Refrain from live coverage of riots, Centre tells TV channels

Refrain from live coverage of riots, Centre tells TV channels

The Centre has asked news channels to refrain from airing live or file shots of incidents of rioting over Karnataka’s dispute with Tamil Nadu on sharing of the Cauvery water.

Issuing an advisory to broadcasters, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Tuesday also asked all news channels to air “views or comments” relating to the dispute only after “proper verification of facts”.

“It has come to the notice of the Ministry that in the wake of recent incidents related to the Cauvery water dispute, certain TV channels have been telecasting provocative and inflammatory news programmes. Some TV channels have also been airing footage of violent incidents, rioting etc repeatedly,” the ministry noted. Airing of such programmes on news channels could further ignite tensions and reactions, leading to further deterioration in the law and order situation in “both the affected states”, it stated.

“Whereas it is felt that news, views or comments relating to Cauvery water dispute should be telecast only after and presented with due caution and restraint in a manner which is in the public interest for maintaining harmony,” the Ministry added. In a separate statement, I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also appealed to the people of both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to maintain peace. He urged the people not to indulge in “rioting and violence”.

The Union Minister also urged both the state governments to take “effective steps” to check the spread of violence “immediately”.

Asking the media to exercise restraint in the coverage of incidents, he also urged them to “cooperate” in bringing the situation back to normal.

“Telecast of live or file shots of violence or rioting may be avoided. Reportage may use shots of Cauvery river and security forces. While reporting the incidents, care may be exercised in the choice of words.” the I&B ministry stated.

Referring to the programme code and advertising code as prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, the ministry said all broadcasters were “bound to follow” them.

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