NEW DELHI: Calling for greater responsibility from the media, the Supreme Court on Thursday cautioned the electronic media and websites against baseless publications and said they should not feel like the “Pope sitting in the pulpit”.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra emphasised the importance of responsible journalism and said electronic media and websites need 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 the electronic media, to become more responsible. They cannot publish anything only because they have some websites,” observed the CJI.
Misra said 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,” the CJI said.
The court, without naming the channels, said their conduct has been against the culture of journalism. “We don’t want to name the channels, but some people think they are the Pope sitting in a pulpit and can pass judgement or deliver a sermon,” it said.
The case pertains to an article published by a news website against Jay Shah, son of BJP president Amit Shah. The article raised questions on the disproportionate rise in income of his company in last two years.
Thursday’s case was an appeal against the Gujarat High Court’s January 8 order, which had refused to quash the summons issued against them by a trial court.
Kapil Sibal, appearing for the news website, insisted that journalists have a right to ask questions and express views.