Updated: June 24, 2021 5:04:42 am
Agreeing to refrain from airing “defamatory” content, Times Now has settled a lawsuit filed by more than 30 production houses and film associations over its coverage of the industry after actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
Times Network, which owns the news channel, issued a joint statement with the Producers Guild of India on Tuesday stating that it will abide by the Programme Code.
The film bodies had also named Republic TV in the lawsuit filed in the Delhi High Court in October last year.
The statement said: “As per the consent terms agreed, TIMES NOW reaffirms its commitment to abide by the Programme Code under the Cable TV Network Regulation Act 1994 and the Cable TV Network Regulation Rules 1994 and undertakes not to publish or air anything that is defamatory to the Plaintiffs(the Hindi Film industry) on the TIMES NOW Channel.”
It added: “With the matter settled, the plaintiffs and The Times Group can look forward to building on their historically cordial relationship.”
It said that the plaintiffs (the film producers) and Times Now “are pleased to confirm that they have settled the matter, and the application for settlement along with the Consent Terms is pending for acceptance” with the Delhi High Court.
The 34 production houses that had filed the suit included Dharma Productions, Yashraj Films, Reliance Big, besides those the ones owned by stars such as Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan. Four associations were also involved— The Film & Television Producers Guild Of India (PGI), the Cine & TV Artistes’ Association (CINTAA), the Indian Film and TV Producers Council (IFTPC), and the Screenwriters Association (SWA).
The plaintiffs had filed the case after the two news channels used terms such as “filth”, “scum” and “druggies” for the members of the film industry during their coverage of actor Rajput’s death by suicide.
They had stated that “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” and added that “the livelihood of persons associated with Bollywood is being severely impacted by the smear campaign being run by the defendants”.
Both channels had given the court a similar assurance earlier too. On November 9, Justice Rajiv Shakdher had noted the assurances that they would follow the Programme Code which has been drawn up under the framework of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.
All news channels are mandated to follow the Programme Code of the CTN Act, as part of the uplinking/ downlinking license that they get from the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The Act mentions that “No person shall transmit or re-transmit through a cable service any programme unless such programme is in conformity with the prescribed programme code.”
Of the 15 restrictions mentioned in the code one of them states, that “no programme should be carried” which contains “anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half truths”. Other restrictions include anything that is against good taste and decency, denigrates children, contempt of court and attacks any religious community.
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