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No showing divisive content, I&B ministry tells TV networks

November 09, 2019 20:05 IST

The ministry of information and broadcasting on Saturday issued an advisory to all television channels and cable TV operators in the wake of the Supreme Court's Ayodhya verdict to adhere to programme code and ensure that debates, discussions and visuals do not incite any "divisive" or "anti-national" feelings. 

Photograph: PTI Photo.

The ministry also urged the Press Council of India to sensitise the print media to ensure that Norms of Journalistic Conduct under the Press Council of India Act, 1978, are strictly adhered to while reporting on the matter. 

The Supreme Court, in a historic verdict on Saturday, backed the construction of a Ram temple by a trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya, and ruled that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for a mosque in the Hindu holy town. 

 

The I&B ministry, in its advisory, said it becomes imperative to ensure that debates, discussions and visuals carried in the electronic media do not incite any divisive or "anti-national" feelings or sentiments. 

"It is advised that particular caution be taken that all broadcast is in strict conformity to the Programme Code enshrined under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995," the advisory read. 

It states no programme should contain attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote "anti-national" attitudes. 

No programme should contain "anything obscene, defamatory, false, and suggestive innuendos and half-truths", the advisory said. 

It states that no programme should carry anything that is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promotes "anti-national" attitudes. 

The advisory also instructs that no programme should contain anything amounting to contempt of court or anything affecting the integrity of the country. 

No programme should carry anything that criticises, maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social, public or moral life of the country. 

The News Broadcasting Standards Authority last month had advised all television channels to take "caution" while reporting on the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri masjid case and avoid "inflammatory debates" which are likely to create tension. 

The NBSA, a self-regulating body for news channels, had also advised channels that no footage of the demolition of the Babri masjid is to be shown in any news item relating to the Ayodhya matter.

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