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SC to set up a citizen panel for TV channels; urges the media to use freedom carefully



New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday took a dim view of television programs that humiliated a particular community and warned the media to exercise its freedom with caution. TV channels must respect the fact that India is a multi-cultural country, a vase of fusion of many religions, cultures and values, he said. One program claiming UPSC jihad was prima facie aimed at insulting a community by making an insidious attempt to portray it as a conspiracy to infiltrate the civil service, said a bench of DY judges Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph. The court stayed on further broadcasting of the program on a private television channel, cleared by the Center, until Thursday.

Building a stable democratic society under a regime of constitutional rights and values ​​is based on the condition of coexistence of communities. India is a vase of merging civilizations, cultures and values, etc. Any attempt to humiliate a community should be viewed with malice by this court, which is the custodian of constitutional rights, Justice Chandrachud said. Prima facie, broadcasting falls into the realm of hate speech, he said. Stoli said he would set up a committee of 5 prominent citizens who would draft certain standards for electronic media. We need members of a commendable and non-divisive political nature, Justice Chandrachud said.

The jeweler was listening to two prayers, one presented by Feroze Iqbal Khan and another by former civil servants including Amitabha Pande and Navrekha Sharma, under the auspices of an informal group known as the constitutional conduct group. Arguing for the plaintiffs, senior Anoop attorney George Chaudhari drew the courts’ attention to the fact that although there were only a few hundred Muslim bureaucrats, the show claimed that money was channeled into India to ensure the community had access to civil services. The researchers sought guidance to ensure how the media reported such issues.

Words such as traitors were used against the community and ISIS images were compared to other images on the show, said lawyer Shahadan Farasat. Lawyer Gautam Bhatia argued that there should be some parameters to judge hate speech. A community was being ridiculed to the point that it did not know how to respond to the challenge. In such a case, the parameters of the pre-broadcast content would be different, he said. Representing the Center, Attorney General Tushar Mehta argued that no guidelines could be drafted as it would affect press freedom. It would be catastrophic for any democracy to control the press, he said. He also raised the issue of the way in which Hindu terror was previously used in the media.

Justice Joseph raised some problematic issues such as the need for transparency in visual media ownership, the need for the media to enforce a self-proclaimed code of conduct, and the need to exercise caution as the media exercises its power in the name of citizenship. . Justice Chandrachud called the claim made on the show insidious. Such insidious allegations raise a question mark in the UPSC exams. The rapes have been dropped against the UPSC. How can such claims be allowed without any factual basis? Can such programs be allowed in a free society? Reputations can be damaged; the image may be tarnished. Can this be tolerated?

Both judges questioned the lack of fair comments in the press. The press should cover all sides and not give a one-sided version, they said. These kinds of shows are making people turn off their TV. If the media fails to understand this, they will be out of business, Justice Chandrachud said. Justice Joseph said that freedom of the press was not absolute and was in no way greater than that of the citizens. TV is about sensationalism, he noted. So many things masquerade as a form of right, he said.

Justice Chandrachud told senior lawyer Shyam Divan who came out on the channel to defend the show that his client needed to exercise freedom carefully and respect the fact that India was a melting pot of cultures. Your client is hurting the nation. Divan claimed the show was an investigative piece that showed the link between outside funding and the greater recruitment of members of a community into civil services.

Justice Chandrachud said the jeweler would not tolerate any member of the press claiming he has absolute freedom to say Jamia Milia Islamia students were part of a group to infiltrate civil services and decided to stay on further broadcast until he watches program for itself and adjudicates on issues involved. Stoli is expected to judge the consequences of media spreading false news, or indulging in hate speech and its consequences on other fundamental rights of citizens such as their right to life and liberty.

The show was previously challenged in the high court which referred it to the government. The show aired after the Center cleared it.

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