Gurdaspur terror attack: DD News flouts I&B ministry guidelines on ‘live’ coverage

The news channel run by state broadcaster Doordarshan — violated the very guidelines that the ministry was asking private broadcasters to follow.

Written by Raghvendra Rao | New Delhi | Updated: July 28, 2015 6:09 am
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As it came out with an advisory asking private news and current affairs television channels to “desist” from engaging in live coverage of the anti-terrorist operations in Gurdaspur with “immediate effect”, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting found that DD News — the news channel run by state broadcaster Doordarshan — violated the very guidelines that the ministry was asking private broadcasters to follow.

Watch video: Analysis of Gurdaspur Terror Attack With Praveen Swami

Top sources in the ministry told The Indian Express that the red flag was raised by the I&B’s Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC), which monitors television and radio content on a real-time basis and provides periodic feedback to the government. The EMMC, sources said, pointed out that the public broadcaster had aired three-five minutes of live coverage of the anti-terror operations in Gurdaspur, thus violating the guidelines.

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“The EMMC pointed out that a DD News reporter ventured very close to the area of the security operations and reported the anti-terror operations live for a few minutes. This is in clear violation of the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2015, which state that no programme shall be carried in the cable service which contains live coverage of any anti-terrorist operation by security forces and that media coverage shall be restricted to periodic briefing by an officer designated by the appropriate government till such operation concludes,” the source said.

As soon as this was pointed out, I&B officials got in touch with DD News top brass and asked them to stop airing live coverage of the operations. In fact, senior I&B officials are learnt to have pulled up DD News officials for having violated the rules despite being a public broadcaster.
A CD containing the footage was summoned from DD News and ministry officials indicated that action may soon follow against officials who allowed this “lapse”.

Responding to an SMS seeking her comment on the matter, DD News Director General Veena Jain replied, “I am not aware of any such thing.”

Earlier, following intervention from various government agencies over many private news channels airing the Gurdaspur anti-terror operations live, the I&B ministry issued an advisory asking them to desist from showing live footage.

“Such telecast is in clear violation of the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2015, and is therefore liable for action thereunder. Therefore, it is hereby advised to desist from further violation of the above said rules with immediate effect,” it said.