Since coming to power 14 months ago, the Narendra Modi government has issued a total of 31 warnings, orders and advisories to different television channels for violating the various provisions of the programme code, a part of the Cable Television (Regulation) Act, 1995, as data provided to Parliament shows.
But the interesting point is that violations by news channels are significantly up when compared with the last 14 months of the Manmohan Singh government. It stood at 90 per cent (or 27 of 31) in comparison to 42 per cent (or 16 of 38) during the past 14 months of UPA-II. Violations by non-news channels, notably, general entertainment channels (GECs), were 22 of 38, or 58 per cent, during UPA-II, data shared with Parliament shows. In the current regime, non-news violations stand at four only.
Data show the most prominent reason for violations by non-news channels in UPA-II was the telecast of programmes that showed "obscene and women-denigrating content".
But if one looks at the rap given to news channels by the present regime, it is for an entirely different set of reasons. A few were pulled up for showing disturbing visuals such as people being stabbed - this without morphing or blurring. Data show there were six such violations of the 27 issued to news channels. In some cases, channels were pulled for inciting passions. UP-based Sudarshan News, for instance, was warned twice by the new central government on this ground. The first warning was given in October last year for running a programme called Siyaasi Dango Mai UP; the second one was given in June this year for showing a programme which alleged Vice-President Hamid Ansari did not salute the national flag on Republic Day.
Headlines Today, now known as India Today TV, was issued a warning in October last year for showing a special programme called Muzaffarnagar Conspiracy Exposed.
Vasanth TV, run by Tamil Nadu Congress leader H Vasanthakumar, was issued a warning by the central government in August last year for revealing the identity of sexually abused minor children.