Prasad faults riots coverage by news channels

MUMBAI: Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Shanker Prasad on Friday gave the clearest indication yet that the government was considering ways to curb "excessive live" coverage of riots.

Prasad, who was in the Bihar state capital Patna on Friday, was quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying that injudicious telecast by private TV channels of footage of sensitive events were a threat to internal security and the government might be forced to take legal recourse to check it if they did not exercise self-control.

While clarifying that he was not in favour of 'moral policing,' Prasad however, was quoted by PTI as saying there should be certain restrictions on what is being telecast.

"I am against live telecast of riots. It is not going to serve any purpose," Prasad said, adding that if the news channels did not exercise self-control, the government would be forced to constitute a professional body to monitor and control live telecast of sensitive news.

Prasad deplored the way in which the communal riots in Gujarat of last year were televised by private channels and said this was not in national interest.

Prasad was also quoted by The Times of India as saying that the proposed uplinking of Star for its 24-hour India-centric news channel will soon be taken to the Cabinet.


Because Prasad was in Patna, he could not attend today's meeting of the task force on conditional access in New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by I&B ministry joint secretary Rakesh Mohan.

At the time of uploading this report however, details of what transpired at the meeting were still awaited.

One issue that the cable operators are likely to have raised is the government mandating the genres that need to be included in the free-to-air basic tier. Operators are by and large opposed to this.

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