A recent advisory issued to private satellite TV channels by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to refrain from making false claims and using scandalous headlines
Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued an advisory to private TV news channels against making false claims and using scandalous headlines. The Ministry has called for adherence to the provisions of Section 20 of The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 including to the Programme Code laid down under it after finding that in the recent past several Satellite TV channels have carried out coverage of events and incidents in a manner which appears to be unauthentic, misleading, sensational and using socially unacceptable language and remarks, offending good taste and decency, and obscene and defamatory and having communal overtones. The advisory has cited the Ukraine-Russian conflict and the incidence in North-West Delhi in particular where TV news content and debates have been found in violation of Programme Code.
While in the case of reporting on Ukraine-Russia conflict the Ministry has found channels making scandalous headlines unrelated to the news item and journalists making unsubstantiated and fabricated claims and using hyperbole in order to incite audience, in case of Delhi violence, certain channels have aired news items with provocative headlines and videos of violence that may incite communal hatred among the communities and disrupt peace and law and order. The channels have further fabricated headlines giving communal colour to actions of authorities.
The Ministry has noted and also cautioned private TV channels against broadcasting debates having unparliamentary, provocative and socially unacceptable language, communal remarks and derogatory references which may have a negative psychological impact on viewers and may also incite communal disharmony and disturb the peace at large.
This is not the first time when it is done, earlier has done this under Uplinking/Downlinking Guidelines of 2005/2011 for adherence to the Programme Code read with The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. This is done by virtue of Sub-section (2) of Section 20, which permits the Central Government to do it by order on the grounds of (i) sovereignty or integrity of India; or (ii) security of India; or (iii) friendly relations of India with any foreign State; or (iv) public order, decency or morality,”
Another pertinent provision in this regard is sub-section (3) of Section 20 of the Act which (among other things) allows the Central Government if it “considers that any programme of any channel is not in conformity with the prescribed programme code referred to in section 5 or the prescribed advertisement code referred to in section 6, it may by order, regulate or prohibit the transmission or re-transmission of such program”.
Read advisory here.
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