Centre government on Monday has submitted its response regarding reforming the guidelines for electronic and print media which states that digital media is “completely uncontrolled” and is rampantly tarnishing the reputations of people apart from spreading venomous hatred and violence.
It was submitted that if the top court is persuaded to lay down the guidelines for electronic and print media (which the government feels is not required), the process must be started with the digital media.
“In case this Hon’ble Court desires to travel into the wider issues then the issue in question, including particular series or a particular TV channel, it is absolutely inevitable to start with digital media,” submitted the Centre.
The affidavit stated that the Supreme Court should either leave the decision to the government and competent legislature to frame fresh guidelines for print and electronic media or start this exercise with controlling digital media first.
The affidavit also mentioned that the broadcaster and publisher can also use the digital media to publish the content if violating the codes for electronic and print media.
Centre also stated, “If Supreme Court wants to lay down guidelines, then include web magazines, web-based news channels, and web-based newspapers as they have wide reach and it completely uncontrolled. These portals, web magazines, and channels ran on video hosting platforms such as YouTube, which had lakhs and crores of subscribers.”
The Centre submitted, “The self-regulatory mechanism for redressal of complaints against electronic broadcast channels are, by and large effective and ensures impartiality. Thus, it is not desirable to “widen the scope of present petition by laying down any wider guidelines of general application.”
Besides that, the petitioner, Advocate Firoz Iqbal Khan has also filed a rejoinder affidavit in which he stated that the petition cannot be treated as private litigation as it could have wide grave ramifications on the public.
The affidavit contended, “Impugned show was a “deliberate and malicious” attempt at communalising the atmosphere and stroking the fires of communalism. The affidavit cited the Constitutional morality and ethos and said the effect of the broadcast was “very wide and of grave national interest”, which could dent the vibrant and unique secular fabric and cultural diversity of our country.”