On Sunday, the second day of the Delhi protests, the television channels started moderating their coverage. This happened after the Information and Broadcasting Ministry issued a so-called Advisory to the channels.
While the channels toned down coverage the government wasn’t quite satisfied. On Monday channel personnel faced police fury.
Later the channels' OB vans were barred from the vicinity of India Gate.
Here is the text of the Ministry’s Advisory to News and Current Affairs channels, as reproduced by the media blog Churumuri:
All News and Current Affairs satellite Television Channels
Ministry of Information & Broadcasting
“A” Wing Shastri Bhawan
23rd December, 2012
Whereas a number of private satellite news TV channels have been showing programmes covering round-the-clock direct telecast of the events relating to public demonstration being held in New Delhi in the wake of the unfortunate and tragic incident of gang rape of a young girl on 16th December, 2012 in a moving bus.
The channels have been covering the agitation and the efforts of the law enforcing authorities to maintain law & order, as well as the commentaries of the channel reporters to portray the incidents from their own perspectives.
Whereas this incident and the public outcry in its aftermath are a very sensitive issue and any inappropriate media reportage thereon is likely to vitiate the law and order situation.
It has been observed that some private satellite news TV channels in their 24X7 coverage have not been showing due responsibility and maturity in telecasting the events relating the said demonstration and such a telecast is likely to cause deterioration in the law & order situation, hindering the efforts of the law enforcing authorities. (emphasis added)
Whereas Rule 6(1)(e) of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, which contains the Programme Code to be strictly adhered to by all private satellite television channels, provides that no programme should be carried in the cable service which is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitude.
Now, therefore, all private satellite television channels are advised to scrupulously follow the Progarmme Code laid down in the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 and to ensure to telecast the matter in a responsible manner with due care, maturity and restraint.
Any violation of the Programme Code will invite such action as provided for in the Cable Television(Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Rules framed thereunder as well as the terms & conditions stipulated in Uplinking & Downlinking Guidelines.
Joint Secretary to the Government of India.