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Report on Shemaroo

SC seeks response from centre on petition demanding constitution of media tribunal

The petitioners have alleged that the ministry has failed in enforcing the programme code

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has sought response from the Central Government on a petition praying for the constitution of a ‘Media Tribunal’ to hear and expeditiously adjudicate complaints against media networks and television channels. The petition filed by filmmaker and social activist, Nilesh Navalakha and activist Nitin Memane had alleged that ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has totally failed in the discharge of its duties and enforcement of the programme code to which television channels are expected to adhere.

“A  hunger for “leaks” and “scoops” (which sometimes precipitates the events which they predict) and some journalists‟ relationship with the sources who provide them with information, can make it difficult for the media to maintain its independence and a critical stance," read the petition. 

It also demanded that guidelines be issued outlining the broad regulatory paradigm within which media houses, i.e., broadcasters and electronic media, can exercise their rights under Article 19(1), so as to judicially regulate the same.

The petitioners also noted that self-regulation alone cannot solve the issue. “The whole self-regulatory process makes the electronic media broadcaster a judge in his own case, thereby completely negating the rule of law enshrined in our constitution.”

The plea, it was clarified, is not to curb the fundamental rights of the media-business, but only to bring "about some accountability for misinformation, inflammatory coverage, fake news, breach of privacy, etc. which the media-business has indulged in."

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