New Delhi: The government is "very reluctant" about issuing show cause notices to TV news channels but had to resort to it after some of them crossed the "Lakshman Rekha" while covering Yakub Memon case, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said today.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
"The government is always very reluctant to issue notices to channels for breaking the programme code," Rathore said, adding the government wanted them to exercise self-regulation. He said the I&B Ministry issued an advisory during the recent terror attack in Punjab that no live telecast should be carried out and most channels followed the programme code. He, however, said there were some "minor" violations with an anchor mentioning that the sound of gunfire could be heard and visuals of people shooting being aired.
Maintaining that some channels crossed the "Lakshman Rekha" in the Yaqub Memon hanging case, the minister said,"In the rush for TRP, they brought in Chhota Shakeel, of all people, to comment from the other side. And he (Shakeel) on one news channel actually went on to say that every action has a reaction. And then when questioned further, he says, there are others who are watching you and will act against you."
Rathore said the country's territory, which includes frequencies in the air, cannot be used by people "who are against us to do their propaganda".
"We issued a showcause notice as the idea was that the channels maintain broadcasts within the parameters where India is not affected. Where we don't foment community issues against each other .....We (Government) are very liberal by far," Rathore said.
The I&B ministry had issued Show Cause Notices to four channels over their coverage of Yakub Memon hanging case. Of these, two had carried Shakeel's comments.
Rathore was responding to questions at an interaction after delivering the 19th Col Pyara Lal Memorial Lecture on 'Role and Limitations of Social Media in Image Building and Perception Management'.
In his lecture, Rathore said social media has many advantages but added elements inimical to India's interests could use it for spreading rumours. The only way to counter this, he said, is that people have to be present on internet like soldiers and spread the positive message.