On Wednesday, the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry issued an advisory to all private TV channels which asked them to desist from broadcasting content that could incite violence or cause law and order problems. The advisory comes in the wake of widespread, violent protests in the North East against the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
The media advisory refers to the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995 to caution TV channels from broadcasting content which is “likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order”. The advisory also extends to the broadcast of any content that “promotes anti-national attitudes and/or contains anything affecting the integrity of the nation”.
The order comes at a time violent protests have gripped the North East over the Citizenship Amendment Bill. The Indian Army has been deployed in Assam and Tripura, with a curfew imposed in Guwahati and Dibrugarh. Mobile internet has also been snapped in parts of Assam and Tripura.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill proposes to bring in a religious element to India’s citizenship law, giving non-Muslim illegal migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan access to Indian citizenship. This has faced strong opposition from the North East, where many communities feel threatened by migration from Bangladesh.
The bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and in the Lok Sabha on Monday.