The government told the Supreme Court that the "print and electronic media rarely cross the line by the very nature of their composition but the digital media is completely uncontrolled and remains unregulated by and large."
"Web-based digital media such as news portals, magazines and channels run on video hosting platforms like Google Inc-owned YouTube not only spread hatred but can also tarnish the image of individuals," the Centre told the Supreme Court on September 21.
In a fresh affidavit, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said if the top court considers it "necessary to lay down guidelines for the mainstream electronic and print media", it is the need of the hour that the practice should begin with digital media.
The Supreme Court is hearing a petition pertaining to Sudarshan TV's 'Bindas Bol' show whose promo had claimed to show a 'big expose on a conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims in government services'. The fresh affidavit said that "nothing is required for accessing digital media except a smart phone", as against the limitations in print media and mainstream media.
"Any further regulation of electronic and print media by the court, either by way of guidelines or providing for any redressal mechanism, would incentivise broadcasters to use electronic media less and telecast/ publish the same thing on digital platforms which would remain unregulated despite having wider reach without any corresponding responsibility or obligation," the centre told the top court.
"It is also relevant to note that in case of electronic and print media, the security of the nation is also taken care of at the time of the registration and/or grant of license to the company or the organisation intending to publish or broadcast either newspaper or a news-channel," it added.