Issuing a strongly-worded advisory on Saturday, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting pulled up satellite TV channels for their coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war and the recent communal tensions in North-west Delhi. Under the provisions laid down in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, the I&B ministry warned that the Central government may regulate or prohibit the transmission of a channel or programme if it “considers it necessary”.
The ministry, in its advisory, said that certain channels have been covering events and incidents in a manner “that appears to be unauthentic, misleading, sensational and using socially unacceptable language and remarks, offending good taste and decency”. In particular, the ministry flagged the coverage of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the communal clashes that broke out in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri on Hanuman Jayanti.
The ministry alleged that channels have been making false claims about the conflict in Ukraine, and have been using “scandalous headlines/taglines that are often unrelated to the news item”. Meanwhile, the I&B ministry accused the channels of “aggravating communal tensions” in their coverage of the Jahangirpuri violence.
The advisory alleged that the coverage by TV channels included “provocative headlines and videos of violence that may incite communal hatred among the communities and disrupt peace and law and order.”
“It was also observed that in the news, some of channels broadcast debates having unparliamentary, provocative and socially unacceptable language, communal remarks and derogatory references which may have a negative psychological impact on viewers and may also incite communal disharmony and disturb the peace at large,” the advisory read.