The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

January 14, 2009

Editors oppose plans to muzzle media

Editors of major TV news channels have protested the proposed amendment in the CTN act that may give extensive powers to bureaucrats to stop media from reporting conflicts.

The Centre wants to amend the existing Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act to regulate the release of footage in emergency situations including communal riots, terrorist attacks and even violent agitations. The government also plans forming a Media Consultative Committee that will over see the officially-sanctioned footage to be released for screening to channels.

However, the managing editors of the channels are up in arms against the decision. They feel that it would give unprecedented powers to the government and bureaucracy. Besides, it would be unhealthy for a democracy to silence the media, which is in a way reminiscent of the days of emergency.

The editors held a meeting in Delhi and dashed a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expressing their outrage over the proposal and urging him to refrain from amending the existing laws". They feel that the laws are sufficient and if the amendments come into effect, it would be against the right to have a free and fair media in the society.

The coverage of Mumbai terrorist strikes had come in for criticism from various quarters. Certain news channels were condemned for repeating the same footage, giving critical details about hostages that risked their lives and creating a hysteria. But it's clear now that the government move to amend the 1995 Act is all set to meet stiff resistance from the media houses.

TIH Bureau

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