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Regulate digital media first, it has more reach and impact than TV media: Centre tells Supreme Court

The Centre on September 16 stated in the Supreme Court that regulations need to be made for digital media before electronic media if it wants to lay down guidelines for media in the country as digital media has more reach and impact that TV media.

The Centre had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court amid the hearing of curbing the electronic media of the country after an objection was raised on the program of a news channel.

The Centre in the affidavit said, “Digital media has faster reach, potential to become viral due to apps like WhatsApp and Facebook. Digital media has serious impact and because of its potential, the court must first take up digital media.”

The government said that given the serious impact and potential of digital media if the Supreme Court has decided to set the standard, it should be done in relation to digital media first because already electronic media and print media Guidelines and legislation exist regarding.

The government said that if the Supreme Court has decided to set the standard, it should be done in relation to digital media first, given the serious impact and potential of the medium. There is a “sufficient framework and judgments” on electronic media and print media, the government said.

“The issue of balancing freedom of speech and responsible journalism has already been governed by statutory provisions and judgments,” it said.

The government requested the Supreme Court not to constitute amicus curiae or committee to issue guidelines to the media as the petition is limited to one news channel.

The Centre said that the field of freedom of speech and the balance of responsible journalism is already governed by statutory provisions and judgments.

The affidavit filed in the SC is linked to a case against a private TV channel over a show that claimed “Muslims are infiltrating” in UPSC and other government services. The show was put on hold by the SC on grounds that it attempts to vilify Muslims.

The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) in the Supreme Court also filed an affidavit stating that ‘petitions on similar issues regarding allegations of communalism of a particular community are pending in the Chief Justice’s court.’ NBA has said that the rules and laws governing electronic media already exist.