Live Television Coverage of Anti-Terror Operations Likely to be Banned

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New Delhi:  The Home Ministry is reportedly considering a ban on the live coverage of anti-terror operations and has asked the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to amend rules to stop the airing of such events.

The development comes in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks where the National Security Guard or NSG operations were covered live.

The Home Ministry is asking for more changes to the 15-point Programme Code prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 for this purpose. The rules were amended in 2009 when private broadcasters were brought within the ambit of the Cable Television Networks Rules.

The Home Ministry has written a letter to the I&B Ministry, but has not received a response, sources said.

As part of a self-regulation exercise on part of private broadcasters, restrictions were put by the National Broadcaster Association on live reporting of terror situations. However, no official ban has been put on the live coverage of anti-terror operations.

During the Mumbai terror attacks, television channels had broadcast live images, which included the moves by security forces, para-dropping of commandos, which led the authorities to intervene and stop it.

Live coverage of a National Security Guard or NSG chopper operation at Nariman House was of particular concern to the government as it revealed that the controllers of the terrorists in Pakistan were monitoring TV channels to guide the attackers.

At that time, the I&B Ministry had issued directives to TV channels asking them to exercise caution while covering terror incidents.
    
In 2011, another advisory was issued pointing out that some TV channels telecast interviews with terrorists or terrorist groups, which the government said could help them advance their agenda.

It was also pointed out that such coverage would amount to violation of the provisions of the Programme Code. The Code so far mentions a broad category - that programmes which contain anything affecting the integrity of the nation shouldn't be carried in a cable service.



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