Taking a step forward to ban live coverage of terror-related operations by TV channels, the Home Ministry has said that ‘anti-terror operations’ should be prohibited from telecasting.
Home Ministry stated its position on the matter after the Information and Broadcasting Ministry sought definition of terms ‘anti-terror operations’ and ‘counter-terror actions’.
The Home Ministry has conveyed that live coverage of anti-terror operations would compromise various aspects of security and jeopardies the life of security personnel and innocent people in a hostage situation.
The counter terrorism initiative include construction of roads, bridges, schools, health centres, improvement of telecommunication network in Maoist-hit areas besides others.
Earlier, the Home Ministry had asked the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to amend the rules to stop live telecast of anti-terror operations.
Citing the unpleasant experience during 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks when news channels broadcast NSG operations live, the Home Ministry told the I&B Ministry to amend the Programme Code under the Cable Television Network Rules so that no terror-related operation is telecast live in future.
In its letter, the Home Ministry had said such live coverage not only affects the secrecy and effectiveness of the operation but also puts the safety of security forces, common people and journalists in jeopardy.
After the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the National Broadcaster Association put out a set of rules, including restriction on live reporting of terror situations, as part of a self-regulation exercise on the part of private broadcasters.
However, so far there is no official ban on live coverage of anti-terror operations. The Home Ministry has sought 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.
During the Mumbai terror attacks, television channels had broadcast live images, including the moves by security forces, para-dropping of commandos, which led the authorities to intervene and stop it.
Last month, Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley had in a lecture indicated that there could soon be norms for media coverage of terror-related operations by saying that the issue is under “serious and very advanced consideration” of the government.