TV anchors have a ‘duty’ not to spread hate speech, says India’s top court

Voicing displeasure over hate speech on TV news channels, the Supreme Court Wednesday wanted it know why the government was a “mute spectator” and whether it intends to enact a law to curb it, as recommended by the Law Commission.

Noting that the role of the anchor is important during TV debates, the court said it’s the duty of the anchor to prevent hate speeches from happening.

A bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy said there needs to be an institutional mechanism to deal with hate speech.

“The role of anchor (in TV debates) is very important. These speeches on mainstream media or social media that is unregulated. Mainstream TV channels still hold sway. The role of anchor is critical and it’s their duty to see that hate speech doesn’t occur – Many a time those who want to speak are muted,” the bench observed.

The top court said there should be a synchronised method to deal with the issue of hate speech and that the country needs to be a responsible democracy where there is accountability.

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