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EMMC data shows TV channels are violating regulatory norms

MUMBAI: Television channels have been violating regulatory norms. Data from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s (MIB) Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) has revealed this, reinforcing what is common knowledge that TV viewers are being distracted by ‘part-screen’ and ‘scrolling’ ads.

EMMC has found 13,000 instances of violations of regulatory norms by TV channels in 2013-14, after an activist in Guntur, Edara Gopi Chand,used the RTI Act to get to the details of the matter.

According to EMMC data, there were 5,566 violations pertaining to distracting ‘part-screen’ and ‘scrolling ads. Pointing out the EMMC data, The Hindu has reported that these ads interfere with the programme and ‘paid promotional programmes’ telecast in the garb of news/interviews.

The EMMC also found 2,965 instances of surrogate ads of liquor/tobacco products and 1,245 instances of misleading ads, which include superstitious and deceptive ads of kavachas, yantras, medicines, creams and so on, claiming to possess miraculous powers.

This has not satisfied Chand, an activist with Media-Watch India who has waged a three-year battle against poor regulation of content on India’s TV channels. “Merely publishing statistics of violations is meaningless unless the names of the violating channels and the nature or gravity of each of these violations is revealed. It is an open secret that the I&B Ministry sits on these reports without taking any action. It issues occasional ‘advisories’ to which no channel pays heed,” Chand was quoted in The Hindu as saying.

Chand added that when the Ministry enforces the regulations by prohibiting telecast of the offending channel for a few days, TV channels scream government regulation and approach the courts for relief, thus preventing any action.