Government has no plans to curb the freedom of press but wants the self-regulatory system for electronic media to work with greater sensitivity to avoid media trials and vilification of individuals.Making this clear, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said self-regulation was the advanced way of dealing with situations and an ideal solution to have in place.
“My directions from the government are — strengthen, encourage self-regulation with greater sensitivity keeping in mind the viewers,” she told PTI in an interview when she was asked whether there were any moves afoot to put curbs on media freedom as apprehended.
The government recently announced guidelines under which renewal of licenses to TV channels after 10 years would be subject to their not violating any prescribed norms.”I think the media needs to sensitise itself,” Soni said.
She said that even though self-regulatory mechanism was already in place, there had been issues where people felt that there were media trials and vilification of individuals through media, sometimes damaging reputation beyond repair.Referring to the Anna Hazare campaign, she said that in its coverage “it was generally perceived that reporters became participants.
“I don’t know if it was excitement of the atmosphere or something new which was seen by many people. But the way commentaries were made, the way the broadcasts were made, you all generated a hype which was larger than what I feel was.”
Asked if self-regulatory mechanism should be still be given chance, Soni said “I have always spoken on that, that I would like self-regulatory system for electronic media to work with greater sensitivity. I insist on that.”
Noting that self-regulatory system was set up only in June, the I&B Minister said “it is too soon to say one way or other” in terms of its effectiveness.
“Immediately everything doesn’t fall into place but given a chance to work, I think it is an ideal solution to have in place,” Soni said.