H C order on sting operation would bring back emergency days:Editors

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New Delhi, Dec 15 (UNI) The Editors Guild of India today came out in strong opposition to the Delhi High Court suggestion on formation of a Government committee to pre-censor sting operation programmes of TV channels, saying it would bring back the days of emergency.

''If implemented, this suggestion of the court would introduce a draconian, judicially backed emergency by the back door and would trample the fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution,'' President of the Guild Alok Mehta and General Secretray K S Sachidananda Murthy said here.

The sting operations should be subjected to thorough pre-telecast scrutiny and should be carried out in genuine and public interest, but the remedy suggested by the court was fatal, they said.

''India would cease to be a democracy, if there is pre-censorship of news,'' the editors said.

The Guild is in favour of the news organisations having their own internal mechanism to decide on the public utility of a sting operation, they said.

It exhorted all print and electronic media organisations to completely implement the Code of Practice for Journalists of the Guild, which has been udated in August, ''so that there was no repetition of the shameful and harmful fake sting operation against Uma khurana, a Delhi school teacher.'' The Delhi High Court had yesterday asked the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to constitute a censorship panel headed by a retired judge and having a bureaucrat and a policeman as member to censor TV footage.

The direction to the Ministry came while disposing a petition on the recent sting operation of a TV channel which falsely implicated a Delhi school teacher Uma Khurana.

The Editors' Guild expressed the hope that the court would have a rethinking on its direction and withdraw it in the interest of the freedom of press.

UNI

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