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MIB advises news channels against live coverage of anti-terror ops

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has issued an advisory to news channels against telecasting live coverage of counter-terrorism operations by security forces.

The ministry said that some TV channels have done live coverage of ongoing anti-terrorist operations on 20 March. It also said that the media coverage maybe restricted to periodic briefing by an authorised official until the conclusion of the operation.

“Therefore, all TV channels are hereby advised in public interest to safeguard innocent lives, to ensure that no operation-linked information reaches the terrorists and their handlers, and in the interest of national security, live coverage of counter-terrorism operation by the security forces should not be telecast,” the ministry said in its advisory.

The advisory also drew the attention of news channels to Clauses 5.9 and 8.1 of the uplinking guidelines and Clauses 5.8 and 6.1 of the downlinking guidelines, as well as applicable provisions of the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and Rules thereunder in this regard.

The ministry had earlier issued advisories to all TV channels on 27 November 2008, 3 December 2008, and 20 November 2009 not to focus on or report the location, strength, movement, strategy, and other related operations being followed by the security forces engaging with terrorists to avoid any adverse impact on rescue operations.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting (MIB) Arun Jaitley had recently said that the government would soon come out with norms for media coverage of terror-related operations.

“Our security agencies and the Ministry of Defence are clearly of the view that this cannot be allowed. And, therefore, during the limited duration when the security operation is on, a very strict discipline on the kind of reporting which is to take place from the place of the incident will have to be maintained. This issue is under serious and very advanced consideration of the government,” Jaitley had said.