House panel formed to restrict ‘arbitrary’ news reporting

House panel formed to restrict ‘arbitrary’ news reporting

March 23, 2017

Lawmakers cut across party lines and demand State control over media

A House Committee of the Legislative Assembly was set up to frame rules and regulations for news media yesterday. This was after members in both Houses, cutting across party lines, came down heavily on what they called “irresponsible” reporting by the media, particularly  24×7 news channels.

Legislative Assembly Speaker K.B. Koliwad announced the formation of the House Committee to draw ‘Lakshman Rekha’ for the electronic media and thereby preventing them from sensationalising trivial family disputes, crime, and ghost stories for increasing TRP (Television Rating Point).

He said, terms and conditions of the House Committee would be framed, keeping in mind media freedom guaranteed under the Constitution, for restricting media from telecasting news “arbitrarily.”

The lawmakers charged the media, both print and visual, with blackmail, extortion, character assassination and misleading the society. Some of them used unparliamentary language while narrating their bitter encounters with the media.

While MLAs listed the issue as ‘sullying of netas image by electronic media’, MLCs took up the subject of reporting sensationalised criminal acts in news channels and other morally ‘degraded incidents’ like black magic. Interestingly, both the Houses demanded some sort of State control over media.

In the Assembly, B.R. Patil of the KJP initiated the debate on “irresponsible and character assassination” reporting by 24×7 channels, and said that the channels have been performing three roles of “petitioner, advocate and judge,” and delivering judgement on politicians. “We know our rights. Without evidences, the electronic media is projecting politicians in a poor light and disrespecting us,” Patil said.

Raju Kage, Suresh Gowda (both BJP), P.M. Narendraswamy, Shivaraj Tangadagi (Congress), S.R. Mahesh (JD-S) and others joined in and condemned the twisting of facts and reporting false news. S.T. Somashekar, B.A. Moinuddin Bava, Srinivas Hebbar (Congress) narrated how they have been harassed and hounded by the media.

Referring to the episode of a crow that sat on the CM’s vehicle, MLA K.S. Puttannaiah alleged, “An injured and ailing crow was shown like a bad omen, bringing in analogies of Lord Shani and other Gods associated with bad luck.”

Criticised for his attack on toll employees, BJPs Tumakuru Rural MLA Suresh Gowda said, “While I was criticising the toll personnel for not complying with rules, I was depicted as a rowdy MLA. Channels pounced on me by colluding with my opponents to tarnish my image.”

Calling for a qualification for reporters, S.R. Mahesh said, “A wedding videographer went on to become the head of the news desk in a channel. What quality of news can you expect from him?”

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