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Centre pulls up pvt channels on Rajasthan riot coverage

Munsi raises objections over the television coverage of riots in different parts of Rajasthan, reports Chetan Chauhan.

india Updated: Jun 04, 2007 23:20 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

The government on Monday asked private television channels to be more responsible on telecasting riots in Rajasthan over the demand of Gujjars for reservation under Scheduled Tribes category. But, said no restrictions would be imposed on journalistic freedom to report events.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said the media should also report the initiatives to restore peace as incident is reported. “I don’t want to interfere with your (media) judgement. But, my appeal is that the incidents which have taken place five days ago should not be shown repeatedly,” he said.

Munsi met representatives met of about 20 channels in the morning after Home Ministry raised objections over the television coverage of riots in different parts of Rajasthan. Home Ministry had raised its objections to coverage in certain news channels through a communication on Saturday saying television channels had not helped in restoring peace.

Barkha Dutt, Managing Editor NDTV 24x7, said, they agreed not to show old footage without ‘proper context’ but resisted any move of government imposing restrictions. “We were of the view that any type of regulation should come from the industry itself and not from outside,” she said.

Munsi, however, said that self-regulation was welcome but whether it is being done or not, it was for the media to decide. “Governments’ initiative to restore peace should be equally reported,” he added.

The television channels did not agree to certain government suggestions like not naming castes involved in the conflict and doing stories on relations between Gujjars and Meenas have mended. “Those days are gone when names of the communities involved in clashes was not given,” she said. The channel representatives also said they cannot do premature news reports or stories falsifying bonhomie and complained that Rajasthanaccess to information was limited .

Munsi said bad publicity for Rajasthan could adversely impact international tourists coming to India. “Rajasthan occupies great place in international tourism sphere. The booking for the forthcoming season has just started and the media coverage can show the state in a bad light,” he said, while making an appeal to channels to show restraint while covering Gujjar-Meena conflict.

First Published: Jun 04, 2007 23:12 IST