‘Must regulate digital media first’: Centre tells Supreme Court on standard guidelines for news channels
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Asking the Supreme Court to first regulate the digital media, the Centre in its affidavit submitted to the top court said that when it comes to laying down standards, the SC must look into regulating the digital media before the electronic media as it has far more impact and a vast reach.
The Centre also contends that SC should not lay down standards without an amicus or committee of amicus since its one show or a few episodes.
"Digital media has faster reach, potential to become viral due to apps like WhatsApp and Facebook," says the Centre's affidavit, adding that "Digital media has serious impact and because of its potential, the court must first take up digital media".
The Centre’s affidavit came after a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court directed a private news channel to hold the broadcast of its programme on 'big expose on the conspiracy regarding Muslims "infiltrating government service’, until further orders. "You cannot target one community and brand them in a particular manner," the top court had said.
"We don't want any persons of politically divisive nature and we need members who are are of commendable stature," it added.
However, in its 33-page affidavit to the top court, the Centre said that it is the digital media which the court should look at first as there are sufficient framework and guidelines for the electronic media and print media and they are earlier governed by cases and precedents.
"The issue of balancing freedom of speech and responsible journalism has already been governed by statutory provisions and judgments," the affidavit said.
"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 YouTube channels as well as ‘Over The Top’ platforms," reads the Centre's affidavit.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday restrained a private channel from telecasting its episodes of 'Bindas Bol' programme for two days on alleged “infiltration of Muslims in civil services, saying “the intent” of aired episodes “prima facie” appears to “vilify” the community.
“At this stage, prima facie, it does appear to the Court that the intent, object and purpose of the episodes which have been telecast is to vilify the Muslim community. An insidious attempt has been made to insinuate that the community is involved in a conspiracy to infiltrate the civil services,” a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said in the order.
The bench suggested that a committee of apolitical experts of distinguished citizens or former judges may be appointed to help in self-regulating the electronic media especially.
(With PTI Inputs)
Posted By: Talib Khan