TV Media, Websites Aren't Pope Sitting in Pulpit, Says Supreme Court

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Delivering his farewell speech in February, Justice Amitava Roy had cautioned his fellow judges about the danger that “extra-legal elements and military muscles are waiting in the wings to take over” and destroy the institution once the judiciary projects a fractured face.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday cautioned electronic media and websites against baseless publications, containing insinuations, and added they should not feel like the "Pope sitting in the Pulpit".

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra emphasised the importance of "responsible" journalism and said electronic media and websites require to be extremely careful.

"Question of gagging the media does not come at all. I have myself rebuffed all attempts to gag the media, but we do expect media, especially electronic media, to become more responsible. They cannot publish anything only because they have some websites," observed the CJI.

Justice Misra added that it is not the culture of journalism to write anything and get away with it only because it is published on a website.

"Are they free to write anything? What they write sometimes is sheer contempt of court. You cannot reproduce anything that comes to your heart and mind. There has to be some basis. You cannot nurture, construct, construe, create anything. That's not culture of journalism," said the CJI.

The bench further said: "We don't want to name channels but some people think they are Pope sitting in a Pulpit and can pass judgement or deliver a sermon...that is not culture of journalism."

It said everyone should assume their duty to assist the law and feel some kind of responsibility.

The CJI's observations came while hearing a criminal defamation case.