The discussions to file a lawsuit against certain sections of the news media for its disparaging coverage of the film industry began in September, a ‘key plaintiff’ has said. As many as 34 Bollywood production houses and four organisations banded together earlier this week, and moved the Delhi High Court, seeking to restrain certain news channels from making “irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks” against the film industry.
Named in the lawsuit are Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and journalist Pradeep Bhandari, Times Now editor-in-chief Rahul Shivshankar and group editor Navika Kumar, along with both channels.
A ‘key plaintiff’ told Mid-Day that ‘the industry is speaking up together as their dignified silence was being misconstrued as an admission of guilt’, and that the process took around six weeks. Another plaintiff added, “We’re not questioning the factual reporting of the case, but we want them to stop the media trial. The industry is made up of hardworking individuals and they are all being viewed derogatorily because of this smear campaign.”
In the suit, the plaintiffs said that “highly derogatory words and expressions (were used) for Bollywood” and listed terms like “dirt”, “filth”, “scum” and “druggies”.
The news channels are accused of using derogatory words such as ‘dirt’, ‘filth’, ‘scum’, ‘druggies’ and expressions such as “all the perfumes of Arabia cannot take away the stench and the stink of this filth and scum of the underbelly of Bollywood.” Among the 34 studios challenging the news channels are Aamir Khan Productions, Ajay Devgn Films, Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, Zoya Akhtar’s Tiger Baby Digital, Salman Khan Films, Yash Raj Films, Vinod Chopra Films, Vishal Bhardwaj Pictures, Rohit Shetty Picturez, Roy Kapur Films, Dharma Productions and others.
“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,” the plaintiffs earlier said in a statement.
Republic TV is also embroiled in a fake TRPs controversy. Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh had claimed that Republic TV and two other Marathi channels had manipulated TRPs.
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