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SC says need to regulate electronic media; Centre bats for journalistic freedom

SC says need to regulate electronic media; Centre bats for journalistic freedom

On Tuesday the Supreme Court said that the regulation of electronic media is needed as most of the channels are only in the race for TRPs and this is going towards more sensationalism. On the other hand, the Centre, while advocating the freedom of journalism, told the court that controlling the press would be fatal for any democracy.

A bench of Justices Dhananjay Y Chandrachud, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice KM Joseph clarified that it is not suggesting imposing censorship on the media but there should be some kind of automatic control in the media. The bench remarked that it is difficult to regulate the Internet but now there is a need to regulate electronic media.

The court made this remark during the hearing on the questions raised about the promo of Sudarshan TV program ‘Bindas Bol’. In this promo it has been claimed that the ‘Bindas Bol’ program will expose the alleged intrusion of Muslims in government jobs.

The apex court said that there is a need for some kind of automatic control in the media but Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that the freedom of journalists is supreme. It would be fatal for any democracy to control the press.

The apex court stayed the telecast of two episodes of the program saying, at the moment; at first glance it seems that the program is going to discredit the Muslim community.

The court remarked, ‘Most of the TV’s are only in the race for TRPs. Mehta said that sometimes some channels are also used to keep the accused on their side. He said that it is also necessary to see if this platform can be given to any accused to present his defence.

The bench said that we are not saying that the states will impose such guidelines because it will become a curse for freedom of speech and expression as provided in Article 19 of the Constitution.

The bench said, “Electronic media has become more powerful than print media and has not favoured the ban before broadcasting.”

Justice Chandrachud said, ‘I am not saying that the state should control the electronic media but for this there should be some kind of automatic control talking about electronic media.

Mehta said that there should be some kind of automatic control but the freedom of the journalist should be maintained.

By Priya Kumari