Daily we stumble across much of crime news in the newspapers as well as in the television news channels. From time to time media as a whole and media personnel, in general, are becoming over-enthusiastic in the matters concerning the identity of the victim of certain offenses, forgetting the very fact that there is a vast difference between the convicted and the accused. Section 228A of IPC is relevant in this matter. There is a need for each and every media staff to get acquainted with the Indian Penal Code Section 228A.
According to the Indian Penal Code Section 228A, whoever prints or publishes the name or any matter which may proclaim the identity of any person against whom an offense under section 376, section 376A, section 376B, section 376C or section 376D is alleged or found to have been committed shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine. Also, the section extends to any printing or publication of the name or any matter which may make known the identity of the victim if such printing or publication is:
- By or under the order in writing of the officer-in-charge of the police station or the police officer making the investigation into such offense acting in good faith for the purposes of such investigation; or
- By, or with the authorization in writing of, the victim; or
- Where the victim is dead or minor or of unsound mind, by, or with the authorisation in writing of, the next of kin of the victim: Provided that no such authorization shall be given by the next of kin to anybody other than the chairman or the secretary, by whatever name called, of any recognized welfare institution or organization. The explanation for the purposes of this subsection, “recognized welfare institution or organization” means a social welfare institution or organization recognized in this behalf by the Central or State Government.
- Whoever prints or publishes any matter in relation to any proceeding before a court with respect to an offense referred to in sub-section (1) without the previous permission of such Court shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation – the printing or publication of the judgment of any High Court or the Supreme Court does not amount to an offense within the meaning of this section.
Media personnel dealing with specific issues need to understand the ethics and laws concerning the media. The importance of the ethics and law are realized only when something becomes a serious issue. It’s the need of the hour that the media should follow the same ethics which were followed by the Indian renowned journalists during the freedom struggle and thereafter, for quite some time.
– Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi