'Role Of Anchor Critical', Says SC On Hate Speech On TV; Asks 'Why Govt Is Remaining A Mute Spectator'

The apex court while hearing a batch of petitions on hate speech, asks why the government is "remaining a mute spectator".

By Radha Basnet
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 06:05 PM IST
Minute Read
'Role Of Anchor Critical', Says SC On Hate Speech On TV; Asks 'Why Govt Is Remaining A Mute Spectator'
Representative Image (ANI File Photo)

While hearing pleas over incidents of hate speech, the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday came down heavily on television channels and stated that the role of anchor is “very important”.  It also asked why the government is "remaining a mute spectator".

A bench of Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikseh Roy said that anchors of television channels have an important responsibility to ensure that guests invited to their show do not cross the line.

"Role of an anchor is very important. These speeches are on mainstream media or social media that is unregulated. Mainstream TV channels still hold sway. The role of the anchor is critical. It is their duty to see that hate speech doesn't happen," Justice Joseph remarked, as quoted by Bar and Bench.

Highlighting how one TV channel was heavily fined in the United Kingdom, Justice Joseph remarked that freedom of speech is important, and hate speech cannot be allowed on television.

"One channel was fined heavily in the UK. We don't have that here. They are not being dealt with firmly. They can be taken off the air, fined, if such sanction comes...." he remarked.

The Court orally demanded to know why the government remained silent. "Why is the government remaining a mute spectator?" asked Justice Joseph. The Court was hearing a batch of pleas seeking steps to be taken against hate speech incidents.

The court underlined that politicians benefit the most from hate speech and television channels give them the platform for the same.

Senior Counsel Sanjay Hegde also echoed the same sentiments and said "Channels and politicians feed on such speech. Channels get money. They keep ten people in debates," he said.

Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj submitted that 14 States have filed their responses. The Court also directed the Central government to file a counter-affidavit collating the State's inputs and posted the case for further consideration on November 23.

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