As the Ayodhya title suit verdict date nears, the News Broadcasters Association has set guidelines for electronic media asking them not to speculate about the judgement and not to show the footage of 1992 Babri Masjid demolition.
The guidelines say that the Ayodhya issue is a matter in which "extra care" is necessary to ensure that the telecast of any news relating to it should not be sensational, provocative or inflammatory. "The basic guideline to be adhered to is that all such news should conform strictly to sub-serving the public interest of maintaining communal harmony and preservation of the secular ethos of our plural society and it should influence the formation of the correct public opinion," the guidelines said.
It said no broadcast should be made of any speculation of the judgement before it is pronounced and of its likely consequence thereafter which may be sensational, inflammatory or provocative. "No footage of the demolition of the Babri Masjid is to be shown in any new item relating to the judgement," it said, adding no visuals need be shown depicting celebration or protest of the judgement.
The judgement in the Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute will be delivered on September 24 with the Allahabad High Court on Friday rejecting a petition for mediation on the ground that it was aimed at "creating obstruction" in the final disposal of the matter. The Uttar Pradesh government is also beefing up security across the state to deal with any law and order problem that may arise after the court verdict. The NBA guidelines said in view of the "ultra sensitive nature" of the Ayodhya issue, the reporting of the judgement in this case requires adherence to the Code of Ethics and certain specific guidelines issued from time to time.
"In view of the sensitivity of news reporting on this issue extra care should be taken to ensure accuracy by vetting and clearance at the highest editorial level," it said. The NBA said it expects strict adherence to these guidelines to avoid any violation which may attract strict action.