Supreme Court seeks reply on PIL filed for setting up of Media Tribunal The Supreme Court of India (SC) bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna, and V Ramasubramanian heard the petition that sought setting up of a Media Tribunal in India The Bench issued notices to the Press Council of India, News Broadcast Association (NBA), News Broadcasters...
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Supreme Court seeks reply on PIL filed for setting up of Media Tribunal
The Supreme Court of India (SC) bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna, and V Ramasubramanian heard the petition that sought setting up of a Media Tribunal in India
The Bench issued notices to the Press Council of India, News Broadcast Association (NBA), News Broadcasters Federation (NBF), News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), along with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The petition said media, particularly the electronic, has become like an unruly horse that needs to be tamed.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed jointly by filmmaker, Nilesh Navalakha and Civil Engineer Nitin Memane, before the SC. The proceedings were conducted through video conferencing. The petition was filed for seeking an independent committee headed either by an Ex-CJI or a Supreme Court Judge to review the entire legal framework regarding media business regulations and suggest guidelines.
It was submitted by the petitioner that the plea is not to curb the fundamental rights of the media-business; however, it is filed to bring about some accountability for misinformation, inflammatory coverage, fake news, and breach of privacy.
The purpose of the PIL was to seek framing of guidelines outlining the broad regulatory paradigm within which media houses that are broadcasters and electronic media, can exercise their rights under Article 19(1) of the Constitution of India, to judicially regulate them. Legal issues regarding Article 21 of the Constitution were also raised related to the rights of citizens to have free and fair reporting.
The PIL stated, "The media is simply a business, albeit one which is one of the most powerful structures of power in itself, and thus, the same must be regulated by constitutional norms and principles."
The petition emphasized the point that the self-regulatory process makes the electronic media broadcaster a judge in his own case and there is an urgent need to regulate the functioning of the same through an independent legal body.
It was further mentioned in the PIL that the establishment of an independent, regulatory tribunal or judicial-body, which can hear and expeditiously adjudicate upon complaint petitions against the media-businesses filed by the viewers/citizens are needed. "The tribunal can bring about consequences for acting in a fashion that is contrary to constitutional goals and morality," the PIL stated.
It said, "The restrictions on the electronic media must be placed at a higher footing as over the last few years media trials have become the order of the day. These trials not only have a prejudicial effect on the rights of the accused but also its very concept is an anathema to the administration of justice."
The SC tagged the PIL with a pending plea on the issue.