Information and Broadcasting Ministry will regulate the coverage of incidents like Mumbai terror attack and set up a nodal agency to disseminate 'authoritative news' in such cases.
Noting that broadcasters' coverage of Mumbai attacks in November last year "helped those (attacking us)", Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said,"Everybody has access to TV channels and if we do put in a precaution..., this would be more of a help so that it (the footage) would not be detrimental to national interest...We all felt that certain things in the coverage (of Mumbai attacks by channels) helped those who were attacking us."
"We would be able to correct you all, correct the information or send a little message that we have to be careful," she told NDTV.
She said a nodal agency would also be set up to give correct information. "If there is another incident of any kind
which requires immediate dissemination of authoritative news, you can access a nodal point. A small nodal group which would be empowered in that eventuality to access the right information (would be set up)," the minister said.
Asked whether the nodal agency being proposed by the I&B ministry would stop or blackout any channel in case its
coverage of Mumbai attack-like incident is found to be going against national interest, Soni said "if that is required to be said then....this could be an interactive process".
Soni's comments were in stark contrast to her last week's assurance to journalists that the government has no
plans to impose restrictions on the media.
"The prime minister had spoken (on regulation)... and what he said was good that we don't need to put in place any
regulation which in any way will reflect a desire on the part of anyone to impose any restriction (on media)," she had said to journalists last week at an informal get-together.
The minister had also told mediapersons about her meeting with a delegation of News Broadcasters Association
(NBA) that has come up with its own self-regulatory guidelines on coverage of Mumbai terror attack like incidents.
"I met a delegation of News Broadcasters Association (NBA). They have their own guidelines in place on self-regulation. That is a good thing and we will cooperate in every way with them," the minister had said.