Media has taken over the sphere of public expression at a lightning speed and necessitated that our lawmakers also keep up with its growth in terms of its regulation. With newer concepts being introduced and greater reach of mass media platforms, issues related to media, its creation and use have also multiplied. Issues include right to privacy, fake advertisements and fake news, net neutrality and regulatory standards to name a few. Earlier the government exercised blanket control over the media but with economic and social reforms, globalisation paved way for a media which enjoys greater freedom and autonomy and also wields greater power and influence. Media keeps our freedom of speech and expression alive and kicking. Media through its T.V. shows, advertisements, campaigns and publications keep challenging the age-old social conventions and have been able to fight off a few of them. No doubt it is referred to as the fourth pillar of democracy. They hold the other three parts of the state accountable to its citizens by playing the role of a watch dog, a whistle blower, and an illuminator. However, this field isn’t free of legal troubles as well and our law firm also represents individuals or groups on both sides of the screen in lawsuits.
Some significant legislations related to print media include:
• The Newspaper (Prices and Pages) Act, 1956
• Defence of India Act, 1962
• Press Council Act, 1978
• Civil Defence Act, 1968
These laws have empowered the government to enforce censorship on the final object which might be prejudicial to defence and civil defence. The government can prescribe changes, approve the size/pages of news publications and regulate media houses. Often these statutes have also been misused by parties in power to their advantage and to stifle dissent.
India is home to one of the largest film industries across the globe and we produce the maximum number of feature films annually, in myriad languages. The Cinematographic Act, 1962 is the primary statute for the regulation of the film industry through the process of censorship and certification of films. The need to discuss the constitutional safeguards present for free speech in media was acknowledged for the first time by the Supreme Court in K.A. Abbas case. It led to the realisation that a professional self-regulatory body must be instituted to exercise the power in a just manner in the larger interest of maintaining public morality and decency. Advertisements must strike a healthy balance between endorsement and statement of facts to garner more viewers and consumers, at the same time sticking to ethics and abstaining from citing any misleading claims. Taking inspiration and cues from advertising authorities of other countries, Indian government also formed Advertising Standards Council of India for protection of the rights of customers and audience. Both individuals and business houses involved in Media and advertising often finds themselves caught in legal disputes related to their work operations. The aid and advice of lawyers who have had successful stints in media and advertising law is must to ensure your case is in reliable hands and to strengthen your lawsuit.
Our team of lawyers handling media and advertising lawsuits have years of experience and have successfully represented various well established media houses and rescued them from frivolous lawsuits which could have ended up eating into their precious time and reputation. Our approach has always been to study the matter in detail first and then brain storm to come up all possible arguments and defense and be prepared for the worst in the court room. We leave no gaps for the opposite party to exploit and work to ensure we win.