The advisory issued by the Information & Broadcasting ministry late Tuesday night asking all private satellite television channels “not to telecast” the documentary “India’s Daughter”–containing an interview with one of the convicted rapist of the December 16, 2012 gangrape victim—has, amongst other things, underlined that the telecast of these excerpts would appear to compromise the role of the media and would make it appear as a voice for the perpetrator.
Stating that “a number of private TV channels have been showing certain excerpts of a programme titled “India’s Daughter”, proposed to be telecast by the BBC and the NDTV”, the I&B advisory has said that the “excerpts contain an interview with one of the convicted rapists of the Delhi gangrape victim of December, 2012” and that “these excerpts were telecast on various channels throughout the day with visuals of the convict, who was showing no remorse whatsoever for the heinous act”.
As one of the reasons behind the advisory, the I&B ministry has argued that “telecast of these excerpts appear to compromise the role of the media as the upholder of constitutional values as the fourth pillar of our democracy”. “The media is likely to be seen as a voice for the perpetrator of such crimes by providing him a medium to communicate his views on the matter repeatedly,” the advisory has said. “Further, his appeal being sub-judice, this is also liable to be construed as interference with the due process of law,” the advisory has stated.
Invoking provisions of Rule 6 (1) (d, e, f, i, k and o) of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, the I&B ministry has “advised” all private satellite channels “not to telecast the documentary” or “any excerpts from therein” or “any programmes based on these excerpts”. The ministry has also stated that “any violation of the Programme Code shall invite such action as provided for in the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and Rules framed thereunder as well as the terms and conditions stipulated in the uplinking/downlinking guidelines”.
The I&B advisory has gone on to state that the “excerpts also contained his chauvinistic and derogatory views regarding women in general and the victim in particular” and that “these programmes also provided a platform for the convict to use the media to further his own case, especially when his appeal against his conviction, is sub-judice”.
It adds that “telecast of these excerpts appear to encourage and incite violence against women, thus compromising women’s public safety” and that “they also provide encouragement to anti-social elements to indulge in violent acts compromising law and order”.