W.P. (C) 880/2013
Bar on News Broadcast by Private News Stations
The PIL prays for quashing of the unreasonable provisions in the policy guidelines and grant of permission agreements of the Ministry of I&B, which prohibit the broadcast of news and current affairs content on FM and community radio stations. The Court had previously tagged this petition with our PIL on Crime and Violence on TV and some other matters relating to the right to freedom of speech and expression which were dismissed separately on January 12, 2017.
On February 14, 2017, the Court observed that the UOI’s counter affidavit highlighted the gradual progress of the policy guidelines in context of news broadcast by private radio channels. The counter affidavit contended that the revised guidelines permitted community and F.M. radio stations to broadcast news and current affairs sourced exclusively from the All India Radio, in its original form or translated into a local language/dialect.
The Court, however, felt that the government should consider extending the content of news and current affairs which was already in public domain. The Court granted six weeks to the govt. counsel to obtain instructions.
Pursuant to the court order on February 14, 2017, no documents were filed in the Court as of April 3, 2017.
In the hearing on 18 January 2018, the Court directed that the reply of the government should be placed on record.
In the hearing on 12 April 2018, the matter was dismissed on a technical ground. However, Common Cause is in the process of filing a restoration application to the Court.