Mumbai: Accusing television news channels Republic TV and Times Now of irresponsible reportage in the 'Bollywood Drug Mafia' case, 38 producers have filed a civil suit  before the Delhi High Court by four Bollywood industry associations and 34 leading Bollywood producers.

The petition urges the court to direct Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, Republic TV employee Pradeep Bhandari, Times Now editor-in-chief Rahul Shivshankar and Group Editor Navika Kumar and unknown defendants as well as social media platforms to refrain from making or publishing irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks against Bollywood celebrities and the industry in general.

The petitioners claimed that the channels are conducting and publishing parallel private ‘investigations’ and effectively acting as “courts” to condemn persons connected with Bollywood as guilty based on what they claim is “evidence” found by them, thereby trying to make a mockery of the criminal justice system. 

The petition also seeks to restrain them from conducting media trials of Bollywood personalities and interfering with the right to privacy of persons associated with Bollywood.

The petition seeks a directive to the channels to withdraw, recall and take down all the defamatory content published by them against Bollywood.

This comes in the wake of these channels using highly derogatory words and expressions for Bollywood such as “dirt”, “filth”, “scum”, “druggies” and expressions such as “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 petitioners stated that Bollywood is a distinct and well recognised class, comprising the Hindi film industry in Mumbai and that the livelihood of persons associated with Bollywood is being severely impacted by the smear campaign being run by these channels. This is in addition to the ongoing pandemic which has resulted in extreme revenues and works opportunity loss.

The plea states that privacy of the members of Bollywood is being invaded upon, and their reputations are being irreparably damaged by painting the entire Bollywood as criminals, seeped in drug culture, and making being part of Bollywood as synonymous with criminal acts in the public imagination.

The petitioners in the case include

* The Producers Guild of India
* The Cine & TV Artiste Association
* The Film and TV Producers Council
* Screenwriters Association
* Aamir Khan Productions
* Ad-Labs Films
* Ajay Devgn Fflims
* Andolan Films
* Anil Kapoor Film and Communication Network
* Arbaaz Khan Productions
* Ashutosh Gowarikaer Productions
* BSK Network and Entertainment
* Cape of Good Films
* Clean Slate Filmz
* Dharma Productions
* Emmay Entertainment & Motion Pictures
* Excel Entertainment
* Filmkraft Productions
* Hope Production
* Kabir Khan Films
* Luv Films
* Macguffin Pictures
* Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment
* One India Stories
* R.S. Entertainment
* Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures
* Red Chillies Entertainment
* Reliance Big Entertainment
* Reel Life Productions
* Rohit Shetty Pictures
* Roy Kapur Productions
* Salman Khan Ventures
* Sohail Khan Productions
* Sikhya Entertianment
* Tiger Baby Digital
* Vinod Chopra Films
* Vishal Bhardwaj Film
* YashRaj Films.