Indian TV channel’s hate speech ecosystem and what the SC gets wrong about it

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Source– The post is based on the article “Indian TV channel’s hate speech ecosystem and what the SC gets wrong about it” published in The Indian Express on 23th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Indian judiciary and fundamental rights.

Relevance– Hate speech

News– The court explains the recent Supreme court intervention to check hate speech on visual media and issues related to court intervention.

What was the Supreme Court observation?

Recently the Supreme Court pulled up visual media for spreading hate speech and the role of anchors during TV debates.

Judges have proposed that guidelines like Vishakha can be put up until the government comes up with a new law.

What are the issues with judicial intervention on hate speech?

The first issue is related to Article 19. The Supreme Court has upheld the primacy of Article 19 and warned against state overreach in Romesh Thappar vs. The State of Madras,1950 and Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India, 2015 cases. Any overarching law or guidelines to regulate hate speech can violate the letter and spirit of Article 19.

Several IPC provisions meant to check hate speech including Section 153 (A) or 295 (A) are used by the state and its agencies to curb dissent.

The political economy of TV news thrives on hate speech today more than ever. There is little cost to pay for hate speech. There are few incentives for TV at prime time to be fair and accurate. Judicial intervention is unlikely to work.

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