On 22nd December, the Madras High Court expressed their displeasure about the type of content that is being broadcasted on national television and that the media should be more responsible for what they are televising. A division bench of Justices N.Kirubakaran and B. Pugalendhi, on hearing the two PILs, stated that,
“Just because there is no censorship, television channels cannot display anything and everything on the screen. What effect does it have on children? Shouldn’t there be some control over what is being broadcasted?”
Furthermore, the High Court mentioned how at the time of the 26/11 attacks, the terrorists were utilizing the news updates as tools to carry out the attacks. Giving the case of fear mongers following our own TV stations, they stressed that there should be power over TV and that the media ought to have some obligation and responsibility.
The bench also added,
“While handling social issues, the media needs to be aware of what children are being exposed to. Children are easily affected and have a sensitive mind. Important rules and regulations have to come in place as the electronic media is at an unavoidable level, so much so that even a newborn is staring at the screens in this internet age.”
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The Central Government reassured that commercial games were not being looked at as online gambling.
Centre further has asked the court to respond to questions such as, “What is the number of addicted people? Have people lost their lives? The reality needs to be taken into consideration even if online gambling is being disguised as skilled games.” An order was earlier imposed on the ban of broadcasting sexualized advertisements. The Centre stated their worry about sexual content being televised even during primetime television. They said,
“Awkward content, which is on the lines of pornography is broadcasted even during television’s primetime.”
Appearing for the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Additional Solicitor General Victoria L. Gowri added that to monitor such content there are institutional mechanisms and under the Information Technology Act, there are measures to block obscene content. She added that there is a certain restriction on what time sexual content must be broadcasted even if it is between 9 PM and early in the morning. The 1995 Cable Television Network Act is also applicable to content on the television. This in turn could lead to more bans on online gaming content and gambling in the country.