Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 26
Amid allegations of hate speech, media trial, fake news and violation of right to privacy against the media, a PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking setting up of an independent media tribunal to make journalists and media houses accountable for such acts.
“Over the last few years, media trials, hate speech, propaganda news, paid news, have become the order of the day, thereby impeding the right to a fair trial of victims and right to fair and proportionate reporting,” petitioners Nilesh Navalakha, a film producer, and Nitin Memane submitted.
He contended that “reckless reportage by the electronic media without accountability can, by no stretch of imagination, be read into the right to freedom of speech and expression enjoyed by the electronic media”.
They argued that a citizen-led independent media tribunal was needed to hear and expeditiously adjudicate complaints against media businesses.
He said such a body was needed to bring about a balance between the right to freedom of speech and expression of the media houses and right to reputation and the right to dignity as also in the interests of preserving peace and harmony.
Maintaining that the exercise of power by the electronic media without any accountability was detrimental to the due process of law, and contrary to the rule of law, the PIL urged the top court to issue appropriate guidelines for regulation of media in exercise of the plenary and inherent powers under Article 32 and 142 of the Constitution, until a legislation was introduced.
Contending that self-regulation by media cannot be the answer to the problem, he sought setting up of an independent high powered committee headed by a retired Chief Justice or Judge of the Supreme Court and comprising distinguished citizens from different fields and representatives of the Central Government to scrutinize the entire legal framework relating to regulation of media industry and recommend guidelines to be laid down by the top court.
The petitioners, however, sought to clarify that his PIL wasn’t aimed at curbing the fundamental rights of the media and that he only wanted to ensure that those indulging in spreading misinformation, inflammatory coverage, ake news and breach of privacy were held to account.