2 Aug 2023 12:01 PM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has said that journalists, print and electronic media cater to the needs of the general public by publishing important news items and they owe a social responsibility to maintain peace and tranquillity.A single judge bench of Justice V Srishananda sitting at Dharwad said publication of news items has wide implications on the society at large and therefore, reports...
The Karnataka High Court has said that journalists, print and electronic media cater to the needs of the general public by publishing important news items and they owe a social responsibility to maintain peace and tranquillity.
A single judge bench of Justice V Srishananda sitting at Dharwad said publication of news items has wide implications on the society at large and therefore, reports carried out in the print and electronic media are required to be strictly in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Press Council of India. It added,
“Using the words 'Taliban', 'Goonda', 'Pundatike' are per se intolerable and beyond the scope of the guidelines issued by the Press Council of India...Members of the print and electronic media are expected to carry news items in a most decent manner.”
The bench expressed that print and electronic media/journalists form the 4th pillar of democracy and they should work and act in that regard with utmost care and caution.
“Even today, a major section of the society believe that the news item published in the newspaper as gospel truth without even looking for corroboration or verification. When such is the confidence that has been reposed by the general public of the country in the media, the role of the persons who handle print and electronic media are required to show utmost restraint in using unparliamentary or defamatory words while reporting the news item,” it further opined.
The Court has asked the people who are managing the print and electronic media, Editors/Chief Editors bestow their best attention in achieving the said object.
The observations come in petitions filed by several news dailies who were charged under Sections 499 and 500 IPC in 2012.
The controversy erupted after Advocates' Associations across the State resolved to not defend journalists embroiled in criminal matters. As the issue ignited, it was echoed in the legislative assembly where one Member termed the advocates' association's resolution as 'Taliban Mentality'.
While reporting the said discussion, the print media allegedly used unparliamentary words in their publications including terming the advocates' fraternity at large as 'Goonda Mentality'. Some papers termed the resolution as 'Taliban Mentality' by repeating the words spoken by the MLA. Following which an advocate namely Davalsab Nadaf filed a private complaint against persons who published such news item.
The petitioners argued that there was no intention to malign the advocate community at large and while reporting what transpired in the legislative assembly, some of the reporters might have reported in excess beyond their guidelines of reporting and in anxiety some unparliamentary words have been used in their reports unintentionally and therefore they have expressed remorse and tendered unconditional apology.
The bench perused the affidavits filed by the petitioners and also considered the submissions made by four of the petitioners wherein they assured the Court in unequivocal terms that they would not repeat such things in future.
Taking note of the fact that the incident is of the year 2012 and Petitioners had tendered unconditional apology, the Court said that pending criminal proceedings as against the petitioners can be brought to logical end. It held,
“Taking note of the contents of the affidavit and the assurance given by the petitioners before the Court, this Court would hope and trust that the petitioners in particular and print and electronic media in general would be careful in publishing news item/s in future and they would exercise necessary restraint while preparing news item/s so as to not to harm the dignity of all concerned and would maintain prudent attitude while reporting the news item/s.”
Accordingly it allowed the petitions and quashed the criminal proceedings.
Case Title: Lok Shikshan Trust & Others And Davalsab S/O Malliksab Nadaf
Case No: CRIMINAL PETITION NO. 100541 OF 2020 (482-) C/W CRIMINAL PETITION NO. 100540 OF 2020 CRIMINAL PETITION NO. 100542 OF 2020 CRIMINAL PETITION NO. 100543 OF 2020
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 292
Date of Order: 24-07-2023
Appearance: Advocate K L Patil for petitioners
Advocate Sadiq N Goodwala for respondent.
Click Here To Read/Download Order