Regulators

SC tells DD to air show warning about Blue Whale

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NEW DELHI: Amidst reports of suicides reportedly caused by the Blue Whale online game, public broadcaster Doordarshan has been asked by the Supreme Court to conceive and air a cautionary and educational programme on its dangers.

DD was given a week’s time to prepare the programme that should be of at least ten minutes and should be telecast at prime time.

A bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra with justices DY Chandrachud and AM Khanwilkar said, “Anything that threatens life should be condemned.” The case by a 73-year old Chennai advocate N S Ponnaiah has been posted for further hearing on 15 November 2017.

“Suffice to say that the Blue Whale game is dangerous to life. What endangers life has to be condemned and not allowed,” Misra observed.

The court asked DD to script the programme in consultation with the Ministries of Home Affairs, Women and Child Welfare Department, Human Resource and Development and Information Broadcasting, and Information Technology.

The court also directed the government to see to it that private channels also telecast the programme.

“The idea behind the programme is to make parents and children aware of the dangers of online games like Blue Whale. The message of the programme should be that children should not be trapped by the game. There are children who are lonely and frustrated. Definitely visuals will have more impact,” Chief Justice Misra said.

According to additional solicitor general PS Narasimha, a committee constituted by the Ministry of Information Technology found that around 28 cases have been traced to have links with Blue Whale game. A probe was on and a complete picture of the extent and means of the game would be ascertained in the next three weeks.

The Centre was determined to “stop the game”, which has the potentiality to destroy life. The government had communicated to many agencies and online platforms to check and inform on the availability and use of the game.

The commission has told school authorities to thoroughly verify the background of teachers and non-teaching staff before hiring them.

The Blue Whale challenge is a game created by Russian national Philipp Budeikin, 22, in which a set of instructions tell the players to harm themselves and eventually commit suicide. Budeikin is now in jail.

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