The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) on Thursday issued an advisory to television channels, more specifically news channels, urging them to exercise caution when featuring individuals who are facing charges related to serious crimes, including terrorism, or are associated with organizations banned under Indian law.
This advisory comes in the wake of a televised discussion on a foreign television channel that included an individual facing multiple criminal charges, including terrorism, and who is associated with a proscribed organization in India.
During the discussion, this individual made statements that were deemed detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India, its national security, and friendly foreign relations, and had the potential to disrupt public order.
MIB, in a statement yesterday, clarified that while the government upholds the freedom of the media and respects its constitutional rights, content broadcasted by TV channels must align with the provisions outlined in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, including sub-section (2) of Section 20.
In light of the advisory, television channels are expected to exercise discretion and ensure that individuals facing serious criminal charges, particularly those related to terrorism, are not provided a platform that could be misused to propagate views or actions that are against the interests of the country, the government said.
This move by the MIB is aimed at maintaining a balance between media freedom and national security interests, ensuring responsible reporting while safeguarding the nation’s integrity and stability, it said.