After the Supreme Court called for the formation of a committee of citizens to “” in the face of Sudarshan TV’s “insidious” programme, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting submitted to the court that digital media should bear scrutiny first.
The programme in question, UPSC Jihad, claims to unveil a "conspiracy" of the "infiltration" of Muslims in the civil services.
In a 33-page affidavit, the ministry said that digital media “has faster reach from wider range of viewership/readership”, and has the “potential to become viral because of several electronic applications” like WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook.
The ministry also claimed that the electronic and print media are already governed by “sufficient framework and judicial pronouncements”.
Bar and Bench reports that the ministry “further stated that if the top court considers it appropriate to undertake [the] exercise of laying down standards to help regulate the media, ‘then there is no justification to confine this exercise only to mainstream electronic media’.”
In , the Hindu said the Supreme Court’s stopping of Sudarshan TV’s telecast saw the court making a “distinction between freedom of expression and propagation of hate”. However, the editorial emphasised, as a matter of principle, “courts ought to avoid omnibus orders against publication”.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court chided Sudarshan TV by noting that the outreach of the electronic media is “extraordinarily huge” and it can become a focal point for “destabilising the nation by targeting particular communities”. Justice DY Chandrachud called the programme “insidious” and a great “disservice to the nation.”
The media must be free and fair, uninfluenced by corporate or state interests. That's why you, the public, need to pay to keep news free. Support independent media by subscribing to Newslaundry today.