NEW DELHI: Several leading news broadcasters have expressed concern and dismay over show cause notices issued by the government to four channels over their coverage of the execution of Yakub Memon, at a meeting held yesterday with Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley.
Around six representatives Broadcast Editors Association (BEA) met Jaitley, who is also the Finance Minister, at his office in North Block where they shared with him concerns relating to action by the I&B ministry against broadcasters NDTV India, NDTV 24x7, Aaj Tak and ABP News.
The Broadcasters have been wanting that the ministry refer the matter to the self regulatory mechanism established by them. They have also expressed concern over the tendency of both Centre and state governments to serve notices selectively on media organisations.
The news broadcasters, sources said, expressed unhappiness and concerns over the issuing of notices which was heard by the Minister while the editors were also apprised of the ministry's point of view.
Senior functionaries of BEA when contacted however were unwilling to comment on the meeting.
Reportedly BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao spent time with I&B ministry officials scanning the coverage of news channels related to Yakub's hanging. When contacted, Rao however declined to comment. I&B ministry officials too refused to confirm or deny the report. The Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) under the I&B ministry monitors the capacity of around 600 TV channels.
The ministry has issued separate show cause notices to Aaj Tak and ABP News after the channels telecast interviews with Chhota Shakeel, aide of Dawood Ibrahim.
In its notice to Aaj Tak, the ministry said that the channel had for over five minutes carried the programme where Chhota Shakeel is heard making "some very objectionable comments about the Indian justice system".
A similar notice was issued to ABP news for airing Shakeel's comments.
Another channel NDTV 24x7 got the notice as it carried the "byte of a certain political leader and one time lawyer for Yakub Memon".
The notice to the channels says that it had "allowed transmission of such content which not only questioned the judicial system of India but tended to denigrate the very institution by hinting that it is not at par with judicial systems existing in the UK and US".
NDTV India was served the notice after one of its anchors made a comment, which the ministry felt appeared tantamount to "questioning" the judgement of the Supreme Court.
In all the four show cause notices, the Ministry said the channels had violated various sections of the Programming Code and should submit their replies in 15 days.