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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 24 October 2020 2.32 PM IST

Digital media, completely uncontrolled, needs to be regulated first: Centre tells SC

supreme-court

NEW DELHI: The Union government on Monday once again told the Supreme Court that if it decides to lay down guidelines for print and electronic media, it should first start with “web-based digital media”, as those not only do have a very wide reach but are completely uncontrolled.

"There is absolutely no check on web-based digital media. Apart from spreading venomous hatred, deliberate and intended instigation to not only cause violence but even terrorism, it is also capable of indulging in tarnishing the image of individuals and institutions. The said practice is, in fact, rampant," the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said.

Maintaining that wider issues should be left to be considered and decided by the central government and the competent legislature, the government said if the court desired to go beyond regulating a TV channel and its programme, it was absolutely inevitable to start with digital media.

The Union government filed its affidavit responding to a question posed by the court on how it intended to deal with the issues arising due to Sudarshan TV's Bindass Bol programme which garnered attention to the 'UPSC Jihad' series.

Earlier too, the government had asked the court to first regulate digital media due to its serious impact and wider reach. Print and electronic media are already covered under a statutory regime.

In a fresh response, the Centre said the regulation of electronic and print media was substantially occupied by either legislative field or judicial pronouncements. Any further regulation of electronic and print media by this court either by way of guidelines or providing for any redressal mechanism would incentivise broadcasters to use electronic media less and telecast and publish the same thing on digital platforms which would remain unregulated despite having wider reach without any corresponding responsibility or obligation, it pointed out.

Any further regulation of electronic and print media by this court either by way of guidelines or providing for any redressal mechanism would incentivise broadcasters to use electronic media less and telecast and publish the same thing on which would remain unregulated despite having wider reach without any corresponding responsibility or obligation, it pointed out.

Either for being a broadcaster or for starting a newspaper in the print media, there are several eligibility criterions and qualifying standards to be fulfilled.

Web-based digital media include digital web portals, web magazines and channels and are run on video hosting platforms such as Youtube etc, which can garner lakhs and crores of viewers.

As against the limitations in the cases of print media, whereby one must be literate to read and understand, and mainstream electronic media, wherein one must have a television set up, nothing is particularly required to access digital media except a smart phone. This shows its potential reach and its ability to harm the very fabric of any nation. Electronic media would normally have a geographical barrier and fail to garner a global presence as widely as digital media. Digital media has a global presence both in terms of content coming out of India and content going out from within the country, it added.

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TAGS: DIGITAL MEDIA, CENTRE, SC, UNION GOVERNMENT, SUPREME COURT, YOUTUBE, ELECTRONIC MEDIA
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