The Karnataka High Court has refused to entertain a petition filed seeking directions to the Union Government to initiate action to nationalise the mass media in the interest of safety, security and integrity of the country.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhya Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar, while disposing the petition filed by one Gayathri Ravishankar said "If at all the Government wants to consider the issue of nationalization, it will have to be done by means of a legislation."
The petition, which made all private media organizations a party, sought the issuance of a writ of mandamus directing the respondent government to initiate actions to nationalize the mass media in the interest of safety, security and integrity of the country.
The bench said "The first two prayers are, in substance, prayers seeking a writ of mandamus to legislate in a particular manner. Such a writ cannot be issued in a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India."
"As regards the prayer for whether the Government of India should allow foreign investments in mass media is a policy matter and therefore, a Writ Court cannot interfere with such a policy. If the petitioner is aggrieved by such a policy, he can always make an appropriate representation to the concerned Government". the Court added.
The counsel for the petitioners even pointed out that the grievances of the petitioner were genuine and in fact, the Press Council of India has also supported the same. He relied upon photographs and other material produced after the filing of the petition for showing objectionable material which is telecast in the mass media.
To which the bench said "As disclosed in the companion petition, W.P. 13677/2012,the News Broadcasting Standards Authority has been constituted. Apart from that, Monitoring Committees have been constituted as per the directions of the Government of India both at the State level and also at District levels for entertaining the complaints against the media and in particular, television media. Moreover, if someone has indulged in the commission of an offence, the Petitioner can always set the criminal law in motion."
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