afaqs! news bureau

I&B ministry issues advisory to news channels against broadcasting gory and disturbing footage

The ministry said the manner of reporting such incidents was distasteful and distressing for the audience.

The ministry of information and broadcasting has warned private satellite TV channels that news channels have "grossly compromised on good taste and decency" in a way that is "quite unpalatable to the eyes and ears of a common viewer" in recent months.

The ministry stated that such telecasts violated the Programme Code under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act and are a "matter of grave concern," citing specific instances of news and their coverage by unnamed channels.

A telecast on December 30 of "distressing images and videos" of a cricketer after an accident, referring to Rishabh Pant's road accident on the Delhi-Dehradun highway, was one example. On July 6, another video showed a teacher "brutally thrashing" a child. The list included "distressing gory images" of murdered singer Sidhu Moose Wala.

"...television channels have shown dead bodies of individuals and images/videos of injured persons with blood splattered around, people, including women, children, and the elderly, being mercilessly beaten mercilessly in close shots, continuous cries and shrieks of a child being beaten by a teacher, shown repeatedly over several minutes, including circling the actions, making it even more ghastly, without taking the precaution of blurring the images or showing them from long shots,"

"The manner in which such incidents are reported is distasteful, heart wrenching, distressful, indignifying, sensational, thus offending good taste and decency," according to the advisory. "Such reporting has a negative psychological impact on children. There is also the critical issue of invasion of privacy, which may be maligning and defamatory."

The advisory concluded by urging news outlets to follow the Programme Code when reporting on issues such as violence, crime, accidents, and death.

This is not the first advisory the ministry has issued to news outlets, nor will it be the last. In 2022, television news had a parade of problems, which we noted and rewarded.

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