I&B ministry opposes SC framing guidelines for TV channels

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 9/18/2020 11:44:35 PM

NEW DELHI, Sep 17: The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has rushed to the Supreme Court against its move to lay down guidelines for the television channels and setting up a panel to provide standards for the electronic media in the wake of its stinging remarks on Tuesday while staying a communal programme "UPSC Jihad" by Sudarshan TV. It said the urgency is to put the digital media under check and not the mainstream media of print and electronic.
"The present petition be confined to only one channel namely Sudarshan TV and this Court may not undertake the exercise of laying down any further guidelines with or without appointment of an Amicus or a Committee of persons as Amicus," it said in an affidavit.
It said the present petition by one Firoz Iqbal Khan is concerned with balancing the journalist's freedom and responsible journalism, which is a field already occupied either by the statutory provisions made by Parliament or by the judgments of the Supreme Court.
The case was further listed for hearing on Thursday before the Bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Ms Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph.
The I&B Ministry urged the Court that if it is keen to regulate the media, it should be the digital media that has wider viewership and also has the potential to turn viral. Its contention is that in case of a mainstream media, electronic or print, the publication or telecast is a one-time act, while the digital media has faster reach to a wider range of readership and has the potential to become viral because of several electronic applications like WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook.
"Considering the serious impact and the potential, it is desirable that if this Court decides to undertake the exercise, it should first be undertaken with regard to digital media as there already exists sufficient framework and judicial pronouncements with regard to electronic media and print media," said the ministry's affidavit.
"The media includes mainstream electronic media, mainstream print media as well as a parallel media namely digital print media and digital web-based news portals and YouTube channels as well as 'Over the Top' (OTT) platforms," the affidavit added.



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