Live coverage of 26/11 style anti-terror attacks will have to be curbed for a ‘limited duration’ in the interest of national security, Union information and broadcasting (I&B) minister Arun Jaitley said in a speech on Sunday, while urging the media to also show regard for privacy and objectivity.
Jaitley said authorities had concluded that the plotters of the 26/11 attacks were able to remotely guide the terrorists by watching the non-stop television coverage of the event. There was evidence to show that live coverage also helped the terrorists get information on rescue missions and what was being done to take them down, Jaitley said.
New norms for coverage of such incidents were under “serious and very advanced consideration,” the minister said, delivering the Justice JS Verma Memorial Lecture on ‘Freedom & Responsibility of Media’.
“During the limited duration a security operation is on, strict discipline on the kind of reporting from the place of the incident will have to be maintained,” Jaitley said.
The minister said newer technologies had ensured that censorship no longer worked. “Assuming that there was emergency imposed under Article 352 of the Constitution, the impact of the censorship would be nil. The satellite itself defies geographical boundaries,” he said.
Jaitley also urged the nation’s media to avoid holding ‘media trials’ and respect the privacy of individuals, especially in high-profile cases. Courts come under “tremendous pressure” in such cases and parallel trials prejudice the environment, he said.