IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


30th March, 2024 Economy


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  • The Supreme Court recently overturned a trial judge's order instructing Bloomberg to remove an article on SEBI's investigation into Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE).
  • The ruling sheds light on considerations for pre-trial injunctions and warns against the misuse of Strategic Litigation against Public Participation (SLAPP) suits.

Considerations for Pre-Trial Injunctions

  • Test for Pre-Trial Injunctions: The Supreme Court outlined the established three-pronged test used by the trial court judge.
  • Mechanical Application Critique: Criticizing the mechanical application of the test, the court emphasized the need for detailed reasoning to justify each prong's satisfaction.
  • Additional Factors: The court underscored the importance of additional factors, particularly in cases involving media platforms accused of defamation.
  • Balancing Free Speech and Reputation: Judges must strike a balance between the right to free speech and the right to reputation while considering pre-trial injunctions.

Caution Against SLAPP Suits

  • Understanding SLAPP Suits: The court elucidated SLAPP suits as litigations initiated by entities with substantial economic power to stifle public awareness and participation in matters of public interest.
  • Impact of Injunctions: Injunctions against journalists and media outlets can impede freedom of speech, acting as a "death sentence" for published material.
  • Prolonging Litigation: Courts must recognize how injunctions can prolong litigation, hindering free speech and public engagement.

International Precedents and Anti-SLAPP Measures

  • Origin of SLAPP Suit Terminology: The term "SLAPP suit" originated in the 1980s and gained prominence through academic works.
  • Global Anti-SLAPP Measures: Some international forums, including the European Parliament, have adopted anti-SLAPP laws to safeguard journalists and media organizations.
  • EU's Anti-SLAPP Directive: The European Parliament's Anti-SLAPP Directive provides procedures to dismiss unfounded cases early, impose costs on litigants, and compensate victims of SLAPP suits.

Case Background and Implications

  • Bloomberg-ZEE Dispute: ZEE initiated defamation proceedings against Bloomberg, alleging economic harm due to a published article on SEBI's investigation.
  • Trial Court's Order: The trial judge directed Bloomberg to remove the article, citing potential irreparable harm to ZEE.
  • Supreme Court's Intervention: The Supreme Court overturned the trial judge's order, emphasizing the need for balanced considerations and detailed reasoning.


  • The Supreme Court's ruling in the Bloomberg-ZEE case underscores the importance of judiciously considering pre-trial injunctions and cautioning against the misuse of SLAPP suits.
  • It reaffirms the fundamental principles of free speech while acknowledging the complexities of balancing competing rights in defamation cases.


Q. Discuss the impact of Strategic Litigation against Public Participation (SLAPP) suits on freedom of speech and media activism, emphasizing recent judicial perspectives on pre-trial injunctions against media organizations.