The Issue of Programme Code for Media outlets

Synopsis – Karnataka High Court directs media outlets to stick to Programme Code.


  1. Karnataka minister resigned after media aired footage that allegedly featured him and an unidentified woman.
  2. There has been speculation about the prospect of more such CDs that could be aired.
  3. Following that, PIL filed by Jarkiholi’s lawyer. It seeks to take steps to safeguard the right to privacy of individuals and ensure that media do not breach the law by invading the privacy of individuals.
  4. Karnataka HC directs media houses to follow the Programme code defined under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act. It restrained around 70 media organization from broadcasting or publishing contents of a CD.

However, the order of restraining media might become a tool of harassment.

What are the concerns and provisions about the Programme Code?

  • The code contains an elaborate list for a media organization. It says that no programme should be aired that contains
        • Anything offensive for the sovereignty and integrity of India.
        • Criticism of friendly relations of India with any foreign state.
        • Obscene, defamatory, false, and suggests innuendos and half-truths.
  • DMs, SDMs and police commissioners are the authorized officers to ensure that the Programme Code is not breached.
  • It contains defamation, half-truths and innuendo as the potential violations.
Penalties under the code-

If any media governed under the CTN Act violates the provisions and the Programme Code, the code prescribes;

  • Imprisonment up to two years or fine up to ₹1,000 or both for the first offence or
  • Imprisonment up to five years and with a fine of up to ₹5,000
What are the challenges in this case?
  • No complained filed by the victim- It is not possible to show any misconduct in the absence of a complaint from the victim, or even information about her.
  • Invasion of Privacy – An invasion of someone’s privacy or a disrespectful representation of women cannot be justified in the name of the public good.

Source- The Hindu


[Answered] Distinguish between “Code of ethics” and “Code of conduct” with suitable examples.

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