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Centre advises Supreme Court to restrict focus to Sudarshan TV only, scan digital media too

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Centre says Supreme Court should first take notice of digital media, which has a larger reach; News Broadcasters Association also says there are enough regulations in place for electronic and traditional media.


New Delhi: Following up on the Supreme Court’s recent restraining order on a controversial and allegedly communal programme on Sudarshan TV, the Centre has jumped into the fray. In a petition before the top court the Centre has made it clear that since the petition is confined to only one channel, Sudarshan TV, the Supreme 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.

The petition from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting says:

“…in view of the issue having already received attention of the Parliament, as well as, of this Hon’ble Court, the present petition be confined to only one channel namely Sudarshan T.V. and this Hon’ble 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.”

The Centre made it clear in the petition that it is the digital media which the Supreme Court should look at first and then TV or electronic media as the latter is governed by cases and precedents.

Sudarshan TV

The Centre submitted that while in a mainstream media, the publication and telecast is a one-time act, the digital media has faster reach, a wider range of viewership, readership and has the potential to become viral because of several electronic applications like WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook. 

The petition said that considering the serious impact and the potential, it is desirable that if the Supreme Court decides to undertake the exercise, it should first be undertaken with regard to digital media as there already exist sufficient framework and judicial pronouncements with regard to electronic media and print media.

Read Also: Resolution of cases against MPs, MLAs: Amicus tells Supreme Court cases should be completed in 1 yr; govt willing to push the issue too

The Centre said that the area of balancing freedom of speech and responsible journalism is already governed by statutory provisions and past judgments.

The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) filed an affidavit, saying that matters dealing with similar issues regarding allegations of communalisation of a particular community are pending before the Chief Justice of the court. 

The NBA has stated that there already exist rules and laws governing the electronic media.

–   India Legal Bureau

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