Andhra HC cautions 13 TV channels, imposes certain rules
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Last Updated: Sunday, January 10, 2010, 21:44
Hyderabad: Imposing certain rules for Electronic Media, the Andhra Pradesh High Court has directed 13 TV news channels not to transmit or telecast programmes that may create panic in the minds of the general public in the state.

Justice T Gopala Krishna observed that the recent happenings (series of protests and agitations) across Andhra Pradesh were "really disgusting and disturbing." The judge was hearing a PIL filed by V V S S Kameswara Rao, an advocate, at his residence last night.

The media--electronic and print--which was expected to maintain high standards and play the role of an elder brother, was acting in a manner, which was unexpected, the judge noted in his interim order.

The petitioner had recently challenged repeated telecast of "provocative" speeches and scenes of violence by some Telugu news channels the High Court had stayed.

After the broadcast of news stories on Thursday last by some channels quoting a website over a "conspiracy" behind the death of Y S Rajasekhar Reddy in a chopper crash last year, Kameswara Rao filed the petition yesterday naming 13 news channels as respondents.

The judge said except for creating sensation or improving the viewership rating of their respective channels, the news channels were promoting enmity among different groups and indulging the acts prejudicial to harmony.

"The court is thoroughly satisfied that the TV channels in the state of Andhra Pradesh, which were arrayed as respondents, were exceeding their limitations only for the purpose of creating sensation and this court cannot be a silent spectator," the judge said.

The judge pointed out that the TV channels were governed by the provisions of the Cable Television Network Rules 1994 which came into force under section 22 of the Act.

Rule 6 of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, which deals with the programme code, prohibits certain programmes to be carried out, the judge observed.

He said "In my considered view, the recent visuals or scenes, which were shown by TV channels, are clearly contrary to Rule 6 of the Rules of the Act. Any violation of Rule 6 of the Rules is punishable under section 16 of the Act."

The judge directed the news channels not to transmit or telecast programmes, which create any panic in the minds of the general public residing in the state of Andhra Pradesh, and further not to telecast or transmit anything without having any authority or proof just suspecting something stating that it may happen and also not to telecast or hold any debates which do not in any way help the public.

The judge directed the state government particularly Principal Secretary (Home department), the DGP and the Hyderabad Commissioner of Police to see that television channels (named in the petition) strictly follow the programme code provided for under Rule 6 of the Rules and that the orders passed by this court is strictly implemented.

The interim direction is for a period of six weeks and the judge posted the matter for hearing after that.


First Published: Sunday, January 10, 2010, 21:44

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