The information and broadcasting ministry has ordered an Assamese television channel to go off air for three days and a Gujarati channel for a day for violating the cable television network rules. The Assamese channel had aired a news report on a ritual, wherein a man was seen tossing a newborn up and down in the air without a “shred of care and concern”.
The video, aired in June last year, was reportedly meant to expose a superstition prevalent in some parts of Assam, as per which it is believed that the dangerous practice of tossing a child up and down in the air would keep it safe. The ministry said the visuals were “extremely disturbing and not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition”.
However, the channel had claimed that by airing the “informational” video, it had tried to “educate the masses against such evil practices”. “The Central Government…orders to prohibit the transmission or re-transmission of the…channel for three days on any platform throughout India with effect from 0001 hrs on 15.12.2017 till 0001 hrs on 18.12.2017,” the order of the ministry read.
In another order, the ministry asked a Gujarati channel to go off air for a day on December 16. The Gujarati channel had telecast a news programme in March, in which a man was seen brutally beating up children. The order said the video of the incident, which the channel claimed took place in a Gujarat school, had started trending on the social media.
However, following a subsequent investigation carried out by the channel, it had come to light that the video was of an incident that had taken place in an orphanage in Egypt. The order said it appeared that the channel had tried to “sensationalise the issue” in order to grab the attention of the viewers. Moreover, such visuals were not only in good taste, but also denigrated children by showing them being brutally tortured, it added. Both the channels were asked to go off air for violating the provisions of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, according to the orders.