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Soon, TV coverage in emergency may be restricted

December 03, 2008 21:15 IST

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Amid concerns that the media coverage of the Mumbai terror attack may have hampered the operation against terrorists, Maharashtra government is considering restricting the news channels from showing live such incidents.

"The government is mulling the issue of putting some restrictions on live coverage during an emergency situation," a senior official from Home Department told PTI.

The channels were, in fact, banned for some time on the second day of the siege by police as they said it helped terrorists, who were in touch with their masters through phone, to keep a tab on the movement of the commandos who were not only fighting the ultras but also rescuing people.

But the coverage was resumed after some time and continued till the end of the operation.

Later, it was confirmed from phone intercepts between the terrorists and their 'masters across the border' that the incessant live coverage of the operation aided masterminds of the audacious terror strikes to coordinate their movements.

The matter came for discussion at a high level meeting of the state government held after the terror attacks in the city. The suggestion has taken for consideration in order to strengthen the security norms, he said.

"In fact, the suggestion to either ban or restrict channels from displaying live images came from many politicians," he said.

The security agencies involved in the operation have also underlined the need for restraint on part of media, especially the TV news channels, while covering such operations, the source said.

Police sources also said that the coverage was revealing many things like where the hostages were hiding, how many people were inside the hotels and number of commandos battling with terrorists.

"It also sparked rumours among people as there was a competition between channels to give exclusive coverage first without even confirming it from the concerned authorities," the official said.

Such a ban was also imposed on channels during the 2005 flood situation in the state.

It was mandatory for channels to label 'file' coverage if they were showing old footage of floods.

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