Arun Jaitley on rebels without a cause

Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley held a meeting for the media where he asked them to act responsibly on matters involving national security and sensitive issues.

While holding the first Justice J. S. Verma Memorial lecture Jaitley commented on the ‘Freedom and Responsibility of Media’ in New Delhi. He said that the media’s occupation was to ensure quality and credibility of the matter presented to the audience.

He advised the media to circumvent conducting trials in parallel to reporting matters that were under judicial consideration and therefore prohibited from public discussion elsewhere.

Jaitley said there was an urgent need to discuss roles played by media in relation to freedom and responsibility.

Indicating that government was not predisposed to create obstruction either in the content or the matters of media body. And that the government was not inclined to put a cap on advertising for TV or print media.

“It will be music to the years of media persons that my ministry, a couple of years ago came out with a statutory law that no channel will telecast advertisements beyond a certain set of minutes.” He mused on how such a cap fit with Article 19 1 A of the constitution that guaranteed the freedom of the media.

The legislations are particularly questioned and the matter, currently, holds a pending position in the court. Jaitley has also battled for incrementing FDI in media from the present restriction of 26% commenting that while global newspapers are already available online in India, there was no justification opposing the move.

During elections, it is not a tongue held secret that a high percentage of all the candidates’ election budget is consumed on managing news, he said. The Election Commission attempts to constrict it down but because of the critical behavior of the transaction, it is a difficult task to detect.

This was probably the first time that instead of leading to huge protests for an incident, the government apologized, which sent a message that it was acting responsibly.

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