The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry is looking into a complaint against a foreign news agency for referring to militants who attacked a Kashmir army base last week as rebels.
Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar filed a complaint against the American agency, Associated Press (AP), that described the September 18 attack as being carried out by “suspected rebels” instead of taking cue from the official statement which said “four heavily armed terrorists”.
The attack, which has become the latest flashpoint between India and neighbouring Pakistan, left 18 soldiers dead in northern Kashmir’s Uri sector. India, which accused Pakistan of sponsoring the militants, mounted a diplomatic offensive at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York, US.
Seeking firmer guidelines on terror reporting by media and their strict enforcement, the Rajya Sabha MP wrote: “There was wilful and deliberate misreporting by AP, in terming the terrorists as ‘suspected rebels’, even as its whole report was based on facts extracted from the official statement.”
“There are guidelines, but they should be enforced,” Chandrasekhar later told Hindustan Times, adding that if conventional media is not regulated, it will be impossible to regulate social media, which has an “enormous ability to propagate untruth”.
The Centre revised the guidelines for reporting terror attacks after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
These include news channels being barred from relaying live pictures of the attacks; the terrorists who carried out the Mumbai attacks received inputs from their handlers who were following the counter-operation on television.
Minister of state for I&B, Rajyavardhan Rathore, responded to the MP on Twitter saying the complaint will be examined, but also noted that there are laid down guidelines.
For more stories on the Uri attack, click here