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TV channels told to verify content taken from social media

The information and broadcasting ministry plans to issue an advisory requiring TV channels to run scrolls that alert viewers to the source of their information.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2017 23:29 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
TV channels,TV content,social media
People in Allahabad watch a live telecast on TV. (PTI photo / Representative Image)

The Centre wants television channels to authenticate reports before broadcasting so that false or doctored material sourced from social media does not pass off as news, government officials said on Friday.

Following reports of unverified feed aired by television channels causing unrest and panic among the public, the information and broadcasting ministry plans to issue an advisory requiring television channels to run scrolls that alert viewers to the source of their information, the officials added on condition of anonymity. They will also have to issue a disclaimer if the content is derived from individuals or social media platforms, the officials said.

Earlier this week, the ministry took Gujarat-based VTV off the air for a day after it broadcast controversial footage showing children being beaten purportedly at a state orphanage. The incident had actually occurred in Egypt.

“In some cases, the so-called news items were later found to be untrue, as was the case with VTV, or shown with the intent to sensationalise or create panic, as was done by the Assam-based DY365,” one of the officials said.

DY365 TV was ordered off-air from December 15 to 18 after it telecast a programme showing newborns being tossed in the air as part of a bizarre ritual.

Despite the channel’s claim that it was merely showcasing a practice prevalent in Assam, an inter-ministerial committee ruled that it violated the provisions of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 by airing extremely disturbing visuals unsuitable for public exhibition.

The News Broadcasters Association refused to comment on the proposal.

The ministry was yet to contact them for their views, an official with the association said, asking not to be identified.

First Published: Dec 22, 2017 23:28 IST