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SC Seeks Response From Centre, PCI On Jamaat Plea Against Media Coverage of Markaz

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The Supreme Court today has sought reply from the Centre and the Press Council of India on actions taken by them against communalization of Nizamuddin Markaz issue by certain sections of the media within a period of 2 weeks.

The bench has further asked the Press Council of India to submit a report within 2 weeks on the actions that can be taken against the media channels under Section 19 and 20 of the Cable Television Networks Act, 1995.

The bench comprising of the Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy was hearing a petition filed by Jamiat-Ulama-i –Hind which has submitted that the actions of certain sections of media are against the letter and spirit of the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards issued by the News Broadcasters association which is the regulatory body for news channels. Further such reporting is also in violation of Rule 6 of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 which prohibits any programme which contains attack on religious communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes.

The petitioners have submitted that such reporting has triggered communal antagonism and religious hatred thus disturbing communal harmony in the country.

The petitioner has further submitted that the state had failed to check communalization of content by media and by not taking action against such unsocial elements the state had failed in its duty to give equal protection of law to all persons in India under Article 14 of the Constitution.

On the previous hearing the bench had refused to pass any interim order and had asked the petitioner to implead the Press Council of India as a party to the case.

-India Legal Bureau

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