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HC notice to Karnataka govt, MIB over obscene content in media

PIL asks for publication of such content to be made a cognisable offence.

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New Delhi: The Karnataka high court has sought the state government’s response in a public interest litigation (PIL) to issue directions to frame statutory rules to prevent publication of indecent and obscene content as part of the news programme in electronic and print media.

The court also issued notice to the ministry of Information and broadcasting (MIB) and state police in this regard.

According to the petitioner, various media houses publish obscene videos and partially blurred nude photographs and videos of several incidents as part of news programmes. Some TV anchors also repeat the vulgar language used in the video clips to make it loud and clear so that the public can understand the language that is used by the compromised individuals, he stated in his plea, as reported by Bar and Bench.

Though Section 5 of Cable TV (Regulation) Act-1995 provides that no person shall transmit or re-transmit through a cable service or any programme unless such programme is in conformity with the prescribed programme code, there is no definition for programme code, he submitted before the court.

The petitioner prayed that publication of such content should be made a cognisable offence, which will have a reasonably deterrent punishment. Apart from framing guidelines, he also sought directions to prevent the electronic media from analysing the sub-judice matters before the court and direct the state police not to leak information collected during the course of investigation regarding any case to the press, public or media.

The matter will be next heard on 7 June.

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