Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Monday issued an advisory to all television channels against reporting incidents of accidents, deaths, and violence including violence against women, children, and elderly in a manner which grossly compromises on “good taste and decency”. The advisory has been issued after several instances were noticed of what the ministry said was a lack of discretion by television channels.
The Ministry has said that television channels have shown dead bodies of individuals and images or videos of injured persons with blood splattered around, people, including women, children and the elderly being beaten mercilessly in close shots. Besides, several TV channels showed continuous cries and shrieks of a child being beaten by a teacher, shown repeatedly over several minutes including circling the actions thereby making it even more ghastly, without taking the precaution of blurring the images or showing them from long shots.
The Ministry has observed that in most cases the videos are being taken from social media and broadcast without editorial discretion and modifications to ensure compliance and consistency with the Programme Code. The Ministry highlighted that the manner of reporting such incidents is distasteful and distressing for the audience.
“…such reports can also have an adverse psychological impact on the children. There is also a crucial issue of invasion of privacy which could be potentially maligning and defamatory, the advisory has underlined,” the ministry said. Television, being a platform usually watched by families in households with people from all cohorts – old-aged, middle-aged, and young children – places a certain sense of responsibility and discipline among the broadcasters, which have been enshrined in the Programme Code and the Advertising Code.
The Ministry also mentioned various examples of recently broadcast content. Raising concern over such broadcasts and in view of the larger public interest involved and having regard to the nature of the audience of television channels including the elderly, women, and children, the Ministry has advised all private television channels to attune their systems and practices of reporting incidents of crime, accidents, and violence, including death in conformity with the Programme Code.