Context: The Supreme Court recently asked the Centre to explain its “mechanism” against fake news and bigotry on air, and to create one if it did not already exist.

More on the news:

  • The SC was “disappointed” with the contents of the latest government affidavit in the Tablighi Jamaat case. 
  • The case is based on petitions, including one by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, against the communal color given by certain sections of the electronic media to the holding of a Tablighi Jamaat event in the National Capital during the lockdown.

Response to the case:

  • The Central government’s response:
    • The affidavit by the center opinionated that media coverage “predominantly struck a balanced and neutral perspective” and that it was open to the viewers to choose from a number of varying perspectives given by different media channels.
    • However, the apex court is keen to know what action has been taken under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act against offending broadcasters. 
  • The court in favor of greater media regulation:
    • The portrayal of the participants as intentional super-spreaders was considered as vicious and motivated. 
    • However, the Central government seems reluctant to intervene, while the Court seems to be batting for greater media regulation.
  • Concerns about media regulations:
    • The SC has been asking the government to give a clear answer to whether the regulatory provisions of the Cable TV Network (Regulation) Act of 1995, meant for cable networks, would apply to TV broadcasts
    • The apex court appears unconvinced that the present mechanism of self-regulation, the National Broadcasting Standards Authority, is effective. 
    • It would be in order if the self-regulation mechanism deals with departures from normative journalism

Image Source: CIS