With the relentless coverage of the Mumbai terror attacks still continuing on news channels, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry has stepped in to issue an advisory on December 3, 2008, to all news and current affair TV channels to desist from repeatedly showing the attack footage.
The advisory comes close on the heels of the I&B Ministry summoning the news media owners along with the Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF) and News Broadcasting Association (NBA) Chiefs on November 28 to express concern over the coverage of the Mumbai terror attacks by the national news channels.
The coverage was seen harmful enough for the police to black out news channels during the day. An order, sent by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, said that the “transmission of various clippings/ live relay/ coverage of the actions being taken by the police against the terrorists in South Mumbai is causing impediment in the police action… thereby, endangering the lives of the police personnel as also of the hostages.”
The I&B Ministry in its advisory dated December 3, 2008, states: “Repeated visuals and stories pertaining to the attack, which would make the perpetrators feel their attack was a success, should be avoided. The media is hereby advised to play the positive role it has in its power to play to instill confidence in the citizens and send a message to the inimical terrorist forces that India is not in disarray.”
The advisory goes on to warn: “The media is also advised that continued unbalanced reporting, which inhabits the restoration of normalcy and propagates a feeling of insecurity, may be treated as coverage against the interest of the nation in the circumstances and attract appropriate action as per rules and as per the terms and conditions of the permission granted for uplinking and downlinking of TV channels in India.”
Reacting to the advisory, Jawahar Goel, President, IBF, said, “I will try and tell the channels to abide by what the Government is saying, unless there is something that is mandatory to show in national interest.”
Meanwhile, the NBA will be giving a collective response to this advisory on behalf of all the channels.
Mumbai Siege: MIB summons news media owners; objection on coverage