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NBDSA issues “guidelines for prevention of hate speech”

  • Published
    31st Jan, 2023
Context

The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) issued “guidelines for the prevention of hate speech”.

What is in the guideline?

  • The guidelines direct editors, editorial personnel, anchors, journalists and presenters who are part of its member organisations to refrain from using “language and agenda-driven words”, “terms and adjectives” and “all forms of expression” which among other things advocate violence or engender hatred against individuals or communities.
About NBDSA
  • Incidentally, the NBDSA covers nearly 80% of all news and digital channels. 
  • The Authority was originally set up by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) 14 years ago as the News Broadcasting Standard Authority (NBSA). 
  • The name was later changed to NBDSA as the body opened itself to digital platforms too.

What comes under hate speech?

  • There is no international legal definition of hate speech, and the notion of what constitutes "hateful" speech is debatable.
  • Hate speech is defined as any form of communication, whether spoken, written, or physical, that criticizes or discriminates against a person or a group based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender, or other identity factors.

Legal Provisions of Hate Speech in India:

  • Responsible speech is the essence of the liberty granted under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Article 19(2) of the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression to all citizens of India.
  • Hate speech has not been defined in any law in India. However, legal provisions in certain legislations prohibit select forms of speech as an exception to freedom of speech.

Legislations around Hate speech: The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter IPC);

  • Section 124A IPC penalises sedition
  • Section 153A IPC penalises ‘promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony’.
  • Section 153B IPC penalises ‘imputations, and assertions prejudicial to national integration.
  • Section 295A IPC penalises ‘deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.
  • Section 298 IPC penalises ‘uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person’.
  • Section 505(1) and (2) IPC penalises the publication or circulation of any statement, rumour or report causing public mischief and enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes
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