Bombay HC Asserts Balance Between Press Freedom and Right to Reputation


GG News Bureau
Mumbai, 18th April. 
In a recent ruling, the Bombay High Court emphasized the delicate balance between press freedom and an individual’s right to reputation. The court’s decision came in response to a case involving journalist Waahiid Ali Khan, who was asked to remove online articles and videos targeting a businessman.

Justice Bharati Dangre, in an order issued on April 2 and made available on Wednesday, deemed the articles and videos uploaded by Khan as prima facie defamatory. The businessman, Khanjan Thakkar, sought an interim order for the removal of the content, as he had already filed a defamation suit against Khan seeking ₹100 crore in damages.

The court observed that while investigative journalism is important, it does not enjoy special protection, and journalists cannot use freedom of speech and expression as a shield when someone’s reputation is at stake. Justice Dangre stressed the need to balance press freedom with an individual’s right to reputation, stating that every person has an inherent right to maintain their reputation.

Highlighting the emerging challenge of cyber defamation in the digital age, the High Court noted that Khan’s articles and videos lacked supporting material and were not in the public interest. While journalists have a duty to inform the public, this cannot come at the expense of defaming an individual.

The court’s ruling underscores the importance of responsible journalism and the consequences of crossing the line between free speech and defamation in the digital realm. It serves as a reminder that while press freedom is crucial, it must be exercised within the bounds of respecting individuals’ reputations and rights.

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