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Advisory on PMs speech should not to be used against news channels: Allahabad HC

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NEW DELHI: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has directed the Information and Broadcasting Ministry not to use against news channels the advisory issued by it last month about comparisons drawn between the Prime Minister’s Independence Day speech with other leaders.

Social activist Nutan Thakur had sought quashing of the Advisory of 21 October passed by the Ministry.

The Bench of Chief Justice Dhananjay Yashwant Chandrachud and Justice Rituraj Awasthi said the Advisory whereby the electronic news channels have been notified that their licence will be cancelled in case they compare the Prime Minister with any other political leaders should be used only for compliance of rules and regulations and not beyond.

The petition said that the Ministry issued this Advisory threatening penal provision in Section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 because many news channels compared PM Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi for their Independence Day speech which the Ministry found “indecent” and “bad in taste”.

Calling the Advisory ‘a dictatorial step to curb the independence of media’, Thakur had prayed for its immediate quashing in larger public interest.

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