Guwahati: The Centre has told the Supreme Court of India that it must look into regulating the digital media platform before electronic media when it comes to laying down standards, as it has far more impact and reach.
Ahead of a hearing today for laying down standards for electric media, the Centre has said that the court must first look at digital media because of its reach and impact.
"Digital media has faster reach, potential to become viral due to apps like WhatsApp and Facebook," says the Centre's affidavit to the Supreme Court. "Digital media has serious impact and because of its potential, the court must first take up digital media."
It is pertinent to mention here that the centre's affidavit is linked to a case against a private TV channel, Sudarshan TV, over a show ('Biondas Bol) that claims Muslims are infiltrating government services. The show in question was recently put on hold by the court on grounds that it attempts to vilify Muslims.
The government also says there is a sufficient framework and judgments on electronic media and print media. "The issue of balancing freedom of speech and responsible journalism has already been governed by statutory provisions and judgments," it said in its affidavit.
The government has also urged the top court to appoint Amicus Curiae - a friend of the court -- or a panel to assist the court in deciding on guidelines.
On Tuesday, the Apex Court voiced concern about the race for TRPs and sensationalism on television, and called for a panel of five distinguished citizens to come up with standards for electronic media.
It needs mention here that the News Broadcasters Association has said in its affidavit that if any channel violates the code and is found guilty in an inquiry, it should be fined up to ₹ 1 lakh.