The Bombay High Court came down hard upon the Republic Media Network and asked the television news channel if infringing upon a person's rights qualified as 'investigative journalism'

Hearing Public Interest Litigations by 8 former senior police officers from Maharashtra, as well as activists, lawyers and NGOs seeking restraining orders against 'media trial' in the Sushant Sigh Rajput death case, the court asked the News Broadcasters Federation on why no suo motu action can be initiated for 'irresponsible coverage' of criminal sensitive matters and media trial in the case.

Even as the division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni warned Republic TV against crossing boundaries or 'Laxman Rekha', Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the information and broadcasting ministry, said that the Centre has put forth Programme Code, which are to be followed by all channels irrespective of them being part of any self-regulatory organisation or not.

The ASG also informed that Ministry had taken action against 214 channels since 2013 for violations under the Programme Code Court.

Here are some pertinent questions that the high court bench put before Republic TV's counsel Malvika Trivedi:

Question 1
The grievance is regarding #arrestrhea. Why is this part of your channel news?

Question 2
Is this part of investigative journalism? Asking public about their opinion on who should be arrested?

Question 3
Putting up messages on the channel and then discussing evidence, is that investigative journalism?

Question 4
When a case is under investigation and the issue is whether it's a homicide or a suicide and a channel is saying it is murder, is that investigative journalism?

Question 5
There are certain suicide reporting guidelines. There should be no sensational headlines. Don't you have respect for the dead?

Question 6
You are journalists, you do not know the law. Why not read the provision before putting out the details, if you care so much for the truth?

The court will resume hearing the case on Friday.