Broadcasters' body upset with govt's notices to channels

Broadcasters' body upset with govt's notices to channels

Objecting to the government’s notice to three channels over the coverage of the death sentence of 1993 Mumbai blast convict Yakub Memon, the Broadcast Editors’ Association (BEA) said it would take up the issue with authorities.

The Information & Broadcasting Ministry issued separate notices to ABP News, Aaj Tak and NDTV seeking explanation from them within 15 days as to why action should not be taken against them for the coverage on Memon.

‘Disrespect to judiciary’
The government charged the channels of showing disrespect to the judiciary and the President of India by airing certain contents on the day Memon was hanged.
The BEA expressed concern over the apparent tendency among governments", both at the Centre and in some states, to serve notices on media organisations in a “selective manner”.

“We expressed dismay over the latest notices reportedly issued to three channels- -ABP News, Aaj Tak and NDTV--on the questionable pretext that their coverage pertaining to Memon’s death sentence amounted to contempt of the institution of the president as also the judiciary. The BEA has decided to take up this issue with the government,” the association’s president Shazi Zaman and general secretary N K Singh said in a statement.

It also expressed concern over an amendment made by the government in Cable Television Networks Rules to limit the media coverage of anti-terrorist operations to “periodic briefings” by an officer “till such operation concludes”.

‘What is a terror op?’
“This amended rule does not mention what constitutes a terrorist operation as different from any other encounter; at what stage should the government notify the nature of the incident to the media and does it mean restriction on only airing of the operation till such operation is over or does it deny the right to cover the incident per se,” the BEA said.

While the association made it clear that it did not “believe in” live visual coverage of terror incidents, it also said that media coverage could not be restricted to official briefings.

“However, there are ample self-regulatory guidelines regarding coverage of terror incidents which this body strictly adheres to,” it said.

At its executive body meeting held on Saturday, the BEA also decided to take up the defamation notices issued by the government of Rajasthan to the Times Now news channel and privilege proceedings initiated by the Uttar Pradesh Assembly against Aaj Tak.

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