revenue loss and work opportunity loss for people associated with Bollywood. “The privacy of the members of Bollywood is being invaded, and their reputations are being irreparably damaged by painting the entire Bollywood as criminals, seeped in drug culture, and making being part of Bollywood as synonymous with criminal acts in the public imagination,” the lawsuit stated.
Responding to this, Arnab Goswami, on a show on the Republic, said: “Our pursuit of the truth will only become stronger, more intense, and more focused.”
Rahul Shivshankar, in a Twitter post, said the case was a “bad precedent” and will not “weaken the resolve” of Times Now. Navika Kumar, tagging actors Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan and producer Karan Johar in her tweet, said, “If fighting for justice invites court cases, bring it on.”
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