"Misleading", "sensationalised", "having communal tone", and "likely to cause breach of peace in the state" – this is how the West Bengal government has characterised recent coverage by news channels of "news and incidents" in the state.
In an advisory issued on June 13, the TMC government said such coverage "appear to be violative" of the Programme Code under section 5 of the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act. Given its "serious concerns", the government directed cable operators and MSOs to "immediately refrain from transmitting such content".
WB Govt issues advisory for all MSOs & cable operators in the state.
"...Several satellite TV channels are transmitting coverage of news & incidents in such a manner which are misleading, sensationalised & having communal tone & likely to cause breach of peace in State..." (1/2) pic.twitter.com/ijSvruptSM
"In the news, some of channels broadcast debates having unparliamentary, provocative and socially unacceptable language, communal remarks and derogatory references which may have a negative psychological impact on viewers and may also incite communal disharmony and disturb the peace at large," the advisory said.
The state BJP has already slammed the advisory, with leader of the opposition Suvendu Adhikari tweeting that the state was experiencing an "undeclared emergency" with press freedom "under threat".
It's an undeclared Emergency in West Bengal ! Freedom of Press is under threat. This advisory issued by @HomeBengal is an act to suppress Free Press.@MamataOfficial is hysterical & her Govt is cowering due to the failure of law & order machinery of the state. pic.twitter.com/dN1Y7jHKuq
Over 200 people have been arrested and 42 cases registered in West Bengal after following comments made by two BJP leaders against the Prophet. Two senior police officers were , where violence broke out from Thursday, while state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar was on Saturday when he was on his way to Howrah.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee that the state was suffering as a result of the BJP's "sin" and said "strict action" would be taken.
The row began on May 26 when Nupur Sharma, who was the BJP's national spokesperson at the time, went on a debate on Times Now during which she made comments about the Prophet and Islam. Watch our latest episode of TV Newsance to see how events played out.