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Media Could Be Proactive But Has To Be Sensitive, Sensationalism Is Anathema To Responsible Journalism: Calcutta High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
28 April 2021 7:35 AM GMT
Media Could Be Proactive But Has To Be Sensitive, Sensationalism Is Anathema To Responsible Journalism: Calcutta High Court
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Dealing with a plea seeking strict enforcement of Section126(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday (April 27) remarked, "Sensationalism is anathema to responsible and responsive journalism." The Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee further remarked, "Print and audio-visual media could...

Dealing with a plea seeking strict enforcement of Section126(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday (April 27) remarked,

"Sensationalism is anathema to responsible and responsive journalism."

The Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee further remarked,

"Print and audio-visual media could be proactive but has to be sensitive. This is what is meant in the truest sense by the oft mentioned term fourth estate."

Importantly, Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 reads thus:

"126(1)(b). No person shall display to the public any election matter by means of cinematograph television or other similar apparatus in any polling area during the period of forty-eight hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of the poll for any election in that polling area."

The petitioner submitted his apprehension that media houses and publishing houses could violate the provision of Section 126(1)(b) of the R. P. Act, 1951.

In response to this, Counsel representing the Election Commission of India submitted that since the last phase of the election was scheduled to be held on 29th April 2021, canvassing and rallying had been stopped by the Election Commission of India.

Hence, it was argued that the petitioner had no reason to apprehend that there would be any breach of the provision of law.

Consequently, the Court directed that the authorities to strictly enforce the aforesaid provision of law.

"We are sure that if there is violation of that provision, it is for the competent authorities concerned to ensure that strict obedience to that provision of law is obtained," the Court added.

The matter has now been posted for further hearing on May 3.

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