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Andhra HC cautions 13 TV channels, imposes certain rules

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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