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MIB issues warning to Assamese news channel for airing disturbing visuals

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has issued a warning to DY 365, a 24-hour news channel from Assam, for airing “extremely disturbing visuals of dead bodies and badly injured people including children” on multiple occasions.

On 26 September last year, the ministry had issued a show-cause notice, under the provisions of the Programme Code contained in the Cable Television Network Rules, to the channel operated by Brahmaputra Tele Productions 1994 (CTNR), for airing the said visuals on 10 different occasions between July 2012 and May 2013.

The ministry is of the view that the visuals were not only disturbing but might have also hurt the sentiments of the viewers. In addition, the visuals were neither morphed nor blurred, thus hurting sensibilities of the victims’ families as well as viewers. This, the MIB observed, offended good taste and decency.

The ministry also added that the visuals were not suitable for children and for unrestricted public viewing.

As per ministry, the channel has violated Rules 6 (1) (a), (1) (o) and (6) (5) of the CTNR.

In reply to the SCN, the channel said that they had shown the faces of the deceased in the news with a view that the near and dear relatives of the deceased could identify them. They further stated that there was no deliberate or intentional motive on the part of the channel to show the faces of the deceased in the news telecast.

However, the channel concluded their reply by offering unconditional apology for any hurt it may have caused. The channel also stated that they are ready to cooperate in every way possible to telecast programmes in conformity with the provisions of the CTNR 1994.

An inter-ministerial committee (IMC) considered the matter in its meeting held on 26 February, where an opportunity for personal hearing was also offered to the channel. The IMC viewed the CD containing the news bulletins and considered the reply of DY 365. It also heard the channel representative in person. The representative apologised for the telecast of offensive content in the news bulletins.

The IMC observed that the telecast of news bulletins mentioned above was in clear violation of the provisions of the Programme Code, particularly Rules 6(1)(a), 6(1)(o), and 6 (5) of CTNR, 1994.

The IMC also maintained that even though the channel had accepted and apologised for the error, they cannot escape the responsibility of ensuring that the content on the channel must conform to the Programme Code at all times.

The IMC, therefore, recommended that DY 365 be issued a warning to be careful in future.