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‘Be careful while reporting’

ENARADA, Bengaluru, June 3, 2016

Justice H.N. Nagmohana Das, Retired Judge, Karnataka High court. Photo by www.enarada.com

Justice H.N. Nagamohandas, Retired Judge, Karnataka High court delivering speech. Photo by www.enarada.com

Journalists need to be careful while reporting as Supreme Court has recently upheld the constitutional validity of the country’s colonial-era criminal defamation laws. Addressing a one day seminar on “Defamation is a Criminal offence and its effect on Media” organised by Karnataka Media Academy at Bengaluru on June 3.

Justice HN Nagamohandas said under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, defamation was a criminal offence. Defamatory acts can include “words either spoken or intended to be read”, signs or visible representations, which are published or put up in the public domain.

The offence is punishable with up to two-year imprisonment, a fine or both.

He said the Apex Court has categorically stated, “Reputation of one cannot be allowed to be crucified at the altar of the other’s right of free speech.” The judgement will put politicians and media figures, some of whom are already facing charges of criminal defamation, on the defensive. “Dissent is required, but it does not grant an unfettered right to damage a reputation, according to Supreme Court. One is bound to tolerate criticism, dissent and discordance but not expected to tolerate defamatory attack, according to the court which has described freedom of expression as a highly treasured value under the Constitution. Hence, journalists need to  due diligence before reporting,” he added.

You can watch the full speech of Justice Nagamohan Das’ here…….

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