High Court Karnataka HC directs TV news channels to strictly follow...

Karnataka HC directs TV news channels to strictly follow ‘Programme Code’

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Bengaluru, Mar 11 (ILNS) The Karnataka High Court passed an interim order, directing TV news channels to strictly follow the ‘Programme Code’ defined under Section 5 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 (‘Act’ for short) read with Rule 6 of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

Justice PS Dinesh Kumar passed the order on a petition filed by Advocate Arma V Hiremath, in the wake of the sex CD scandal, which led to the resignation of State Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi. The petition lists 70 media outlets, including newspapers, as respondents.

“By an ad-interim direction, it is directed that any broadcast in the Cable Television Network shall be strictly in conformity in terms of ‘Programme Code,’ as defined under Section 5 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 (‘Act’ for short) read with Rule 6 of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994,” said Justice Kumar, in his order passed on March 6.

The petitioner sought directions to the Union of India and the state government to implement the judgement of the Supreme Court in the case of Justice K S Puttaswamy Vs Union of India in its letter and spirit, safeguarding the right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Mr Hiremath also sought directions against the Commissioner of Police to take action against such respondent media platforms, who are in violation of the Programme Code, as mentioned in Rule 6 of the Cable Television Network rules.

Citing the instance of telecast by media houses based upon the release of the contents of a CD allegedly containing visuals of Jarkiholi in a compromising position with a woman, it was said that such broadcast tantamounts to extreme violation of privacy of the aforesaid individual.

The petitioner has claimed that he is espousing his private right as he apprehends that the respondent-media platforms may get in hold of explicit material of the petitioner by unknown sources, broadcast or publish the same in their platforms, thereby infringing upon his right to privacy that is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution.

It is added that a petitioner who belongs to a particular political party is scared that he may be targeted by certain vested interests who would not think twice to invade his privacy and bring peril to his dignity and reputation. The plea also states that programmes and visuals telecast by the respondents/broadcasters offend Rule 6, in as much as the programme in issue is not in good taste or decency, contains obscene, defamatory, deliberate false, suggestive innuendos and half truths which malign or slander individuals.

Following the interim order of the Court, the Bengaluru Police Commissioner on March 9 issued an order, prohibiting all broadcasts which are not strictly in conformity of terms of programme code as defined under Section 5 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act read with rule 6 of the Cable Television Network rules. Any violation of the aforesaid direction shall be liable for prosecution under Section 16 of the Act, he said.

On March 6, a city civil court in Bengaluru had passed an interim injunction order against 68 media organisations, restraining them from publishing defamatory content against six State Ministers. The Ministers had approached the Court, apprehending Jarkiholi-style exposure. ILNS/SNG/JR

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