SC slams electronic media over 26/11 coverage
Even as the Supreme Court upheld 26/11 convict Ajmal Kasab's death sentence, it criticised the electronic media's "reckless coverage" of the attacks.
A bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice CK Prasad observed that instead of serving the interests of the nation, TV channels had made it difficult for security forces to fight back.
Live telecast of the operations could have even resulted in security personnel suffering casualties, they added.
Electronic media's argument to have a regulatory mechanism for itself has come under cloud with SC's scathing words.
"The coverage of the Mumbai terror attack by the mainstream electronic media has done much harm to the argument that any regulatory mechanism for the media must only come from within," the bench said.
Taking note of the tapped conversations between the attackers and their collaborators across the border, the court said coverage helped the assailants counter security movements as their positions were being reported live.
The operational movements were being watched by the collaborators across the border on TV screens and being communicated to the terrorists, the court added.
On the other hand security forces had no means to know terrorists' exact position or even the kind of firearms and explosives they possessed.
"Any attempt to justify the conduct of the TV channels by citing the right to freedom of speech and expression would be totally wrong and unacceptable in such a situation. The freedom of expression, like all other freedoms under Article 19, is subject to reasonable restrictions," the bench said.
The apex court felt that the news channels could have shown the shots and visuals after the security operations were over.