Follow Programme Code: Karnataka HC Tells Media in Jarkiholi Case

The Karnataka HC has directed media to strictly follow programme code while reporting on Jarkiholi ‘sex scandal’.

2 min read
Karnataka Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi has resigned after being accused of taking sexual favours from a job aspirant.

The Karnataka High Court on 6 March directed media channels to strictly follow the Programme Code while reporting on Ramesh Jarkiholi’s alleged sex scandal case.

The order has come in a public interest litigation plea moved by BJP-affiliated advocate Arma V Hiremath, seeking protection of Jarkiholi’s fundamental right to privacy in wake of sex scandal allegations.

Recently, Jarkiholi had resigned from the post of Karnataka’s Water Resources Minister over allegations of taking sexual favours from a job aspirant.

The Petition

The order has come by a single Judge of the Karnataka High Court in a PIL seeking protection of Jarkiholi’s right to privacy as recognised by the Supreme Court in the Puttaswamy judgment.

The petitioner has also asked for a direction to the Commissioner of Police to take action against those media channels who are reporting this matter by allegedly violating the Programme Code.

The Programme Code is a set of guidelines that Cable TV networks need to show while broadcasting content. This code is defined under the Cable TV Network (Regulation) Act, 1995, and explained in detail under Rule 6 of Cable TV Network Rules, 1994.

The petitioner has submitted it because he is affiliated with a certain political party, he is scared that he may be “targeted by certain vested interests who would not think twice to invade his privacy and bring peril to his dignity and reputation.”

The petitioner has claimed that he is espousing his private right as he apprehends that the respondent-media platforms may get in hold of explicit material of the petitioner by unknown sources, broadcast or publish the same in their platforms thereby infringe upon his right to privacy that is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution. 

Action Taken So Far

Since the court has granted the interim order directing the media to strictly follow the programme code, the state machinery on the ground has become active.

On 9 March, the Bengaluru Police Commissioner issued an order, prohibiting all broadcasts which are not strictly in conformity with the terms of the programme code. The order also states that any violation would subject the concerned media channel to prosecution under Section 16 of the Cable TV Network (Regulation) Act.

Moreover, on 6 March, a city civil court in Bengaluru had passed an interim injunction order against 68 media organisations restraining them from publishing defamatory content against six state ministers. The ministers had approached the court apprehending Jarkiholi-style expose.

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