Govt advises TV channels to be mature, restrained

Fearing a serious law and order problem following the death of the Delhi gangrape victim, the government is learnt to have issued an advisory to TV news channels asking them to show "maturity" and "restraint", and not be "sensational" or "provocative" in their coverage.

The government, sources said, has warned the channels that news of the "tragic death may have implications on public order", and they should refrain from airing anything that might fan simmering public anger.

The TV news editors' body, Broadcast Editors' Association (BEA), had put together an exhaustive list of do's and don'ts after news came on Friday night that the woman was extremely critical. On Saturday morning, BEA sent out an advisory to members, asking them not to cover the funeral or even disclose its location. It also asked members to leave the family alone. "Do not interview even the relatives... Do not show shots of home or family," BEA advised.

The association added that the advisory may not have covered some situations, in which case, channels should "follow the guiding principle of protecting the identity, dignity and the privacy of the girl".

BEA president and editor-in-chief of ABP News Shazi Zaman said, "We wanted to make sure that the identity and the dignity of the person is protected at every cost... We asked for complete respect for privacy."

The Editors' Guild of India asked the government to tighten laws on crimes against women, making punishment for rape both speedy and certain. It also asked the government to outline a programme for changing attitudes towards women, so that certain remarks made by some politicians recently are not considered symptomatic of broader attitudes.

"The Guild... calls for speedy action to make punishment for rape both speedy and certain, as that is the surest preventive step that can be taken," it said in a statement.

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