TV networks issued warnings against unsettling imagery and photos

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The Programme Code and the Advertising Code already forbid the broadcast of such graphic images, yet news channels routinely flout the rules in order to fabricate dramatic stories and increase their TRP.


New Delhi: In a new advise dated January 9, 2023, the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) cautions satellite news broadcasters to refrain from airing unedited unsettling footage and upsetting imagery.

The Ministry claims that television channels have repeatedly broadcast over several minutes while circling the actions to make them even more horrifying, dead bodies of people, images or videos of injured people with blood all over them, close-ups of people being brutally beaten, including women, children, and the elderly, and continuous cries and shrieks of a child being beaten by a teacher. It has also been made clear that the audience finds the way such instances are reported repulsive and upsetting.

The influence that such reporting has on different audiences has been highlighted by the recommendation. Such reports have been said to have a negative psychological effect on children. The advice has emphasised the critical problem of privacy invasion, which may be potentially libellous and defamatory. Television imposes a certain sense of responsibility and discipline upon the broadcasters, which has been enshrined in the Programme Code and the Advertising Code. Television is a platform that is typically watched by families in households with people from all cohorts – old aged, middle-aged, small children, etc. – and with various socio-economic backgrounds.

The Ministry has seen that, in the majority of cases, videos are pulled directly from social media and broadcast without any editorial judgement or alterations to guarantee that they comply and are consistent with the Programme Code.

Here is a list of several instances of recently broadcast stuff like this:

1. Displaying without blurring on December 30, 2022, upsetting photos and videos of a cricketer hurt in an accident.

2. On August 28, 2022, a frightening video of a man dragging a victim’s dead body was shown. The video also focused on the victim’s face, which was covered in blood.

3. On July 6, 2022, a disturbing occurrence occurred in a coaching classroom in Patna where a teacher was witnessed viciously beating a 5-year-old boy till he passed out. The videotape, which was played without being muted and played for more than nine minutes, features the child’s agonising pleadings for compassion.

4. 04-06-2022 presenting the horrifying grisly photos of a Punjabi singer’s dead body without blurring

5. The terrible occurrence of a man severely hitting two young boys in Assam’s Chirang district with a stick is depicted on 25-05-2022. The man can be seen brutally striking minors with sticks in the footage. The video was played without blurring or muting, and it is easy to hear the youngsters’ agonising sobs.

6. The uncut footage from the day of May 16, 2022, when a woman attorney was viciously attacked by her neighbour in the Karnataka district of Bagalkot.

7. 04-05-2022 depicts a man in Rajapalayam, Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar district, fatally slashing his own sister.

8. On May 1, 2022, five individuals in the Chhattisgarh district of Bilaspur savagely beat a man with sticks while he was hanging upside down from a tree.

9. 12-04-2022 is a news story about an accident in which disturbing images of five dead people are displayed nonstop.

10. On April 11, 2022, a guy can be seen viciously assaulting his 84-year-old mother in Kollam, Kerala. The man drags his mother through the yard while hitting and bashing her severely for nearly 12 minutes.

11. 07-04-2022 about a gruesome video showing an elderly guy in Bengaluru burning his son on fire. Uncut video of the elderly guy lighting a match and hurling it at his son, who was then consumed by flames, was frequently broadcast.

12. On March 22, 2022, a video of a 14-year-old minor boy being brutally assaulted in the Assamese area of Morigaon was broadcast without blurring or muting. In the video, the youngster can be heard sobbing and imploring as he is being pummeled.

The Ministry has strongly advised all private television channels to adjust their systems and practises for reporting incidents of crime, accidents, and violence, including death, in accordance with the Programme Code after becoming concerned about such a broadcast, taking into account the larger public interest involved and considering the nature of television channel audiences, which include elderly, women, and children.

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