the channels used "highly derogatory words and expressions"
Four industry associations and 34 Bollywood production companies have filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court against “irresponsible reporting by certain media houses”.
The lawsuits has been filed against Arnab Goswami and Pradeep Bhandari of Republic TV, and Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar of Times Now.
The unprecedented legal case has requested the channels and social media platforms to “refrain from making or publishing irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks against Bollywood and its members”.
It also asks that they be restrained from carrying out media trials against film personalities and interfering with their private lives.
The plea seeks the defendants abide by the provisions of the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, and to withdraw and recall all defamatory content published by them against Bollywood.
The complainants are not seeking a blanket gag order against the media reporting on the Sushant Singh Rajput case or the FIRs filed by the NCB.
In a statement, the channels used “highly derogatory words and expressions for Bollywood”.
Those listed include: “dirt”, “filth”, “scum”, “druggies” and expressions such as “it is Bollywood where the dirt needs to be cleaned”, “all the perfumes of Arabia cannot take away the stench and the stink of this filth and scum of the underbelly of Bollywood”, “this is the dirtiest industry in the country”, and “cocaine and LSD-drenched Bollywood”.
The associations stated that Bollywood is a distinct and well-recognised part of the Hindi film industry in Mumbai.
It provides a huge source of revenue, earns significant foreign exchange for India as a result of overseas film releases and has a lot of employment.
The lawsuit said: “The livelihood of persons associated with Bollywood is being severely impacted by the smear campaign being run by the defendants.
“This is in addition to the ongoing pandemic which has resulted in extreme revenues and work opportunity loss.”
“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 Bollywood associations and productions houses who have filed the lawsuit include:
- The Producers Guild of India
- The Cine & TV Artiste Association
- The Film and TV Producers Council
- Screenwriters Association
- Aamir Khan Productions
- Ad-Labs Films
- Ajay Devgn Fflims
- 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
- RS Entertainment
- Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures
- Red Chillies Entertainment
- Reliance Big Entertainment
- Reel Life Productions
- Rohit Shetty Pictures
- Roy Kapur Productions
- Salman Khan Ventures
- Sohail Khan Productions
- Sikhya Entertainment
- Tiger Baby Digital
- Vinod Chopra Films
- Vishal Bhardwaj Film
- Yash Raj Films
This is not the first time that legal action has been taken against these media houses.
They had previously been penalised after being found guilty of broadcasting defamatory, unsubstantiated and incorrect news.
They pointed out that the channels “indulged in frenzy suggesting that the CBI would start making arrests” after the agency took over the Sushant Singh Rajput investigations.
The Bollywood lawsuit added: “These defendants are conducting and publishing parallel private ‘investigations’ and effectively acting as ‘courts’ to condemn persons connected with Bollywood as guilty based on what they claim is ‘evidence’ found by them, thereby trying to make a mockery of the criminal justice system.”