“Regulate Digital Media First”: Centre Tells SC Over TV Media Guidelines

The top court had talked of “sensationalism” on TV and had said it would set up a panel to suggest standards for electronic media.

On Thursday, the government told Supreme court that it must look into regulating digital media before electronic TV media when it comes to laying down standards, as the digital media has far more impact and has the potential to go viral.

In relation with the top court’s call for guidelines for TV channels, the government said in a statement that the court must first look at digital media because of its reach and impact, NDTV reported.

“Digital media has faster reach, potential to become viral due to apps like WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook,” Supreme court was told by the centre in an affidavit.

“Digital media has serious impact and because of its potential, the court must first take up digital media,” the centre said.

The government, on the issue of regulations on TV and print media, said said there is “sufficient framework and judicial pronouncements”.”The issue of balancing freedom of speech and responsible journalism has already been governed by statutory provisions and judgments,” it added.

“If the top court wants to undertake the exercise there is no justification to confine this exercise only to mainstream electronic media. The media includes mainstream electronic media, mainstream print media as well as a parallel media namely digital print media and digital web-based news portal and you tube channels as well as ‘Over The Top’ platforms (OTTs),” the centre said.

The affidavit filed by centre was related to a case against a private TV channel, Sudarshan TV, over a show that claims “Muslims are infiltrating” government services. The apex court had stayed the telecast of the show, citing that it villifies one community.

In the same hearing, the top court had talked of “sensationalism” on TV and had said it would set up a panel to suggest standards for electronic media.


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