Centre to ban live coverage of security operations

January 19, 2015 12:53 am | Updated April 01, 2016 10:37 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley said here on Sunday that the challenges for the media came from within and not outside.

Delivering the first Justice J.S. Verma Memorial Lecture on “Freedom and responsibility of media,” organised by the News Broadcasters Association here, he touched upon a slew of issues confronting the media, ranging from multiple takers for advertisement revenue, dipping circulation of newspapers with the advent of television and digital media, resurrection of the radio via FM channels, and media ownership patterns.

Dwelling on the rationale for limitations on live coverage of security operations such as those during the Mumbai terror attack, Mr. Jaitley said security agencies and the Defence Ministry were clearly of the view that such minute-by-minute reporting should not happen, and “the matter is under serious and advance consideration.”

Maintaining that this was not censorship, Mr. Jaitley drew a contrast between the coverage of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Billing the Mumbai terror attack coverage as an example of the desire of the media to be an actor and report from the spot, he said there was enough intelligence to suggest that the terrorists holding people hostage were getting information about the rescue operation from the live coverage.

As for censorship, Mr. Jaitley underlined that “days of bans are over.” “Governments can victimise a particular organisation by not giving it state advertisements but much of the advertisement revenue comes from the private sector.”

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