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Ahead of Ram temple inauguration, Centre asks media not to publish ‘provocative and fake’ messages

NEW DELHI: ‘Unverified, provocative and fake’ messages in the context of the Ram temple consecration ceremony, especially on social media platforms, have caught the attention of the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B).

Observing that such messages can disturb communal harmony and public order, the ministry has advised newspapers, televisions news channels, digital news outlets and social media intermediaries to refrain from publishing and telecasting any false and manipulated content that has potential to create communal disharmony or threat to public order.

An advisory issued by the ministry in this regard on Saturday further stated that as part of their due diligence obligations, social media platforms are advised to make reasonable efforts to not host, display or publish information of such nature.

The consecration will be held on Monday in Ayodhya. The event will be celebrated across states.

The advisory invites attention to the provisions of the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation (CTNR) Act, 1995, and Norms of Journalistic Conduct laid down by the Press Council of India under the Press Council Act, 1978, a reference to which has also been made in the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

According to the Programme Code under the Act, no programme should be carried in the cable service which contains attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups, promote communal attitudes, contains anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half truths.

The code also prohibits airing of any programme, which is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote anti-national attitudes.

The ministry has been issuing advisories from time to time to television, print and digital media including social media platforms to adhere to the applicable norms and regulations in matters related to public order, factual accuracy of information being published or broadcast and communal harmony among various religious communities.

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