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‘We cannot give hate any air’: SC questions govt’s role as ‘mute spectator’ over hate speeches on TV

While stating that freedom of speech is important, Justice Joseph said hate speech cannot be allowed on television.

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New Delhi: ‘We cannot give hate any air,’ the Supreme Court said on Wednesday while coming down heavily upon TV channels on the issue of hate speech. It also questioned “Why is the government remaining a mute spectator?”

A bench of Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikseh Roy, while hearing a batch of pleas against hate speech incidents, said that anchors of television channels have an important duty to ensure that guests invited on their show do not cross the line, reports Bar and Bench.

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“Role of anchor is very important. These speeches on mainstream media or social media that is unregulated. Mainstream TV channels still hold sway. The role of anchor is critical. It is their duty to see that hate speech doesn’t happen,” Justice Joseph remarked.

While stating that freedom of speech is important, Justice Joseph said hate speech cannot be allowed on television. He also highlighted how one TV channel was heavily fined in the United Kingdom.

We cannot give hate any air, he emphasised.

According to the report, the Court also questioned why the government was remaining a mute spectator.

“Why is the government remaining a mute spectator?” asked Justice Joseph.

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Politicians benefit the most out of hate speech and television channels give them the platform for the same, the court added.

“Channels and politicians feed on such speech. Channels get money. They keep ten people in debates,” Senior Counsel Sanjay Hegde said.

According to the report, the Court directed the Central government to also file a counter-affidavit collating the State’s inputs, and posted the case for further consideration on November 23.

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