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TV channels reject Ministry’s advisory

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Television news broadcasters have unanimously rejected the Union Information & Broadcasting Ministry’s advisory on coverage of terrorism — particularly the Mumbai attacks and its aftermath — as “completely unacceptable.”

Meeting in the capital a day after the advisory was issued to them late on Wednesday night, channel heads have now decided to approach the Prime Minister who presently holds charge of the Ministry. However, no official word was forthcoming from the News Broadcasters Association and Indian Broadcasters Federation which together represent most news networks.

The Ministry had issued the advisory urging television channels to avoid repeat telecast of footage — particularly gory scenes — of the Mumbai terror attacks due to an apprehension that it would evoke strong sentiments among those affected and slow down the return of normality.

According to the advisory, “gory scenes should not be shown” and “tragedy should not be replayed.”

The Ministry’s contention was that continued telecast of the footage would give further mileage to terrorists whose intention was to create a climate of fear.

Also, the government wanted the “politician-bashing” to stop; adding that channels should not highlight the anger but do follow-up stories highlighting the plight of families who had lost near and dear ones in the attacks.

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