INDIA: Mumbai: The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Monday issued an advisory to all television channels against reporting incidents of accidents, deaths, and violence, including violence against women, children, and the elderly, in manners that grossly compromise “good taste and decency”.
“The ministry had earlier advised all private satellite TV channels to adhere to Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. Yet the code is being violated,” Prateek Jain, Assistant Director, I&B, pointed out in a statement.
According to the code, footage that: a) offends good taste or decency; or b) contains obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false, and suggestive innuendos and half-truths should not be aired. c) defames or slanders any individual, in person or through specific groups, segments of the country’s social, public, and moral life; and d) is not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition.
The Ministry issued the advisory after several instances of lack of discretion by TV channels were noticed. The Ministry said that television channels have shown dead bodies of individuals and images/videos of injured persons with blood splattered around, people, including women, children, and the elderly, being beaten mercilessly in close shots, continuous cries, and shrieks of a child being beaten by a teacher.
The shots in the channels are repeated for several minutes, making it even more ghastly, without taking the precaution of blurring the images or showing them from long shots. Such reports can have an adverse psychological impact on the children.
Videos from social media
The Ministry has observed that in most cases, the videos are being taken from social media and broadcast without editorial discretion or modifications, and without consistency with the Program Code.
A list of such recently broadcast content includes:
On December 30, 2022: showing the distressing images and videos of a cricketer injured in an accident without blurring.
On August 28, 2022: a disturbing video of a man dragging the dead body of a victim and also focusing on the face of the victim with blood splattered around was released.
On June 6, 2022: a distressing incident in which a teacher can be seen brutally thrashing a 5-year-old boy until he lost consciousness in a coaching classroom in Patna, Bihar.
On June 4, 2022: disturbing, gory images of a Punjabi singer’s dead body appeared without blur.
On May 25, 2022: a disturbing incident occurred in the Assam district of Chirang, in which a man brutally beat two minor boys with a stick. The clip was played without blurring or muting audio, so the boys’ painful cries are clearly heard.
On May 16, 2022: a woman advocate was brutally assaulted by her neighbour in Karnataka’s Bagalkot district, which was broadcast continuously without editing.
On May 4, 2022: a man hacked his own sister to death in Rajapalayam, Virudhunagar district, Tamil Nadu.
On May 1, 2022: a man is hung upside down from a tree and brutally thrashed with sticks by five people in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh.
On April 12, 2022: an accident occurred in which disturbing images of five dead bodies were displayed without blurring.
On April 11, 2022: a man is seen brutally attacking his 84-year-old mother in Kollam, Kerala, dragging her through the yard, mercilessly beating and thrashing her. This is shown continuously without blurring for approximately 12 minutes.
On April 7, 2022: about a highly disturbing video of an old man setting his son ablaze in Bengaluru (Karnataka).
On March 22, 2022: a video of a 14-year-old minor boy being beaten in Assam’s Morigaon district was broadcast without blurring or muting, and the boy can be heard crying and pleading while being mercilessly beaten.
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