Exercise restraint on Telangana report, news channels told

December 29th, 2010 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Telangana New Delhi/Hyderabad, Dec 29 (IANS) The central government has asked the electronic media to exercise restraint in the coverage of the Srikrishna committee’s report on the demand for a separate state of Telangana.Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni Wednesday met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and suggested that a nodal spokesperson be appointed to make announcements about the contents of the report, which is to be submitted to the central government Dec 31.

She told reporters that Chidambaram had agreed to the suggestion and that the spokesperson would work under the home ministry. “There will be a nodal spokesperson so that all channels get official information on the whole thing,” he said.

Soni appealed to the media to abide by the guidelines of the National Broadcasters Association (NBA) and not telecast speculative stories, which may lead to untoward incidents.

“We request all channels even in Andhra Pradesh to be objective and (exercise) restraint so that no provocative telecast could cause an incident to happen,” the minister said.

The meeting attended by the cabinet secretary, secretary, information and broadcasting and chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh discussed the various issues related to the coverage of the panel’s report.

The NBA has already issued do’s and don’ts for all 48 television channels and 4,800 cable operators in Andhra Pradesh. The central government has also asked the state government to make use of the Cable Operators Act of 1995 to cancel licenses of the operators who violate the guidelines.

The channels have been asked not to speculate on the report before it is made public and thereafter cover it in sensational, inflammatory or provocative way. The NBA has also directed channels not to show footage of violence, agitation and self-immolation in news items relating to the committee’s report.

The Srikrishna committee was set up in February to study, among other things, the situation in Andhra Pradesh in the aftermath of the protests for a separate Telangana state and the counter-protests that virtually crippled the state for weeks.

The committee met over 100 groups including political parties, intellectuals, politicians and retired bureaucrats and visited all the 23 districts of the state.

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