This is the second such communication in less than 10 days. The last advisory by the I&B ministry was issued on 11 December when the Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha, after which protests had broken out in several parts of the country.
“It is observed that notwithstanding the above Advisory, some TV channels are telecasting content which do not appear to be in the spirit of the Programme Codes specified therein. It is accordingly, reiterated that all TV channels may abstain from showing content which is likely to instigate violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitudes, contains anything affecting the integrity of the nation, criticizes, maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social public and moral life of the country," a statement from the ministry said.
Certain sections of the media and entertainment industry feel the ministry’s fears are not unfounded.
“If the government wants to contain misinformation, it should shut down news channels instead of Internet," Harit Nagpal, chief executive officer and managing director of direct-to-home service provider Tata Sky Ltd tweeted on Friday.
However, most news channels insist they are being cautious.
“The ministry is right in issuing the notice. We firmly believe that protests have to be peaceful and not violent. We have shown no such content and neither do we intend to. No inflammatory speeches, only reporting from ground and reliable news sources. The network has been appealing for calm for the last few days in spoken and written word both," a senior executive from a popular news channel said.
Rajat Sharma, president of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) did not respond to Mint’s queries.