New Delhi: TV channels will be barred from airing live coverage of anti-terrorist operations by security forces as per a new rule approved by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
Broadcasters in such situations will have to restrict themselves to reporting periodic briefing by designated officers, as per the new rule.
Officials said a new clause will be added in the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 as per which TV channels will not carry content "which contains live coverage of any anti-terrorist operation by security forces, wherein media coverage shall be restricted to periodic briefing by an officer designated by the appropriate Government, till such operation concludes."
The officials said the new rule has been approved and likely to be notified by the government soon. When contacted I&B Secretary Bimal Julka confirmed that "an amendment in the rules has been incorporated in the Cable TV Networks Rules, as per the advice of the MHA."
The Ministry of Home Affairs had earlier asked the I&B Ministry to ensure that security operations are not covered live by the media.
The officials said the I&B Ministry had earlier written to the MHA asking what should be the definition of the term "anti-terrorist operation" in order to make changes in the rules.
It has been decided that "anti-terrorist operation" means "such operation undertaken to bring terrorists to justice, which includes all engagements involving justifiable use of force between security forces and terrorists," they said.
The Home Ministry has been persistently of the view that live coverage of anti-terror operations should be banned. In January this year, while delivering the first Justice JS Verma Memorial Lecture, I&B Minister Arun Jaitley had said there had been reports that real time coverage of 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai had helped the handlers of terrorists to get information about what the security agencies were doing.
"Our security agencies and the Ministry of Defence are clearly of the view that this cannot be allowed," Jaitley had said.