Headlines September 22, 2020
Web-based digital media spreading venomous hatred, says Centre
On Monday, the central government told the Supreme Court that digital media is ‘spreading venomous hatred’ and is ‘completely uncontrolled’. The government also pointed out the web-based digital platforms such as news portals, channels and magazines are tarnishing images of people. Hence, a strict regulation must come into place.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud has asked the government to file an affidavit regarding need to regulate electronic media. In the affidavit, the government stated, “Apart from spreading venomous hatred, deliberate and intended instigation to not only cause violence but even terrorism it is also capable of indulging in tarnishing the image of individuals and institutions. The said practice is, in fact, rampant”.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting also highlighted that web-based portals have a wider reach amongst people when compared to print or electronic media. While print and electronic media have regulations in place, there are limitations in terms of number of viewers and readers too. All these are taken into account when their licenses are granted unlike that of digital media. Moreover, web portals can be started without prior permission or any regulations in place.
The court answered to the government by saying that regulatory guidelines must be laid down for web-based digital media.
The top court was hearing the case after advocate Firoz Iqbal Khan filed a petition stating that Sudarshan TV aired a program called ‘Bindas Bol’ in which Islam and Muslim community was shown in a negative light.
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