Supreme Court On Media: Expressing displeasure over hate speeches on various television channels, the Supreme Court on Wednesday sought to know whether the government is a “silent spectator” and whether the Center intends to enact laws as per the recommendations of the Law Commission. The court also said that visual media has had a ‘disastrous’ effect and no one cares about what is written in the newspapers as people do not have time to read (the newspaper).
Referring to the role of anchors during TV debates, the court said that it is their responsibility to stop hate speech while discussing any issue. Justice K. A bench of Justices M. Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy said there is a need to develop an institutional mechanism to deal with hate speeches.
The court expressed dissatisfaction with the steps taken by the government in this matter and made oral remarks, “Why is the government sitting as a mute spectator?” The Supreme Court also asked the central government to clarify its stand on whether It intends to enact a law in line with the recommendations of the Law Commission to ban hate speech? Meanwhile, the bench refused to include the Press Council of India and the National Association of Broadcasters (NBA) as parties in the petitions spreading hate speech and rumours.
Know what the Supreme Court said
The court said, “We have given reference to TV news channel, because the use of hate speech is done through visual medium. If someone writes something in the newspapers, no one reads it nowadays. No one has time to read newspapers.” One of the petitioners, advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, had sought to make the Press Council of India and the National Association of Broadcasters parties in the case.
The Supreme Court emphasized the need for a regulatory mechanism to check hate speech. It appointed senior advocate Sanjay Hegde as amicus curiae and asked him to assess the state governments’ responses to the petitions. The next hearing of the case will be on November 23.