Mon, 14 Jan 2013 18:21:04 GMT

NCM to approach Press Council on media coverage of minorities

New Delhi, Jan 13 (PTI) The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has been asked to approach Press Council for drawing up a set of guidelines for media while dealing with reportage of criminal cases related to minority communities.

This was decided at a meeting of the National Human Rights Commission''s (NHRC) Statutory Full Commission held here last month.

At the meeting chaired by NHRC Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan, NCM member Dr Ajaib Singh flagged concerns about media using the sect name ''Namdhari'' as surname while referring to an individual arrested in connection with a murder case.

Singh was referring to the Ponty Chadha case in which Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, who was sacked as Uttarakhand Minorities Commission Chairman, after his alleged involvement in the murders of Chadha brothers in November last year.

The NCM member said that the media instead of using the name of the concerned individual was always referring to him as Namdhari.

This, he said, can have "wide and serious" ramifications for the entire Namdhari community.

"Same was likely to send wrong signals about the community," Singh said while giving similar examples from Punjab and asked the Statutory Full Commission to take suitable remedial steps.

Justice Balakrishnan noted that the matter was indeed of serious concern and suggested that NCM should take up the matter with the Press Council.

"It was decided in the meeting that NCM should take up the matter with the Press Council for drawing up of a set of guidelines for the print and electronic media on the issue," a senior NHRC official said.

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