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 advisory has been issued after several instances of lack of discretion by television channels were noticed by the Ministry.
The Ministry has said that television channels have shown dead bodies of individuals and images/videos of injured persons with blood splattered around, people, including women, children and elderly being beaten mercilessly in close shots, continuous cries and shrieks of a child being beaten by a teacher, 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 advisory has highlighted the impact such reporting has on various audience. It has stated that such reports can also have an adverse psychological impact on the children. There is also a crucial issue of invasion of privacy which could be potentially maligning and defamatory, the advisory has underlined. Television, being a platform usually watched by families in households with people from all cohorts – old aged, middle aged, small children, etc., and with various socio-economic backgrounds, place certain sense of responsibility and discipline among the broadcasters, which have been enshrined in the Programme Code and the Advertising Code.
The Ministry has observed that in most cases the videos are being taken from social media and broadcast without editorial discretion and modifications to ensure compliance and consistency with the Programme Code.
A list of examples of such recently broadcast content is as below:
1. 30.12.2022 showing the distressing images and videos of a cricketer injured in an accident, without blurring.
2. 28.08.2022 showing disturbing footage of a man dragging the dead body of a victim and also focusing on the face of the victim with blood splattered around.
3. 06-07-2022 about a distressing incident in which a teacher can be seen brutally thrashing a 5-year-old boy until he lost consciousness in a coaching classroom in Patna, Bihar. 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 09 minutes.
4. 04-06-2022 showing the distressing gory images of the dead body of a Punjabi singer without blurring.
5. 25-05-2022 showing a disturbing incident of a man brutally beating two minor boys with a stick in Chirang district of Assam. In the video, the man can be seen mercilessly beating boys with sticks. The clip was played without blurring or muting in which the boys’ painful cries are clearly heard.
6. 16-05-2022 where a woman advocate was brutally assaulted by her neighbor in Bagalkot district of Karnataka, showing continuously without edits.
7. 04-05-2022 showing a man hacking his own sister to death in Rajapalayam, Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu.
8. 01-05-2022 about a man being hung upside down from a tree and brutally thrashed with sticks by five people in Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh.
9. 12-04-2022 about an accident in which distressing visuals of five dead bodies are continuously shown without blurring.
10. 11-04-2022 about an incident where a man can be seen brutally attacking his 84-year-old mother in Kollam, Kerala, dragging his mother through the yard beating and thrashing her mercilessly shown continuously without blurring for approximately 12 minutes.
11. 07-04-2022 about a highly disturbing video of an old man setting his son ablaze in Bengaluru. The unedited footage of the old man lighting a matchstick & throwing it on his son upon which he was engulfed in flames was telecast repeatedly.
12. 22-03-2022 about a video of a 14-year-old minor boy being beaten in Morigaon district of Assam, carried without blurring or muting in which the boy can be heard crying and pleading while being beaten mercilessly.
Raising concern over such broadcast and in view of larger public interest involved and having regard to the nature of audience of television channels including elderly, women and children, the Ministry has strongly advised all private television channels to attune their systems and practices of reporting incidents of crime, accidents and violence, including death in conformity with the Programme Code.