Television

Allahabad HC asks government to form statutory forum for complaints against electronic media

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NEW DELHI: The Allahabad High Court has said that the government needs to provide a statutory forum for electronic-media where people can both approach and ventilate their grievances.

In the petition filed by social activist Dr Nutan Thakur, Justice Devi Prasad Singh and Justice Ashok Pal Singh of the Lucknow bench said for any misconduct committed by the print media statutory forum is available in the form of Press Council of India but no such forum is available for the electronic media.

The court felt that no such statutory forum is available and this does not seem to be proper in a country which is run by the rule of law and governed by the democratic polity and hence the union needs to provide statutory forum for electronic-media.



The order said electronic media immediately affects peoples' mind and it is well established that paid news items are often used by the media, which is an instance of abuse of power. Hence, prima facie electronic media should also be regulated and supervised by a statutory autonomous forum like the Press Council and the government should have provided some statutory forum to redress the grievance of the news items or other items of the electronic media.



The order said electronic media immediately affects peoples' mind and it is well established that paid news items are often used by the media, which is an instance of abuse of power. Hence, prima facie electronic media should also be regulated and supervised by a statutory autonomous forum like the Press Council and the government should have provided some statutory forum to redress the grievance of the news items or other items of the electronic media.

The court directed the government to file an affidavit bringing on record its stand on this issue, within four weeks.

The petition had been filed against the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and the News Broadcasters Association.



The court noted: ?Though prima facie against the decision taken by the non-statutory body, the writ petition seems to be not maintainable but we are of the view that keeping in view the public importance of the question raised by the petitioner in person for creation of some statutory forum where the people may address their grievance, the writ petition is admitted.? 

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