Business & Economy

Indian government moves to curb sensationalism on national TV

New Delhi, Jan 9 (EFE).- The Indian government on Monday issued a warning to all television channels to stop transmitting “disturbing” images of events in the country, after widespread media coverage of gory details of accidents, murders and other types of violence.

“The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has today issued an advisory to all television channels against reporting incidents of accidents, deaths, and violence including violence against women, children and elderly in manners which grossly compromises on ‘good taste and decency’,” the government said in a press release.

The notice was issued after the ministry noted “several instances of lack of discretion by television channels.”

Over the past few years, broadcasters have aired images of dead bodies and victims covered in blood, scenes of violence including beating of children, women or the elderly, as part of covering such incidents, and given them prime focus.

A dozen cases cited by the release include the widespread coverage of a traffic accident involving a cricket player in late December, after which media outlets aired photos and videos of the wounded celebrity, and zoomed in on bloodstains apart from asking witnesses to describe his condition after the incident.

Another incident mentioned by the authorities is “where a teacher can be seen brutally thrashing a 5-year-old boy until he lost consciousness in a coaching classroom (…) The clip was played without muting it in which painful cries of the child begging for mercy can be heard and was shown for over 9 minutes.”

Such scenes are “shown repeatedly over several minutes including circling the actions thereby making it even more ghastly, without taking the precaution of blurring the images or showing them from long shots. It has further highlighted that the manner of reporting such incidents is distasteful and distressing for the audience,” the release said.

It added that the issue of invasion of privacy, which could be potentially defamatory or maligning, was also crucial.

With over a thousand channels being active across the country in multiple languages, dozens of them with a national reach, TV and online media exercise a massive influence on Indian society and have functioned as a medium of social indignation over crime.

At times intense coverage, which can last for entire program slots or days, floods the audience with minute and private details of the victims or crimes.

Recently, the coverage of a man killing his partner and chopping off her body to throw the pieces in a forest in New Delhi led to the media revealing gruesome details along with her phone conversations with friends and family.

Another headline that has occupied screens for days over the past week is about a drunk man who urinated on a woman on a flight between New York and New Delhi. EFE


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