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'Role of anchor very important': Supreme Court on hate speech made on TV Supreme Court

'Role of anchor very important': Supreme Court on hate speech made on TV

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 21 Sep 2022, 11:07 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: The Supreme Court Wednesday held the "role of anchor" as "very important" while coming down heavily on television channels over hate speech.

It also asked why the government is "remaining a mute spectator" on the same.

"These speeches on mainstream media or social media are unregulated. It's (the anchors') duty to see that hate speech doesn't continue the moment someone does. Freedom of press is important... Ours is not as free as US but we should know where to draw a line," Justice KM Joseph observed at the hearing of a batch of petitions filed since last year.

"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," said the court, expanding on why hate speech interests viewers.

"Government should not take an adversarial stand but assist the court," the apex court observed, asking, "Is this a trivial issue?"

The matter will next be heard on Nov 23.

By this time, the court wants the central government to clarify if it intends to act on Law Commission recommendations on curbing hate speech.

Acting on a direction from the Supreme Court, the Law Commission submitted a report in 2017 recommending specific 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 noted. It shared a draft legislation as well, suggesting "insertion of new sections 153C (prohibiting incitement to hatred) and 505A (causing fear, alarm, or provocation of violence in certain cases)," it stated.