The Center has said that if the Supreme Court takes a decision on the issue of media regulation then it should first be taken in relation to digital media, as it reaches people very fast and due to applications like WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook There is also a possibility of information going viral.
The government told the court that adequate framework and judicial decisions exist for electronic and print media also.
A counter affidavit filed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in this case, said that “If the court takes a decision, it should first be taken in the context of digital media, as the adequate framework and judicial decisions relating to electronic media and print media are already in place.”
It stated, ‘Publication, broadcasting takes place only once in mainstream media (electronic and print), while digital media has a wide reach to a wide readership / audience and due to many electronic applications like WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook There is also a possibility of information going viral.
It further stated, ‘The issue of the freedom of speech and the balance of responsible journalism has already been governed by statutory provisions and decisions.’
Calling digital media as parallel media, the center claimed that mainstream media should include digital web based news platforms along with print and electronic media, YouTube channel along with OTT platform.
This affidavit has been filed in a past pending case, in which the apex court is hearing a petition filed against Sudarshan TV’s ‘Bindaas Bol’ program. The promo of this program has claimed that the channel ‘will reveal a major conspiracy to infiltrate the Muslims into government services’.
On 15 September, a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud has stayed the telecast of two episodes of ‘Bindas Bol’ for two days on Tuesday. The court said that at first glance this program is seem to malign the Muslim community.
Banning the show, the apex court termed India as a country of diversities of different civilizations, cultures, religions and languages, saying that any attempt to humiliate a religious community as a custodian of constitutional values was severely disrespected by this court As should be seen.
During the hearing of the petition, the bench suggested that a committee could be formed to help in self-regulation of electronic media.
The bench said, ‘We are of the opinion that we can set up a committee of five enlightened citizens who will set the standard for electronic media. They also said We do not want a politically divisive nature and we want members who have a reputation. ‘
Significantly, ‘Bindas Bol’ is the show of Suresh Chavanke, editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News Channel. In the trailer of an episode released in the last week of August, Chavanke claimed to have made a big disclosure of the conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims in the bureaucracy by writing the hashtag UPSC Jihad.
The show was supposed to be telecast on August 28 at eight o’clock, but it was stayed by the Delhi High Court on the same day on the petition of the students of Jamia Millia Islamia.
After this, on 9 September, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting gave the channel permission to broadcast the program, after which the Delhi High Court sent a notice to it, but refused to stop broadcasting.
Then a petition was filed in the apex court regarding the telecast of this program. The petitioner’s counsel sought several reliefs including an interim stay on the telecast of the program.