MUMBAI: Thirty-four prominent Bollywood production houses and four organisations banded together against news channels for promoting defamatory, irresponsible, and derogatory content.
They moved to the Delhi High Court seeking to restrain certain news channels like Republic TV and Times Now from making defamatory remarks against the film industry.
Journalists Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and journalist Pradeep Bhandari, Times Now editor-in-chief Rahul Shivshankar and group editor Navika Kumar were named in the lawsuit.
The plaintiff said that Bollywood's silence should not be misconstrued as an admission of guilt.
Bollywood, as an industry is made up of hardworking individuals and they are all being viewed derogatorily because of this smear campaign as a result of media trial, said a key counsellor to the media.
The smear campaign began since actor Sushant Singh Rajput died in June leading to speculations such as possible murder, drug abuse, and aiding and abetting.
Republic TV and Times Now batted for Rajput and accused Bollywood of peddling drugs, bullying outsiders, etc.
Production houses such as Yash Raj Films, Dharma Productions, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and stars Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan faced the heat.
Bollywood actresses Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor, Rakul Preet Singh, and Sara Ali Khan were questioned by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for drug abuse.
Actress Rhea Chakraborthy, who was arrested for alleged drug use, will be fighting a defamation lawsuit.
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, etc.
They are fighting against the usage of words like ‘dirt’, ‘filth’, ‘scum’, ‘druggies’ etc.
Apart from Bollywood, Mumbai police also faced heat from the channels.
As per reports, Republic TV fakes TRPs to get better advertisements, and Mumbai police initiated a probe.
Critics and reporters have cited that the main news channels' focus on Bollywood and Sushant Singh Rajput distracted the public from major issues like farmers' protests, falling GDP, rising COVID-19 cases, job losses, and increase in domestic violence and sexual assault against women and children across India.