Print & digital media hardly ever cross line, digital media is totally uncontrolled: Centre to SC


New Delhi, September 21

The print and digital media “rarely cross the line” by the very nature of their composition however the digital media is “completely uncontrolled” and “remains unregulated” by and huge, the Centre has advised the Supreme Court.

The authorities stated if the apex court docket considers it essential to put down tips for mainstream digital and print media, it’s the “need of the hour” that the train ought to begin first with net based mostly digital media.

In a recent affidavit filed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting stated the highest court docket might depart wider points to be determined the central authorities and the competent legislature or begin the train with digital media.

The affidavit was filed in a pending matter during which the apex court docket is listening to a petition which has raised grievance over Sudarshan TV’s ‘Bindas Bol’ programme whose promo had claimed that channel would present the ‘big expose on conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims in government service’.

The Centre had final week filed a brief affidavit within the matter and stated that if the Supreme Court decides on the problem of media regulation then such an train ought to be undertaken with the digital media first because it has quicker attain and data has the potential to go viral as a result of purposes like WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook.

The recent affidavit additional stated: “By the very nature of its composition, the print and electronic media would rarely cross the line which may need intervention of this court frequently. As against that, by its very nature the web based digital media, by and large, remains unregulated.”         

It stated as in opposition to the limitation in case of print media and mainstream digital media, nothing is required for accessing digital media besides a wise telephone.

“This shows its potential spread and its potential to harm the very fabric of any nation. The electronic media would normally have a geographical barrier and would rarely have a global presence. The digital media, on the other hand, has global presence both in terms of content coming from out of India and the content going out from within the country,” it stated.

“As against this, there is absolutely no check on the web based digital media. Apart from spreading venomous hatred, deliberate and intended instigation to not only cause violence but even terrorism it is also capable of indulging in tarnishing the image of individuals and institutions. The said practice is, in fact, rampant,” the affidavit stated.

It stated any additional regulation of digital and print media by the court docket, both by means of tips or offering for any redressal mechanism, would incentivise broadcasters to make use of digital media much less and telecast/ publish the identical factor on digital platforms which might stay unregulated regardless of having wider attain with none corresponding duty or obligation.

“However, if this court considers it necessary to lay down guidelines for the mainstream electronic and print media (which is not required as pointed out hereinabove), it is the need of the hour that this court starts the said exercise first with ‘web based digital media’ which includes ‘web magazines’ and ‘web-based news channels’ and ‘web-based news-papers’ as the same not only has a very wide reach but is completely uncontrolled,” it stated.

It reiterated that regulation of digital and print media is considerably occupied by both legislative area or judicial pronouncements.

“By and large the dividing line—what is freedom of expression and what is not— is also capable of being culled out through various judicial pronouncements. The term ‘hate speech’ by its very nature is incapable of being precisely defined except by considering each case depending upon the facts arising therefrom,” it stated.

It stated the court docket might not widen the scope of the plea by laying down any wider tips of common software and should depart the identical to the competent legislature to offer the identical.

“It is also relevant to note that in case of electronic and print media, the security of the nation is also taken care of at the time of the registration and/or grant of license to the company or the organization intending to publish or broadcast either newspaper or a news-channel,” it stated.

It stated that India has about 385 common information channels that are registered or licensed by the central authorities below the Uplinking and Downlinking Policy Guidelines.

It stated that News Broadcasters Association (NBA) isn’t the only affiliation having all broadcasters as its members and as is a non-statutory voluntary physique, its membership can also be voluntary.

It stated one other comparable affiliation News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) can also be a voluntary organisation having a number of broadcasters together with regional channels as its members.

“Both these two associations have their own self-regulatory mechanism which is not only robust but can inspire confidence as both such self-regulatory mechanism are headed by a former judge of this court,” it stated.

It stated self-regulatory mechanism for redressal of complaints in case of all of the aforesaid organisations are, by and huge, efficient and ensures impartiality.

It stated membership of such organisations does require examination as no broadcaster may be compelled to grow to be a member of any of the voluntary organisations compulsorily.

“This question is under examination of the central government as regards the manner and procedure to ensure one statutory umbrella mechanism redressal of grievances while completely ensuring journalistic freedom..,” it stated. — PTI 



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