New Delhi: I&B ministry has asked TV channels not to compare Prime Minister`s address to the nation on occasions like Independence Day with speeches of other leaders, in an apparent reference to the way in which Narendra Modi`s speech on August 15 was covered by some of them.
In an advisory issued on October 21, the ministry said that it had noticed that some TV channels attempted to "denigrate" the office of the prime minister by constantly trying to compare his speech with that of other political leaders on this year`s Independence Day.
"Whereas the telecast of this kind of programme on a day when entire nation was celebrating its 67th Independence Day is highly objectionable. The Prime Minister spoke from the ramparts of the Red Fort, as the Prime Minister of the country and not as a leader of a political party," the ministry said.
"Therefore, on such a solemn day to put him in an artificial competition with anyone is not appropriate," it added.
In his Independence Day address at a college in Bhuj, Modi had attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on national security and challenged him to a public debate on governance, saying the nation is "restless for change".
The advisory, without naming Modi or any leader, said on Independence Day when PM addresses the country united in emotions of national integrity, patriotism and national fervour, the attempt by these TV channels can best be described as sensational against norms of ethical journalism.
Asking news channels to follow the norms, the ministry said failing this penal action could be taken. It said that as per the Cable Television Networks rules, no programme can be transmitted on any cable service which contains anything which offends good taste or decency or criticises, maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social, public and moral life of the country.
The ministry advised all news channels to follow the provisions of the Programme and Advertising Codes and keep the significance of the solemn days like Independence Day in view while carrying the speech of the Prime Minister and the President.