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There should be some kind of self-regulation in media, says SC

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NEW DELHI: There should be some kind of self- regulation in the media, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday while raising questions over a “rabid”

Sudarshan TV

programme, claimed by the channel in promos as a ‘big expose on conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims in government service’.

The apex court, while hearing a plea raising grievance over the programme, said that the manner in which some media houses are conducting debate is a matter of concern as all kind of defamatory things are being said.

“Look at this programme, how rabid is this programme that one community is entering into civil services,” observed a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud.

“See how insinuating is the subject of this programme that Muslims have infiltrated the services and this puts the examinations of UPSC under scanner without any factual basis,” said the bench, also comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph.

“Such insidious charges also put a question mark on the UPSC exams. Aspersions have been cast on UPSC. Such allegations without any factual basis, how can this be allowed? Can such programs be allowed in a free society,” the bench said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the top court that freedom of journalist is supreme and it would be disastrous for any democracy to control the press.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the channel, told the bench that the channel considered it as an investigative story on national security.

“Your client is doing a disservice to the nation and is not accepting India is a melting point of diverse culture. Your client needs to exercise his freedom with caution,” the bench told Divan.

During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing, the bench said, “We are not suggesting some kind of censorship on media but there should be some kind of self-regulation in media”.

“How do we lay down some standards for the media reportage,” the bench said, adding that there should be some kind of self-regulation and it would hear the solicitor general on this issue.

The apex court said the petition has sought guidelines as to how media should report some issues and guidelines for self-regulation.

“We are not saying states will impose any such guidelines as it would be an anathema to Article 19 of freedom of speech and expression,” the bench said.

The apex court observed that revenue model of TV channels and their ownership patterns should be put in public domain on the website.

“The point is this that the right of the media is on behalf of the citizens only and it’s not an exclusive right of the media,” the bench said.

“Electronic media has become more powerful than print media and we have not been supportive of pre-broadcast ban,” it added.

Mehta told the bench that there should be some kind of self-regulation but the freedom of journalist has to be maintained.

He also referred to some foreign judgements on freedom of speech and expression.

During the hearing, the bench referred to “criminal investigation” being carried out by some media houses.

“When journalists operate, they need to work around right to fair comment. See criminal investigation, media often focuses only one part of the investigation,” it said.

The bench told Divan, “We expect some kind of restraint from your client”.

Senior advocate Anoop G Chaudhary, appearing for the petitioner, said the Delhi High Court had referred the matter to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry but the ministry did not pass a reasoned order.

He said the ministry allowed the broadcast and did not hear the other side and simply took the statement of the channel that it would follow the broadcasting rules.

On August 28, the top court had refused to impose pre-broadcast ban on telecasting the programme, whose promo claimed that the channel was all set to broadcast a ‘big expose on conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims in government service’.

It had issued notice to the Centre, the Press Council of India, News Broadcasters Association and the channel on a plea filed by advocate Firoz Iqbal Khan who has raised grievance pertaining to the programme.

The apex court had said that prima facie, the petition has raises significant issues bearing on the protection of constitutional rights.

The Delhi High Court, on September 11, had declined to stay the telecast of the series of programmes.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

After quitting govt, BJP’s ‘oldest ally’ Akali Dal walks out of NDA

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CHANDIGARH: Shiromani Akali Dal announced on Saturday night its decision to break its 24-year-old alliance with BJP less than 10 days after it pulled out of PM Narendra Modi’s government with the resignation of Harsimrat Kaur Badal over the passage of three agri-marketing bills in Parliament.

The alliance between SAD and BJP, formed just after the parliamentary elections of 1996, had increasingly seemed untenable as the party was facing immense pressure from its main vote base, the farmers, to completely cut ties with BJP. The party was on the backfoot in Punjab, where spontaneous protests against the agri-marketing bills led by farmers had the party worried about its future, especially as both the ruling Congress party and the opposition Aam Aadmi Party were highlighting the Badal family’s so-called reluctance to quit the alliance with BJP.

SAD’s decision to pull out of the National Democratic Alliance was decided unanimously at an emergency meeting of its core committee, the party’s highest decision-making body. After the three-hour meeting, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said his party was BJP’s oldest ally but the Modi government did not listen to it on honouring the sentiments of farmers. He described the three agri-marketing bills as “lethal and disastrous for the already beleaguered farmers”. The party said it had quit the alliance in protest against the three agri-marketing bills and the Centre’s “stubborn” refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of farmers’ crops at the MSP and for the Centre’s continued “insensitivity” towards the Punjabi language and issues of the Sikh community.

Shiromani Akali Dal core committee decides unanimously to pull out of the BJP-led #NDA because of the Centre’s stub… https://t.co/r92xKtDjQH

— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) 1601140927000

Promising to stand by its core principles of peace, communal harmony and guarding the interest of Punjab, Punjabi in general, and Sikhs and farmers in particular, Sukhbir said the decision was taken in consultation with the people of Punjab, especially party workers and farmers. In a direct attack on the BJP government at the Centre, Sukhbir said with successive decisions the central government had shown its “callous insensitivity” to minority sentiments and has been indifferent to peace and communal harmony in the country, especially in Punjab.

