In anticipation of the upcoming Ram Lalla Pran Pratishtha celebrations in Ayodhya on January 22, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued an advisory to various media platforms, urging them to refrain from disseminating false or manipulated content that could potentially disturb communal harmony or public order.
The advisory, addressed to newspapers, private satellite television channels, publishers of news on digital media, and social media platforms, emphasizes the need for adherence to applicable norms and regulations governing media practices in India. The Ministry expressed concern over the spread of unverified, provocative, and fake messages, particularly on social media that could potentially disrupt communal harmony and public order.
The advisory cites provisions of the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, 1995, and the Norms of Journalistic Conduct laid down by the Press Council of India and referenced in the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. It highlights the responsibility of media outlets to ensure accuracy, fairness, and avoid the publication of content that is objectionable, provocative, or inflammatory in nature.
Under the Programme Code, specific attention is drawn to the prohibition of content that attacks religions or communities, contains obscenity, defamation, false information, or incites violence. The advisory calls on media platforms to exercise due restraint and caution, keeping in mind the paramount national interest and avoiding the dissemination of information that may jeopardize the interests of the State and society.
Kshitij Aggarwal, Deputy Director of Digital Media, stated that newspapers, private satellite TV channels, and digital media publishers should exercise caution in their reporting to prevent the spread of misinformation that could lead to communal disharmony. Social media platforms are also urged to fulfill their due diligence obligations by not hosting, displaying, or publishing any information that falls within the prohibited categories mentioned in the advisory.
This advisory comes at a crucial time as the nation prepares to commemorate the Ram Lalla Pran Pratishtha in Ayodhya, emphasizing the importance of responsible journalism and media practices in maintaining harmony and public order.