The Karnataka High Court has directed TV channels in the state to strictly adhere to the Programme Code defined under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, Live Law reported on Thursday.
After the court’s verdict, the Bengaluru Police issued an order saying that TV channels that do not stick to the code will face action.
The court’s order was based on a petition filed by lawyer Atma V Hiremath, who is also a Bharatiya Janata Party member. The petitioner said that media houses violated the privacy of BJP leader Ramesh Jarkiholi by airing purportedly explicit videos of him. Jarkiholi had quit as state minister earlier this month after being accused of harassing a woman in return for a government job.
Hiremath also submitted that the content shown by TV channels was obscene, defamatory and false. It also tarnished the reputation of individuals, the plea added.
The petitioner told the court that he feared media platforms may get hold of his private material also through some sources and air it in complete disregard of his right to privacy. Hiremath claimed that he may be targeted because of his political affiliation.
The lawyer also demanded that the police take action against media houses that violate the Programme Code.
“By an ad-interim direction, it is directed that any broadcast in the Cable Television Network shall be strictly in conformity in terms of ‘Programme code’ as defined under Section 5 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 (‘Act’ for short) read with Rule 6 of the Cable Television Network Rules,1994”, a single bench of Justice PS Dinesh Kumar said in an interim order on March 6.
Last week, a court in Bengaluru had restrained 68 media houses from publishing unverified or defamatory content against six Karnataka ministers. The ministers in the Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa-led Cabinet – Shivram Hebbar, BC Patil, Byrathi Basavaraj, Somashekhar, K Sudhakar and Narayan Gowda – had approached the court after TV channels showed a “sex CD” allegedly featuring Jarkiholi and an unidentified young woman.
The ministers claimed that the media had telecast news reports without verifying their sources and authenticity, which led to Jarkiholi’s resignation.
Meanwhile, a social activist on Sunday withdrew the complaint that he had filed against Jarkiholi. But, Dinesh Kalahalli had submitted a CD of all the video and audio clips of the incident to the police.
The activist’s lawyer claimed that he took the decision because the woman’s image was being tarnished on social media.
Jarkiholi has denied the allegations against him and claimed that he resigned on moral grounds, On Tuesday, he accused a top leader of the state of falsely implicating him the scandal. However, he did not name the leader.