A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court of India which seeks to bring a change in the constitution of the Broadcast Regulatory Authority of India, an independent authority. The aim of this plea is to regulate electronic media channels and facilitate the development of broadcasting services in the country as currently, e-media does not come under the ambit of the Press Council of India. The petition has been filed by Advocate Reepak Kansal. He alleged that there is no law in existence that brings employees and anchors of these platforms within the ambit of journalists, and electronic channels in the definition of “Press” or “Journalist”.
The plea stated-
“These self-declared, un-controlled and un-regulated electronic broadcasting channels are falsely claiming themselves as media and have been running by foreign / Indian investors in the name of news channels/media. It's Anchors falsely represent themselves as Journalists. There is clear cut misuse of the fourth pillar of democracy by giving it in the hand of foreign investors. There is scope to weaken the unity and strength of our nation by the foreign investors”
It went on to pray for imposing restrictions on these platforms to stop them from “assassinating” the dignity of any individual, community, religious saint, or religious/political organization in the name of the Press. It contends that Article 19 of the constitution which guarantees Freedom of Speech and Expression also enables the legislature to impose certain restrictions in the public interest. The plea went on to say-
“The airwaves are public property and it is necessary to regulate the use of such airwaves in the national and public interest, particularly with a view to ensuring proper dissemination of content and in the widest possible manner,” Advocate SR Harisha represented the petitioner who wishes to curb the evil of media and parallel trails, judgemental views, and interference with the administration of justice. The Petitioner, represented by Advocate Harisha SR, wishes to curb the evil of media trail, parallel trial, judgmental views, and interference with the administration of justice. With a popular celebrity case being hyped by media so much, there have been multiple instances of fake news, faulty theories, and malignation of character without due process which has interfered with the administration of justice. [Read Petition]