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The Ministry of I&B warns television networks not to air upsetting or stressful content.

A warning against reporting occurrences of accidents, fatalities, and violence, particularly violence against women, children, and the old, in a way that seriously contradicts "good taste and decency" has been issued today by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to all television networks. The warning was issued after the Ministry became aware of a number of incidents of lack of discretion on the part of television broadcasters.

The Ministry claims that television channels have repeatedly broadcast over several minutes while circling the actions to make them even more horrifying, dead bodies of people, images or videos of injured people with blood all over them, close-ups of people being brutally beat, including women, children, and the elderly, and continuous cries and shrieks of a child being beat by a teacher. It has also been made clear that the audience finds the way such instances are reported repulsive and upsetting.

The impact that such reporting has on different audiences has been underlined in the guideline. According to the paper, youngsters may suffer negative psychological effects as a result of these reports.

The advise has emphasised the critical problem of privacy invasion, which may be potentially libellous and defamatory. Television is a platform that is typically used by families in homes with individuals from all cohorts — old, middle-aged, small children, etc. — and from various socioeconomic backgrounds. As a result, the broadcasters are held to a certain level of responsibility and discipline, which has been codified in the Programme Code and the Advertising Code.

The Ministry has seen that, in the majority of cases, videos are pulled directly from social media and broadcast without any editorial judgement or alterations to guarantee that they comply and are consistent with the Programme Code.

Here is a list of several instances of recently broadcast stuff like this:

1. 30.12.2022 showing the distressing images and videos of a cricketer injured in an accident, without blurring.

2. 28.08.2022 showing disturbing footage of a man dragging the dead body of a victim and also focusing on the face of the victim with blood splattered around.

3. 06-07-2022 about a distressing incident in which a teacher can be seen brutally thrashing a 5-year-old boy until he lost consciousness in a coaching classroom in Patna, Bihar. The clip was played without muting it in which painful cries of the child begging for mercy can be heard and was shown for over 09 minutes.

4. 04-06-2022 showing the distressing gory images of the dead body of a Punjabi singer without blurring.

5. 25-05-2022 showing a disturbing incident of a man brutally beating two minor boys with a stick in Chirang district of Assam. In the video, the man can be seen mercilessly beating boys with sticks. The clip was played without blurring or muting in which the boys’ painful cries are clearly heard.

6. 16-05-2022 where a woman advocate was brutally assaulted by her neighbor in Bagalkot district of Karnataka, showing continuously without edits.

7. 04-05-2022 showing a man hacking his own sister to death in Rajapalayam, Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu.

8. 01-05-2022 about a man being hung upside down from a tree and brutally thrashed with sticks by five people in Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh.

9. 12-04-2022 about an accident in which distressing visuals of five dead bodies are continuously shown without blurring.

10. 11-04-2022 about an incident where a man can be seen brutally attacking his 84-year-old mother in Kollam, Kerala, dragging his mother through the yard beating and thrashing her mercilessly shown continuously without blurring for approximately 12 minutes.

11. 07-04-2022 about a highly disturbing video of an old man setting his son ablaze in Bengaluru. The unedited footage of the old man lighting a matchstick & throwing it on his son upon which he was engulfed in flames was telecast repeatedly.

12. 22-03-2022 about a video of a 14-year-old minor boy being beaten in Morigaon district of Assam, carried without blurring or muting in which the boy can be heard crying and pleading while being beaten mercilessly.

Raising concern over such broadcast and in view of larger public interest involved and having regard to the nature of audience of television channels including elderly, women and children, the Ministry has strongly advised all private television channels to attune their systems and practices of reporting incidents of crime, accidents and violence, including death in conformity with the Programme Code.

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