3 news channels in big trouble

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From the time it took charge and came into power,the NDA Government has promulgated  separate and individual  show-cause notices to ABP News, NDTV 24×7 and Aaj Tak deposing that these three private news television channels were contempt  to the judiciary and the President of India by airing certain content on the day 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon was hanged. The Union Information & Broadcasting Ministry has demanded  these channels to give n explanation for what they have done within 15 days and why they should not be punished for broadcasting such information.

The contorted content  includes phone-in interviews of Chhota Shakeel on Aaj Tak and ABP News in which he declared thatYakub Memon was not guilty  and said that four mercy petitions were disregarded in a single day. He also blamed that justice was not done and that he did not trust the court. NDTV 24×7 had showcased an interview of Yakub Memon’s lawyer where in  he  spoke about how many countries have done away with the death penalty.

The show-cause notices to the channels conjure  three sections including Section 1(d), Section 1(g) and Section 1(e) of Rule 6 of the Programme Code prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

Section 1(d) claims that no programme should be done that has anything “offensive, slanderous , purposeful, false and half-truths.” Section 1(e) states that no programme should be aired in the cable service which is “likely to boost or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote anti-national attitudes. Section 1(g) bars channels from carrying content which “contains calumny against the principles of the President and Judiciary”.

Reports claimed that the I&B ministry obtained video clips of the Chhota Shakeel phone-in and Yakub’s lawyer’s statement from the Electronic Media and Monitoring Centre (EMMC) to get the quotes which were mentioned  in the notice.

As soon as the  the channels respond to the show-cause notice, an inter-ministerial committee, which involves officials from the Home, External Affairs and Defense ministries, will scrutinize  their feedback and draw a conclusion  for the next step.

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