In the Supreme Court a petition has been drawn by Advocate Reepak Kansal and filed through Advocate on Record, Harisha SR, urging the apex Court to direct Centre to restrict the activities of unregulated, uncontrolled, “self-declared” news channels stated to have been carrying on the assassination of individual, community and religious dignity under the guise of freedom of the press (Reepak Kansal v. UOI).
“… The anchors of said broadcasting news channels are also masters in assassinations of dignity of any individual, organization and political party by claiming themselves as Media and have been taking protection of freedom of Press.”
The plea seeks to protect the right to life with dignity as guaranteed under the Constitution of India and is stated to have been assassinated by uncontrolled and unregulated broadcasting by electronic channels.
The petition states for regulation of such media,
“The question of the Legal control over electronic broadcasting sources i.e. like radio, television and internet protocol television is a topic to be pondered over in recent times in India, especially when there is the circulation of fake news, bad journalism or hate speeches in the name of journalism and which also became a plate-form to assassinate the dignity of an individual or religious and political organizations. The live debates and reporting on the electronic broadcasting channels cannot be stopped until unless it would be regulated by a statutory body.”
So, Prayer for the constitution of an independent authority to be known as the “Broadcast Regulatory Authority of India” for the purpose of regulating and facilitating the development of broadcasting services in India should be in operation.
Recently Kansal was fined for Rs.100 for leveling allegations against Supreme Court registry states that in actual, electronic broadcasting channels claim to be the news channels/press and in a way have been spreading negativity and enmity among different communities of the nation.
Kansal’s petition directing towards Arnab Goswami, Editor-in-chief of Republic News notes that the news anchor uses defamatory and provoking language against the community, panellists, their religion in the name of journalism during his TV debates.
The petitioner also considers baseless allegations of communal nature made by Goswami against Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and expresses that the attack on Goswami was triggered by his comments against Sonia Gandhi.
The petition also states,
“… recently, the said Anchor who claimed himself to be a victim of the attack, used inappropriate words against the leader of one political party. Instead of giving a statement to IO and participating in the investigation, the said Anchor used the said electronic broadcasting channel for attacking one political party, its’ President Smt Sonia Gandhi and her family members.”
The petitioner also notes that, “the said Anchor called attackers as ‘Sonia Ke Gunde” etc and assassinate the dignity of individual as well as political party. There are numbers of FIRs are registered against him across country prior and after the said false and baseless reporting on public plate-form.”
The Supreme Court’s intervention has been asked so that directions could be issued to restrict media channels from conducting a media trial or a parallel trial or airing judgmental views and interfering in the administration of justice.
Kansal’s Contention regarding airwaves were expressed that airwaves are public property and it is necessary to “regulate the use of such airwaves in the national and public interest, particularly with a view to ensuring proper dissemination of content and in the widest possible manner.”
Submissions were made that there is a dearth of regulations and legislation in this area. Hence, uncontrolled and un-regulated electronic broadcasting channels have been “attacking the foundation of unity and integrity of India and working against its’ Sovereignty, Socialism, Secularism and democracy.”
“These self-declared, un-controlled and un-regulated electronic broadcasting channels are falsely claiming themselves as media and have been running by foreign / Indian investors in the name of news channels / media.”
Directions proposed by the Petitioner
The Supreme Court was requested to issue directions to the Central Government:
- to restrict the assassination of the dignity of individuals, communities, religious saints, religious and political organisations in the name of freedom of press
- control uncontrolled and unregulated broadcasting electronic channels
- constitute an independent authority to be known as the Broadcast Regulatory Authority of India for the regulation of broadcasting services
- restrict media trial
- Stop the misuse of airwaves by such broadcasting electronic channels in the name of media, press and journalism.