The Bombay High Court on 23 October remarked that the media has become “highly polarised” and the journalists were neutral and responsible in the past.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing PILs by eight former senior police officers from Maharashtra, as well as activists, lawyers and NGOs, seeking restraining orders against “media trial” in the case.
On 20 October, the Bombay HC had asked Republic TV how its statements asking the public to "decide on who should be arrested in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case" amounted to investigative journalism and questioned the 'ArrestRhea' hasgtag used by the channel on Twitter.
The high court also asked the News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) why no suo motu action can be initiated for “irresponsible coverage” of criminal sensitive matters and “media trial” in the case.
"This is not a question of regulation, this is a question of checks & balances. People forget where to draw lines. Do it within lines. You want to criticize the government, do it! The issue is someone has died and the allegation is you are interfering. How do you advocate that people who go around accusing others can find shelter of freedom of press?", the bench remarked.
The bench had also expressed its disapproval at the manner in which Sushant's death was reported.
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