Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India
File Photo

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday came down heavily on the government for not curbing TV programmes that instigate, stressing that control over news is as important as preventive measures like barricades to check the law and order situation.

Referring to the internet shutdown in some areas of Delhi on January 26 when the tractor parade turned violent, the apex court underscored the need for “fair and truthful” reporting and said that problem arises when it is used to agitate others.

“The fact of the matter is that there are programmes which have an instigating effect and you are not doing anything about it," Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who was appearing for the Centre.

After the oblique reference to the Republic Day violence on Delhi's streets, the bench continued with the hearing on a batch of pleas, including one filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, alleging bad reporting by some media houses demonising the Muslim community, against the backdrop of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi.

In November last year, the apex court had expressed displeasure over the Centre's affidavit in the case and said that the government should consider setting up a regulatory mechanism to deal with such contents on TV.

The plea filed by Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind had sought directions to the Centre to stop dissemination of "fake news" related to the Nizamuddin congregation and take strict action against those responsible for it.

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