Vishal Dadlani's petition against electronic media in Mumbai HC today


By Joginder Tuteja, Bollywood Hungama News Network

Vishal Dadlani is elated. The painstaking effort that he had put in gathering people for signing a petition that aimed at inviting a change in the way electronic media operates in times of National distress and emergency has finally paid off. The petition will now be on the board of the Mumbai High Court today.

"It's a big thing because now the petition gets the status of PIL. Also, the state machinery will fight this case on our behalf", says Vishal who has been quite furious ever since the Mumbai terror attack was broadcast minute by minute across all news channels. "I felt helpless and frustrated, as our very own electronic media did things that seemed blatantly wrong to me. What they were broadcasting in the name of the news, were in fact the exact operational procedures, locations, and actions of our anti-insurgency forces!"

He is happy though that things seem to be moving in a positive direction. "The channels will be called upon to make explanations and defend their conduct, and hopefully it will end in there being an enforce-able code-of-conduct for the TV Channels in times of national crisis! That should hopefully bring in some sanity", he says.

The points that he had brought around in his petition titled CHANGE:

1. Is it acceptable to us that what should have been a classified operation, was in fact an open book? Are we fine with the fact that terrorists inside the besieged buildings could have had real-time access to the same news channels that we did, thus giving them complete and thorough information about the actions of our forces?

2. Whether it's correct, both morally and legally, for a TV channel to broadcast to the Nation, an alleged live phone call, purportedly from one of the terrorists?

3. Some TV channels also had "live-and-direct" phone conversations with guests within the hotels, in which the said guests divulge their locations and room numbers. I can't see the point, or the newsworthiness of this.