India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Monday issued an advisory to all television channels against reporting incidents of accidents, deaths, and violence, including those against women, children and elderly, in manners that grossly compromise the “good taste and decency”
The advisory has been issued after several instances of lack of discretion by television channels were noticed by the government.
“The manner of reporting such incidents is distasteful, heart wrenching, distressful, indignifying, sensational, thereby offending good taste and decency. Such reporting also has an adverse psychological impact on the children,” the MIB said in its advisory.
It added a crucial issue of invasion of privacy, which could be potentially maligning and defamatory, also comes into play when such visuals are aired on TV.
“In most of these cases, it was also observed that these video clips, etc. have been taken by the broadcasters from social media and little effort has been made to modulate or attune or edit such clips so as to make it compliant and consistent with the spirit of the Programme Code,” the advisory asserted.
The MIB has also listed the aberrations over a year of time that led to the advisory.
For example, on May 25, 2022 a TV channel aired a disturbing incident of a man brutally beating two minor boys with a stick in Chirang district of Assam. The clip was played without blurring or muting the sound and the boys’ painful cries could clearly be heard.
Television, being a platform usually watched by families in households with people of all age groups with different socio-economic backgrounds, a certain sense of responsibility and discipline among the broadcasters is expected, as enshrined in the Programme and Advertising Codes, the Ministry said.
Such telecast by the television channels is a matter of grave concern, MIB cautioned, adding that in view of the larger public interest an advisory is being issued.