Varanasi blasts: PCI calls for media restraint

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New Delhi, Mar 8: Strongly condemning the Varanasi blasts, the Press Council of India (PCI) today fervently appealed to the media not to be used by divisive forces to create tension in the country and distrust among the communities.

''The media should show exemplary restraint in its reporting. The electronic media may specially consider eschewing the repeated telecast of distressing footage available with it,'' PCI Chairman Justice G N Ray said in a statement.

He said positive reporting would go a long way in restoring public order, tranquility and social harmony, and the faith of the public in the law and order machinery of the state.

''While it is the function of the media to draw attention to genuine and legitimate grievances, it would do well to remember that a terrorist has no religion and needs condemnation in the strongest possible terms.'' He said, ''a heavy responsiblity devolves on the media at this juncture to ensure that its reportage is well balanced and restrained and while being informative, serves to douse the fires of passion and anxiety rather than foment rumours and distrust''.

Pointing out that the publication of correct and authentic information was vital to the control of the situation, the PCI advised the authorities to ensure that the media had access to the latest information from authentic sources at all levels. At least two tier information cell could be set up at the state and district level and at hospitals, with authorised spokespersons available round the clock.

Disinformation or even distorted or false information should be immediately pointed out for correction, it said.

''The government may bring about transparency in its actions without being detrimental to the security of the state.''


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