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General News MIB warns three news channels for airing disturbing visuals
MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has issued warning against three news channels—People TV, Reporter TV and MBC TV—for alleged content violations.

The warnings were issued to the three channels on 29 November. The three channels were warned to be more careful with their content in future; otherwise appropriate action will be initiated against the channels for violation of the warning.

People TV and Reporter TV are Malayalam news channels while MBC TV is an Odia news channel.

People TV was issued a show-cause notice (SCN) on 31 March for airing a news-based programme ‘Cherian Philip Prathikarikunnu’ on 12 December 2015 which showed the visuals of different suicide incidents in Kerala including dead bodies hanging from a tree and a ceiling fan. The channel had shown the visuals without making them blurred/morphed.

In hearing before the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC), the channel submitted that the mistake happened inadvertently. It also said that that they had set up a body of programme producers and deputy editor who control the content besides setting up a monitoring committee to review the content before it goes on-air.

Reporter TV was issued an SCN on 18 August 2015 for airing the CCTV footage showing a man lying in a pool of blood after being chased and shot down by another man. The report, which aired on 13 May 2015, was about a clash between two groups of rowdies resulting in a shootout inside a government hospital at Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh.

Appearing before the IMC, the representative of Reporter TV accepted that they failed to blur the body of the victim and apologised for the lapse. He also assured the IMC that such mistake would not be repeated in future and that they would take every care to comply with the programme code.

In case of MBC TV, the ministry stated that the channel during a news report revealed the identity of the victim of sexual abuse. In its news bulletin telecast on 28 January 2016, the channel reported about a case of sexual abuse of a woman from lmphal, Manipur, who filed a complaint at the Sambalpur police station in Odisha against an NCC Colonel.

During the telecast, the channel revealed that the victim is an LIC agent and also repeatedly showed her face without blurring/morphing.

“Revealing such details could jeopardise the victim’s social life and future. Also, revealing the identity of such victims puts them at the risk of being identified and traumatised further in the society. Considering the stigma attached to victims of sexual harassment, reporting such cases was considered highly sensitive and required utmost care,” the ministry said.

In another instance, the channel also telecast a fictional serial ‘Mati Baikuntha’ on 8 January 2016, portraying caste discrimination in a remote Indian village where its protagonist Jharna was shown to be repeatedly insulted and harassed by the villagers as being from a lower caste. An extended display of insult began by showing her face being smeared with black and white colours. Then, she was made to wear a garland of old slippers around her neck and then kicked to begin the walk of shame.

The visuals not only appeared to denigrate women but were also offensive and reflected a slandering, ironical and snobbish attitude in the portrayal of certain ethnic, linguistic and regional groups, the ministry stated.

On being questioned about the content, the representative of the channel admitted to the lapse and assured the committee that they would handle such content with utmost caution in future.

The representative further explained that after receiving the ministry’s SCN they had become more sensitive and now they were conducting regular workshops to train their staff and were carrying out editorial checks before the programme went on-air. The representative submitted his unconditional apology before the committee and also ensured that such type of mistakes would not recur.

According to the ministry, the above-mentioned visuals were not only disturbing but could also hurt the sensitivities of the victim’s family as well as the viewers.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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