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Refrain from platforming terrorists, criminals: Centre to media amid India-Canada row

Amid the ongoing Canada-India diplomatic crisis, the Union government on Thursday, issued an advisory to private television channels to refrain from interviewing individuals linked with terrorism, facing charges with serious crimes or giving platform to those belonging to proscribed organisations. The advisory, issued by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, said “a person” facing cases of […]

Amid the ongoing Canada-India diplomatic crisis, the Union government on Thursday, issued an advisory to private television channels to refrain from interviewing individuals linked with terrorism, facing charges with serious crimes or giving platform to those belonging to proscribed organisations. The advisory, issued by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, said “a person” facing cases of crime including terrorism was invited for a discussion on a television channel wherein he made several remarks which were detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of the country. However, the advisory does not specify or mention which channel or person it is referring to.
“It has come to the notice of this Ministry that a person in a foreign country against whom there are serious cases of crime including terrorism, belonging to an organisation which has been proscribed by law in India was invited for a discussion on a television channel wherein the said person made several comments/remarks which were detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of the country, security of India, friendly relations of India with a foreign state and also had the potential of disturbing public order in the country,” the Information and Brodcasting ministry read said. The Government upholds media freedom and respects its rights under the Constitution, the content telecast by TV channels must adhere to the provisions of the CTN Act, 1995, including sub section (2) of Section 20, it added.
“In the light of the above, television channels are advised to refrain from giving any platform to reports/references about and views/agenda of persons of such background including those against whom there are charges of serious crimes/terrorism and belonging to organisations which have been proscribed by law, having regard to the reasonable restrictions laid down under Article 19(2) of the Constitution and mentioned under sub-section (2) of Section 20 of the CTN Act,” the advisory said. Section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 laying down the circumstances and conditions under which the Central Government may, by order, regulate or prohibit transmission or retransmission of any television channel or programme in public interest, and where it is considered necessary and expedient to issue such orders in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, security of state, friendly relations of India with any foreign state, or public order or decency or morality.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday said his country stands by the international rules-based order and repeated his charge on India’s role in the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar stating that there are “credible reasons” to believe the same. During a press conference, the Canadian Prime Minister took questions about Canada’s tensions with India, after both countries took a series of diplomatic steps against each other. Trudeau said, “We call upon the Government of India to take seriously this matter and to work with us to shed full transparency and ensure accountability and justice in this matter.”

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