Even after quitting the Modi government, Sukhbir said the SAD had hoped that the Centre would not press on with these “murderous assaults” on farmers and other poor sections who depend on agriculture and trade. “It seems that BJP is totally out of touch with ground realities,” he said. Senior Akali leader Dr Daljit Cheema said the decision to snap ties was taken after much deliberation, adding that the three contentious bills were passed in an undemocratic manner and are being opposed in Punjab, Haryana and other states. “We had even requested President of India Ram Nath Kovind not to approve the bills passed by Parliament,” he said.

Criticising BJP for not paying heed to SAD’s repeated pleas not to force anti-farmer bills, SAD general secretary Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra said there was no point in continuing in the alliance.

Several Insets:

SAD’s Existential Crisis

SAD, which was formed in 1920 and will complete a century in December this year, is going through its worst existential crisis after it was relegated to third spot in the 2017 Punjab assembly election. The party had bagged only 18 seats while rookie AAP secured 20 seats.

Punjab BJP silent:

Despite repeated attempts, Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma was not available for comment after SAD pulled out of the alliance with the party. He will be addressing a press conference on Sunday, said a party spokesperson.

Desperate case of political compulsion: Amarinder

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has termed the Akali decision to quit the NDA as nothing more than a desperate case of political compulsion for the Badals, who, he said, were effectively left with no other option after BJP’s public criticism of SAD over the farm bills.

‘No alliance important before principles’

In Patiala on Saturday afternoon, Sukhbir Badal had indicated the possible snapping of ties with BJP just hours before the actual announcement when he said for his party no alliance was more important than principles. Claiming that his party was neither informed nor asked before passing the bills, he said SAD would not allow the end of the MSP regime.

“If Pain & Protests of 3 cr punjabis fail to melt the rigid stance of GoI, it’s no longer the #NDA envisioned by Vajpayee ji & Badal sahab. An alliance that turns a deaf ear to its oldest ally & a blind eye to pleas of those who feed the nation is no longer in the interest of Pb. (sic)”

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SAD walks out of NDA alliance

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CHANDIGARH: Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) walked out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition in protest against the three farm bills and for continues ‘insensitivity’ towards Punjabi language and issues pertaining to Sikh community.

Terming the bills anti-farmers and anti-Punjab, the core committee of the party decided unanimously to pull out of the BJP -led NDA alliance. The party held the centre’s “stubborn” refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of farmers crops on MSP and its continued insensitivity to Punjabi and Sikh issues like excluding Punjabi language as official language in Jammu and Kashmir the reasons for the decision.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the lone representative of the party in the Union Cabinet, had resigned on September 17.

The meeting was presided over by the SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal who said that SAD will continue to stand by its core principles of peace, communal harmony and guard the interest of Punjab, Punjabi in general and Sikhs and farmers in particular. He said that the decision has been taken in consultation with the people of Punjab especially party workers and farmers. Badal said that the bills on agricultural marketing brought by the BJP government are lethal and disastrous for the already beleaguered farmers.

He said the SAD was the oldest ally of the BJP, but the government did not listen to repeated pleas of honouring the sentiments of farmers. The SAD leader said that the party opposed these bills in the parliament and voted against them.

He said that even after quitting the union government, the SAD had hoped that the centre would not press on with these ” murderous assaults” on farmers and other poor sections who depend on agriculture and trade. “It seems that the BJP is totally out of touch with ground realities,” said Badal,

He said that despite our best efforts, the BJP government did not honour the sentiments of farmers. He said that the farmers are the backbone of the national economy and it is in the national interest that the government should stand by them. Adding, he said that with successive decisions, the present government has shown its callous insensitivity to minority sentiments and has been indifferent to the peace and communal harmony in the country, especially in Punjab.

Senior Akali leader Dr Daljit Cheema said that the decision has been taken after much deliberation. He further said that these bills were passed in an undemocratic manner and are being opposed in Punjab, Haryana and other states. “We had even requested President of India Ram Nath Kovind not to approve the bills passed by the parliament,” said Dr Daljit Cheema.

While slamming BJP for not paying heed to repeated pleas of SAD not to force anti-farmers bills, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra said that there is no point in continuing in alliance.

SAD had first forged an alliance with Bharatiya Jana Sangh, BJP’s predecessor, during state assembly elections in 1969. It later entered into coalition with BJP in 1997 during the state election. SAD joined BJP-led alliance at the centre in 1998.

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Congress no-confidence motion against Yediyurappa govt defeated

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BENGALURU: The no-confidence motion moved by the opposition Congress against the BJP government in Karnataka led by chief minister B S Yediyurappa was defeated by voice vote on Saturday night.

After a fierce debate for about six hours, the no-confidence motion moved by leader of the opposition Siddaramaiah was defeated by a voice vote.

“The motion is in favour of numbers. The motion is defeated by the voice vote,” speaker Kageri said as he winded up the current session of the Karnataka assembly.

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