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TV anchors have important role in curbing hate speech: Supreme Court

TV anchors have important role in curbing hate speech: Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court observed on Wednesday that the role of an anchor in TV channels over hate speech is "very important". It questioned the government's silence on incidents of hate speech on TV channels, NDTV reported.

Justice KM Joseph observed that hate speech on mainstream media or social media is unregulated, and it is the anchor's duty to ensure that hate speech is not going on. Freedom of the press is important. Though our press is not as free as in the US, we should be aware of where to draw a line, he added.

The court, which was hearing a batch of petitions filed since last year, further said that hate speech is layered.

"Like killing someone, you can do it in multiple ways, slowly or otherwise. They keep us hooked based on certain convictions," NDTV quoted Justice Joseph.

It advised that the government needed to assist the court instead of taking an adversarial stand. "Is this a trivial issue?" NDTV quotes the court asking

The court posted further hearings on the matter to November 23 and ordered the government to submit clarification then if it intends to act on Law Commission recommendations on curbing hate speech.

After directions from the Supreme Court, the Law Commission submitted a report in 2017 recommending certain laws. "Hate speech has not been defined in any law in India. However, legal provisions in certain legislations prohibit select forms of speech as an exception to freedom of speech," the commission report read. It further suggested the "insertion of new sections 153C (prohibiting incitement to hatred) and 505A (causing fear, alarm, or provocation of violence in certain cases)."

Clips from TV shows and late-night debates with hate speech content have gone viral on social media many times. Thus internet companies were under pressure to restrain such content. Meta and Google informed early this month that they had taken certain measures to curb hate content. They said that they have started removing violent content while promoting media literacy among young users, NDTV reported.

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TAGS:hate speech Supreme Court TV channels debates law commission social media union government 
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