Delhi HC restrains YouTube channels from sharing fake news on Big B's granddaughter
The Delhi High Court on Thursday restrained a number of YouTube channels from spreading or continuing to broadcast videos that make false claims regarding Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan's daughter Aaradhya Bachchan.
Aaradhya (11), the granddaughter of Amitabh Bachchan, has sought an injunction against such reporting by the media about her as she is a minor.
While issuing notice on the plea, Justice C. Hari Shankar restrained the YouTube channels and their affiliates from spreading or continuing to broadcast the videos mentioned in the plaint.
"Defendants 1-9 are also restrained from creating publishing, uploading or disseminating of any videos which are identical or similar in content to the videos forming subject matter of the aforesaid URLs. It is clarified that this would encompass all videos that deal with the physical condition of the plaintiff. In other words, Defendants are completely restrained from disseminating on any platform available across the internet relating to the mental or physical health of the plaintiff," the court said.
It is to be noted that Google LLC and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Grievance Cell) were also made parties in the case and the former was directed to reveal the identity of the defendants to the Bachchans and immediately take steps to deactivate the URLs mentioned in the plaint.
"On the plaintiff bringing to their notice any other videos clip uploaded on its platform dealing with physical health and well-being of the plaintiff, Google will take immediate steps to take those down," the judge said.
The Centre was also ordered by the court to prohibit access to all of the content as well as to any other videos or clips with content that is comparable.
Further directions were given to Google to clarify its policy and show compliance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines Digital Media ethics) Rules in order to demonstrate that it has changed its policy in order to comply with the amendment that was made.
The court noted that although this was not the first instance of false information being shared about a celebrity, when it involved a child, it revealed a morbid perversity and total disregard for the child in question.
The judge said: "Every child is entitled to be treated with honour and respect whether he/she is child of celebrity or a commoner. Circulating information with respect to mental and physical health of child is completely impermissible in law."
The Bachchan family claims that they came across multiple videos on YouTube claiming that Aaradhya was seriously ill and had been admitted to the hospital.
Even that she had passed away was said in one of the videos.
The videos further claimed that the Bachchans did nothing to get the child immediate medical care, they contended.
However, Aaradhya is in good health and has not been hospitalised, according to the plaint, which was filed.
Representing Aaradhya, Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan referred to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules which provide for due diligence by the intermediaries with regard to content which is harmful to a child.
"In the age of social media, the reputation of a public person has become a child's play and here a child has to suffer," he said.
The videos, according to the plaint, infringe the plaintiff's right to privacy and damage the reputation of the Bachchan family.