"Sensational reporting and discourse on critical issues just for the sake of viewership and notoriety has resulted in the tarnishing of an image of individual or community or religious or political organization."
A PIL has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking constitution of an independent authority, the Broadcast Regulatory Authority of India, so as to regulate electronic media channels and facilitate development of broadcasting services in India; as electronic media does not come under the ambit of Press Council of India.
The petition has been filed by Advocate Reepak Kansal, alleging that there is no law in existence to bring broadcasting employees/ Anchors in the definition of journalists and electronic broadcasting channels in the definitions of 'PRESS' or Journalist etc.
"These self-declared, un-controlled and un-regulated electronic broadcasting channels are falsely claiming themselves as media and have been running by foreign / Indian investors in the name of news channels / media. It's Anchors falsely represent themselves as Journalists. There is clear cut misuse of fourth pillar of democracy by giving it in the hand of foreign investors. There is scope to weaken the unity and strength of our nation by the foreign investors," the plea states.
It is further prayed to restrict the electronic media from "assassinating" the dignity of any individual, community, religious saint or religious/ political organization, in the name of 'Press'.
The plea states that freedom of speech is not an absolute right under the Indian laws and Clause (2) of Article 19 of the Indian constitution enables the legislature to impose certain restrictions on free speech.
"The airwaves are public property and it is necessary to regulate the use of such airwaves in national and public interest, particularly with a view to ensuring proper dissemination of content and in the widest possible manner," the plea states.
The Petitioner, represented by Advocate Harisha SR, wishes to curb the evil of media trail, parallel trial, judgmental views and interference with the administration of justice.
The plea is likely to be listed on August 7, 2020.