Written by Zulfick Farzan
03 Jul, 2021 | 9:58 am
COLOMBO (News 1st); The Colombo District Court upholds responsibility of journalists & media to raise ‘MATTERS OF PUBLIC INTEREST’.
Among other matters this was stated in delivering the Order in regard to the application on interim injunction on 2 July 2021 in the case filed by George Steuart Health (Pvt) Ltd against MTV Channel (Pvt) Ltd.
The Court stated that under the current global pandemic situation the quality of the rapid antigen test kits used to diagnose and to restrict the spreading of pandemic, importation of such in accordance with due procedure/regulation, the transparency and matters pertaining to public health and such matters that people are interested in, are MATTERS OF PUBLIC INTEREST and this is unarguable.
As such court stated that the responsibility vested with journalists and media to state their views pertaining to such matters and to state reasonable criticism based on truthful facts, is inalienable.
The court stated that a defamatory statement, especially an implicitly defamatory statement, is a very controversial issue even before a court of law.
Therefore, when applying the reasonable man’s test, it is not an easy task for a court to come to a conclusion as to whether a questionable statement is, in fact, defamatory or not.
The court added that therefore, if a journalist is compelled to think twice about a news report on raising awareness among the public for their betterment, or if a journalist is forced to exercise self-retainment with respect to the said news report, the publics’ Right to Information will be unnecessarily restricted.
As such, an interim injunction that can restrict the right to publication, has to have certainty, clarity and should not be unnecessarily very broad, if it is violated it has to be a one that easily punishable and also interim injunction should be a one that restricts the misuse of law and the judicial process.
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