Self-regulation by news channels has proved to be ineffective and a regulatory authority is needed for the same, Supreme Court judge Justice BV Nagarathna said on Saturday, Live Law reported.

“There is the Press Council of India to regulate news reports but for news channels, there is self-regulation and it is not an adequate solution as it binds those who willingly are a part of such regulation,” the judge said. “There should be some regulation which binds this new age of journalism.”

Justice Nagarathna made the remarks at an event organised by the Business Standard on April 29. She was addressing the topic, “A free and balanced press: sentinel of democracy”.

In January, Nagarathna was part of a bench that had observed that television channels in India were dividing the society and being driven by an agenda to sensationalise news. The bench, while hearing petitions seeking action against instances of hate speech, added that those who fund the channels decided the content.

In her speech on Saturday, the Supreme Court judge said, “Enforceability has become a challenge for self-regulatory bodies. The second challenge stems from the fact that evolving technologies have enabled anyone to write and share content which is accessible by millions...”

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The judge also highlighted the dangers of spreading misinformation, yellow journalism and fear-mongering by the media, according to Bar and Bench.

“Fear mongering and gossip mongering as tactics to engage readers in their content, is another practice that is to be shunned,” she said. “Fake news can misguide millions of people at once, and this will be in direct contradiction with the fundamentals of democracy which forms the bedrock of our existence.”

The judge advised journalists to give context while quoting people from public life.

“Mixing of politics with journalism is detrimental to the idea of free speech and if media has to enjoy the trust of the public it must resist all temptations to mix the two,” she said.