Timeline of Gag Orders
Gag orders essentially restrict media or any person from releasing any information or comment being passed on to public. These orders are not limited to the Government alone, the judiciary is also infamous for passing this. The media or such persons are prevented from reporting news or publishing information on grounds like threat to the national security or privacy of individuals.They are passed under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure i.e.for the protection of human health, safety or not to disturb public tranquility. A lot of times, there is no time limit prescribed for such orders. They are lifted at the whims of the Government or judiciary. Recently, the Supreme Court put a gag order on journalists, preventing them from reporting on a case filed by the Andhra Pradesh anti-corruption bureau against high profile personalities . This infringes upon the right of the media to report on cases, and also the right of information of the public. This time line lists out gag orders passed by the Government and the courts. In case we have missed listing an instance of a gag order, please use the report link.
Details of the case : The High court granted bail to a person accused of making objectionable remarks against the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other public representatives on the condition that he will not use social media for a period of two years or till the conclusion of the trial before the Trial Court whichever is earier.
Name of the court/Organization : Allahabad High Court
Sept. 17, 2020
Details of the case : The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to the I&B Ministry, News Broadcasters Association(NBA) and Press Council of India (PCI) on the petition filed by Bollywood actress Rakul Preet Singh seeking to put a stop on the media trial going on against her in connection with the drug probe in Sushant Singh Rajput death case.
Name of the court/Organization : Delhi High Court
Details of the case : The petitoner had argued that after filing of this petition and recusal from the case by the Hon. Judge of this Court, registration of offence immediately projected over the social media and newspapers against the petitioner and also two daughters of a sitting Judge of the SC of India, lead to scandalizing the authority with a mala fide intention, by way of media trial. As a part of interim relief, CJ of the Andhra Pradesh HC directed that the news in regard to registration of FIR shall not be made public. The court also directed that no electronic or print news item be published with respect to the FIR, including social media posts.
Name of the court/Organization : Andhra Pradesh High Court
July 17, 2020
Details of the case : The district administration of Haryana issued orders under the Epidemic Diseases Act to completely ban unverified and misleading news on social media to prevent dissemination of wrong information.
Name of the court/Organization : District Administration of Haryana
May 23, 2020
Details of the case : The order directed banning of content on all social media platforms which might cause panic and confusion among the people and creates mistrust against actions of government officials taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Name of the court/Organization : Deputy Commissione of Police (Operations) and Executive Magistrate
May 12, 2020
Details of the case : The order is applicable for those who air news and opinions on unregistered platforms. It also covers those who share unverifiedand false information in their individual capacity.
Name of the court/Organization : District Collector of Kota and Dholpur
March 11, 2020
Details of the case : The court placed a complete gag order on the Defendants and asked them not to make any communications of any nature on any medium, print or digital, online or otherwise with respect to the Plaintiff.
Name of the court/Organization : Bombay High Court
April 12, 2019
Details of the case : The court held that the impugned order by the Trail judge was a gag order which restrained the defendants from making 'defamatory statements' against the plaintiff. The court held that the defendants are not prevented from publishing or telecasting any news item which is not defamatory in their opinion.The gag order by the Trial judge was lifted by the court.
Name of the court/Organization : Karnataka High Court
March 30, 2019
Details of the case : L.S. Tejasvi Surya, BJP candidate for Bengaluru South, had obtained a temporary injunction order from a local civil court restraining media outlets from publishing “defamatory statements” against him.
Name of the court/Organization : Local civil court in Bangalore
6 Feb. 2018
Details of the case : The court cleared the decks for the all-India release of controversial movie 'Padmaavat' on Jan.25, and stayed notifications and orders issued by Rajasthan and Gujarat prohibiting exhibition of the film in their states.
Name of the court/Organization : State gov. of Rajasthan and Gujarat
Nov. 29, 2017
Details of the case : The special CBI court conducting the trial in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter barred the media from reporting proceedings till further orders.
Name of the court/Organization : Special CBI Court
Nov. 7, 2017
Details of the case : The court has barred the media from reporting on proceedings of the 2008 Gorakhpur hate speech case until the judgement is delivered saying that “wrong reporting” has been “causing a lot of embarrassment” to the state.
Name of the court/Organization : Allahabad High Court
October 20, 2017
Details of the case : A gag order issued by a single judge against milk and dairy development minister on making comments against private dairy companies.
Name of the court/Organization : Madras High Court
May 9, 2017
Details of the case : After convicting J.Karnan to six months imprisonment, the Court also said that no further statements made by him should be published hereafter after the incident of contempt.
Name of the court/Organization : Supreme Court of Inia
7 Nov. 2016
Details of the case : The 24-hour suspension was imposed as a penalty for NDTV's coverage of an attack on the Pathankot air force base.The broadcasting ministry said the channel had divulged "strategically-sensitive details" while covering the attack which took place in January. However the ban was suspended after the Supreme Court agreed to hear NDTV's appeal on Tuesday against it.
Name of the court/Organization : Broadcasting Ministry