News By/Courtesy: Ayush Garg | 24 May 2020 22:17pm IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court for laying down guidelines for mandatory sanction before registration of FIRs against journalists
  • to ensure that they were not subjected to vexatious and malicious prosecution for their news reports
  • petition asked the court to ensure that no FIR unless a sanction was received from the statutory body, Press Council of India of India or any other judicial authority

A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court, seeking to set guidelines for filing an FIR against a journalist on a piece of news or debate. It has been said that without the approval of the Press Council of India (PCI) or the judicial authority, no FIR should be lodged against the journalist on any news or debate.
Ghanshyam Upadhyay, who lives in Mumbai, has filed this petition in the Supreme Court through his lawyer Vishnu Shankar Jain. Referring to some incidents in the petition such as recent lodging of FIRs against Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in Maharashtra and other states and similar action against Zee News Editor Sudhir Chaudhary in Kerala it has been said that in case there is no clear law in this regard, the Supreme Court should issue appropriate guidelines. Media is considered the fourth pillar of democracy and the Supreme Court has always been an advocate and defender of the freedom of expression of the media. Some disgruntled people should not unnecessarily register FIRs against media on routine news or debates. The media should be exempted from this so that they can perform their duty freely without any fear.
This was to “ensure that the press/ media, which is the fourth pillar of democracy, is not subjected to suppression and oppression and their voice is not silenced by entangling them is false, frivolous, vexatious and malicious prosecution under the garb of investigation”.
The petition demands that FIRs and prosecution under sections 295A, 153, 153A, 153B, 298, 500, 504, 505 (2), 506 (2) and 120B of the IPC against the journalist on any news or debate. For this, the approval of the Judicial Authority decided by the Press Council of India or the court must be required. It may be known that these clauses are related to the harm of harmony between communities and defamation.
The petition has demanded that the guidelines should be decided that the sanctioning authority will settle the application seeking approval to file FIR in the above sections within the stipulated time. It has been said that the guidelines to be issued in this regard should apply only to those newspapers or news channels that have a fixed readership or viewership. The court can decide this number.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 25 May 2020 4:17am IST


Tags : Supreme Court, Journalists

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