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SC asks Centre to clarify about its power under Cable TV Act over Violence Inciting Broadcasts

New Delhi: Concerned over broadcasts that incite violence, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Central Government to clarify about its powers under Cable TV Networks(Regulation) Act (CTNA) 1994.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde was hearing a batch of pleas seeking action against news reports which communalised the Tablighi Jamaat event during the onset of the novel coronavirus in the country.

The event was blamed for surge in coronavirus infections.

‘We aren’t concerned so much with what people are saying, people say anything these days. We are concerned with situations that may create violence and and lead to loss of property and life”, the bench said.

‘Prevention of instigation is an important part of maintaining law and order,’ the court said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the Government can stop broadcast of objectionable content and he will bring on record the details of instances where the Government has exercised its powers under the Act.

He told the bench there are self-regulatory bodies like broadcaster associations in addition to the News Broadcasters Standards Authority (NBSA) to curb inflammation of content.

The Top Court granted three weeks to respondent to file affidavits in the matter.

In November, 2020 the Top Court had expressed dismay over the Centre’s affidavit in the case and said that the government should consider setting up a regulatory mechanism for TV content.

The court had asked the Centre to file a fresh affidavit on the regulation of electronic media under the CTNA.

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