Supreme Court of India called live reporting of 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack “totally wrong and unacceptable”
A bench of the Supreme Court of India with justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad in its verdict which upheld the death sentence of terrorist Ajmal Kasab talked tough on live reporting of the commando operations. The court said that the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 or putting the national security in jeopardy can never be justified by stating the freedom of speech and expression.
Many Indian television channels aired the live telecast of the National Security Guards (NSG) commando operation at Hotel Taj and other places in Mumbai during the 26/11 terrorist attack. The videos showed the tactics the commandos used to enter various buildings and floors, their modes of operation, weapons they carry and much more. As the television network within the building where militants were hiding was functioning well, they might have received good clues about the outside world. This would enable them to prepare in advance, risking the life of the people inside the building and the commando team.
“It is in such extreme cases that the credibility of an institution is tested. The coverage of the Mumbai terror attack by the mainstream electronic media has done much harm to the argument that any regulatory mechanism for the media must only come from within,” the court said, hinting at the need of an external regulatory mechanism to handle such situations in future.
Hope our overzealous visual media will learn from this verdict and do their vital role of sharing information in accordance with the national interests and by giving preference to the personal rights and liberties of the individuals involved.