Tone down - That's the message the Delhi High Court sent across to television news channels Times Now and Republic TV on Monday.

The high court made the observations while hearing the petition filed by 38 Hindi cinema associations and production houses, seeking to curb irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks being made against the film industry.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher asked the media houses AGR Outlier Media Pvt Ltd and Bennett Coleman and Company Ltd to ensure that no defamatory content is uploaded on social media platforms or displayed on their channels.

The court observed, "What's your answer to complaints made against such reporting? There has to be some toning down, Programme Code needs to be complied with. What should."

"It is disheartening and demoralizing. I mean it demoralizes everyone. Today it is not hurting us (judiciary) suppose it is your fraternity tomorrow. Surely, you can investigate but it has to be fair reportage."

"If you don't follow the Programme Code, we will enforce it. You are prejudging issues. It is less news and more opinion."

When drawn attention by the channels' lawyers that the media has been reporting on facts, the bench said: "Have you seen the kind of language used? Now participants on TV are using cuss words on live TV channels because they get so excited. If you keep egging them on, that is what happens."

The petition has sought direction to Republic TV, its editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and reporter Pradeep Bhandari, Times Now, its editor-in-chief Rahul Shivshankar and group editor Navika Kumar, and unknown defendants as well as social media platforms to refrain from conducting media trials of Bollywood personalities and interfering with the right to privacy of persons associated with Bollywood.

The court also noted that "people are very scared about the 4th estate. Even when the issue of privacy of public figures gets diluted, you can't drag their personal lives in public domain. Like how Princess Diana succumbed to the media interference."