Karnataka HC says it’s ‘high time’ that courts ‘bestow supervisory jurisdiction’ on media

It made these comments while quashing criminal proceedings against four Kannada papers.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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The Karnataka High Court has suggested that it’s “high time” for the courts to “bestow its supervisory jurisdiction on the print and electronic media” on certain occasions.

These comments were part of an order passed by Justice V Srishananda last week while quashing criminal proceedings against the editors of four Kannada newspapers: Samyukta Karnataka, Hosadiganta, Navodaya and Kittur Karnataka

The papers had allegedly used “unparliamentary” language, like “Taliban” and “goonda”, while reporting on advocates in Bengaluru in 2012. They subsequently issued apologies. Considering the matter had been pending for 10 years, the court quashed criminal proceedings against them.

In the order uploaded by Bar and Bench, the court said journalists “owe a social responsibility to maintain peace and tranquillity” and must work with “utmost care and caution” as the fourth pillar of democracy. 

“Even today, major section of society believe that the news item published in the newspaper as gospel truth without even looking for corroboration or verification,” the order said. “When such is the confidence that has been reposed by the general public of the country in media, the role of the persons who handle print and electronic media are required to show utmost restraint in using unparliamentary or defamatory words while reporting the news item.”

Last year, Newslaundry had reported on how the judiciary has turned its gaze to the media, criticising hate speech and media trials. But does this border on judicial overreach? Read our report for more.

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