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Sudarshan TV row | Supreme Court defers hearing by two weeks

A view of Supreme Court of India, in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave parties in a case against Sudarshan TV two weeks to respond to a Ministry of Information and Broadcasting order of November 4, which held that the channel’s ‘Bindas Bol - UPSC Jihad’ programme is “not in good taste, offensive and has the likelihood of promoting communal attitudes”.

‘Bindas Bol’ accuses Muslims of “infiltrating” the civil services with the help of funding from terror-linked organisations abroad.

A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, in a short hearing, acknowledged the filing of the government affidavit, to which the November 4 order was annexed.

The Ministry order does not expressly stop the channel from telecasting further episodes. But it insists that the channel should suitably moderate and modify the programme’s audio and visual content to be in tune with the Programme Code.

 

“While freedom of expression is a fundamental right, the tone and tenor of the episodes telecast do indicate that the channel has through the various utterances and audio visual content breached the Programme Code”, the order said.

The Ministry “cautions” the channel to be “careful” ahead and promises “stricter penal action” in case of further violations.

Series of directions

The Ministry gave a series of directions for future telecast, including that the content aired should not offend good taste or decency.

The channel was asked to avoid “attacks on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promotes communal attitudes”.

The Ministry said programmes should not contain “anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half-truths”. Neither should it invite violence or promote “anti-national attitudes”.

The order asked the channel to comply and report back to the Ministry before the telecast.

The court had stayed the further telecast of the programme episodes on September 15. Four episodes have already been telecast by the time the court issued the injunction.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 9:42:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sudarshan-tv-supreme-court-takes-note-of-centres-affidavit-defers-hearing-by-two-weeks/article33131903.ece

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