The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) has directed four Hindi news channels to air apologies for violating journalistic norms while reporting the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
It also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Aaj Tak.
Sushant was found dead at his home in Mumbai on June 14. The case was initially suspected to be a suicide and was probed by the Mumbai Police. It was later handed over to CBI which is yet to officially release its conclusions.
All TV channels incessantly reported on the death of the actor, some even sensationalising the death and accusing Sushant's girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty for his death.
AajTak, Zee News, India TV and News 24 have been found in violation of journalistic norms, the authority said in its order.
According to a Live Law report, the order passed in a complaint filed by filmmaker Nilesh Navalakha who was represented by Advocates Rajesh Inamdar and Shashwat Anand.
Aaj Tak has been asked to to air an apology on October 27 at 8 PM and to pay a fine of Rs One Lakh for attributing fake tweets to Sushant Singh Rajput and reporting them as his last tweets.
Zee News has been asked to air public apology on October 27 at 9 pm for sensationalising the death of the actor.
India TV has been asked to air public apology on October 27 at 9 pm for showing the body of Rajput.
The NBSA has asked News24 to air a public apology on October 29 at 9 pm for insensitive and sensational coverage on the case.
Another Hindi TV channel ABP News has been asked by NBSA to comply with the direction to remove objectionable videos of coverage of the death of the actor.
This comes as hearing on PILs alleging media trial in the reportage of the Sushant Singh Rajput's death case is underway at the Bombay High Court.
The Bombay High Court on Friday observed that the media has become "highly polarised" and changed over time while journalists were "neutral" in the past. The court also remarked that it was a question not of regulation but "checks and balances".
As lawyers of news channels cited old judgments to argue against a statutory regulatory mechanism, the court remarked that the media has changed.
"The media was neutral then (in the past). It is now highly polarised....This is not a question of regulation, this is a question of checks and balances. People forget where to draw lines. Do it within lines." "You want to criticize the government, do it. The issue is someone has died and the allegation is you are interfering," the court added.