In a landmark agreement that will have seismic repercussions across the Indian media landscape, the Times Group has agreed that it will not publish or air anything defamatory to the Hindi-language film industry, popularly known as Bollywood.
After the death of popular actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June 2020, several Indian channels, including Times Now and Republic TV, had embarked upon blanket coverage of the event and its aftermath, which was largely hostile towards Bollywood. In an unprecedented move, a total of 38 industry bodies and production houses jointly filed a suit in October 2020 in the Delhi High Court for the channels and four leading commentators to cease alleged “irresponsible,” “derogatory” and “defamatory” words and phrases used against the film industry.
On Tuesday, the Times Network, one of the largest and most powerful media groups in India, and the Producers Guild of India released a joint statement.
“This refers to the Suit (CS OS No. 337 of 2020) filed in the Delhi High Court by 4 film associations and 34 production houses (Plaintiffs) against certain television news channels, editors and anchors including Times Now,” the statement said. “The Plaintiffs and Times Now are pleased to confirm that they have settled the matter, and the application for settlement along with Consent Terms is pending for acceptance before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court.”
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“As per the Consent Terms agreed, Times Now reaffirms its commitment to abide by the Program Code under the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 and undertakes not to publish or air anything that is defamatory to the plaintiffs (the Hindi film industry) on the Times Now channel,” the statement added. “With this matter settled, the plaintiffs and the Times Group can look forward to building on their historically cordial relationship.”