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DNA Exclusive: Bollywood puts News media in the dock, asks Delhi HC to restrain them from running smear campaign

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New Delhi: In an unprecedented move on Monday (October 12), leading Bollywood producers approached the Delhi High Court, seeking to restrain two News media houses, Republic TV and Times Now, from making or publishing alleged “irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks” against the film industry and conducting media trials against its members on various issues.

For the first time in the 70 years of independent India, almost the entire film industry has come together on an issue. This is being seen as an unprecedented move because the industry has always been divided into different camps. The lawsuit by four Bollywood industry associations and 34 leading production houses included those owned by Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Karan Johar, Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor, Rohit Shetty, along with Yash Raj Films and RS Entertainment, have sought to restrain the news channels from interfering with the right to privacy of persons associated with the industry.

The lawsuit sought a direction to Republic TV, its editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and reporter Pradeep Bhandari, Times Now, its editor-in-chief Rahul Shivshankar and group editor Navika Kumar as well as social media platforms to refrain them from making or publishing allegedly irresponsible, derogatory, and defamatory remarks against Bollywood.

Although these producers did not seek “a blanket gag order” but want the media persons to abide by the provisions of the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Rules and to withdraw, recall and take down all the defamatory content published by them against the film industry.

The petition, filed through DSK Legal firm, has particularly objected to some of the words used by the particular section of the media. It objected to highly derogatory words and expressions for Bollywood such as ‘dirt’, ‘filth’, ‘scum’, ‘druggies’ and expressions like ‘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 petition cited the reporting in the death of actor Shushant Singh Rajput and the subsequent Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) probe of certain actors following allegations of drug abuse in the industry. The lawsuit is expected to come up for a hearing later this week.

The petition argued that Bollywood is the only industry that runs on the edifice of trust and the appreciation of the audience holds a significant place in it.

Although Bollywood is the biggest soft power in India, it never came together to save India’s image in the world. In the Sino-India faceoff, 20 soldiers were martyred but Bollywood didn’t never come together to show such a unity. No big star came to ahead to say that he won’t release his film in China.

You may recall that 40 soldiers were martyred in the Pulwama blast, but Bollywood failed to come ahead to show solidarity against Pakistan. Bollywood made films on it, but they never came forward to utter a word against Pakistan. None of these big artistes ever spoke openly that Kashmir is ours. On the contrary, Pakistani film stars and cricketers kept on speaking against India and openly spoke on the Kashmir issue.

A few of these big actors gave their statements when one Akhlaq was killed near Delhi, but their lips were sealed when sadhus are killed in Palghar. 

In the reel life, these film stars save the lives of poor people, save the country, and sometimes help poor people get justice, but now they are united to protect themselves. These are the same people who failed to come out in the wake of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. None of these came ahead to make a statement on Sushant’s death. 

The double standards of Bollywood are thoroughly exposed. Aamir Khan has made fun of Hindu deities in his films in the name of creative freedom, but when media raises questions, they get offended. 

Earlier, the media used to be the voice of people. When they were disillusioned from everywhere, they looked at the Media and were always supported. Media has also played a key role in exposing several scams, including he Bofors scam, 2G scam, Common Wealth scam, and Coal scam. It also helped in solving the cases of Jessica Lal and Nirbhaya. 

During the Kargil War, or the attack on Parliament, the Media stood like a rock and many journalists did not bother about their life to report these incidents. The media has also played a key in making or marring the prospects of a ruling dispensation. 

The two media industries were once considered to be two sides of the same coin, but news media and the film industry have come face-to-face treating each other as enemies. The DNA report analysed this situation as to why such a scenario came to fore. 

Last week, some big advertisers have stated that news channels have become so poisonous that they do not want to advertise on them. Some of these even withdrew their advertisements from some News Channels. This development appears to have given the idea of ​​media opposition to Bollywood.

The current atmosphere against the media is very unprecedented because journalists who were once considered to be the Messiah are in the dock. Media and Bollywood are two major powers of India and their face-off will ultimately affect the country’s interest, therefore, both must do introspection for the current situation.

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Who filed the lawsuit: 

Those who have come together to file the suit are the Film and Television Producers Guild Of India (PGI); Cine and TV Artistes’ Association (CINTAA); Indian Film and TV Producers Council (IFTPC); Screenwriters Association (SWA); 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 and Dharma Productions.

The list also includes Emmay Entertainment and Motion Pictures; Excel Entertainment; Filmkraft Productions; Hope Production; Kabir Khan Films; Luv Films; Macguffin Pictures; Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment; One India Stories; RS Entertainment (Ramesh Sippy Entertainment); Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures; Red Chillies Entertainment; Reel Life Productions; Reliance Big Entertainment and Rohit Shetty Picturez.

The other petitioners are Roy Kapur Films; Salman Khan Films; Sikhya Entertainment; Sohail Khan Productions; Tiger Baby Digital; Vinod Chopra Films; Vishal Bhardwaj Pictures and Yashraj Films. 

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