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Govt has no plans to set up a broadcast regulatory authority: Rathore

NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi-led BJP government has no plans to set up a one-stop regulatory authority to receive complaints against broadcasting of programmes on private television channels and radio stations that stray outside the code. The practice of self-regulation by the broadcasters will thus continue.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore has ruled out any government proposal to set up a one-stop regulatory authority for the broadcast sector.

The government has no plan at present to create such a regulatory body that would be the hub for receiving complaints against broadcasting of programmes on private radio and TV channels in violation of the code, Rathore said. The question of ending the practice of self-regulation does not arise.

Rathore was replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha. A member wanted to know if the government was planning to set up a single regulatory body that would end the practice of self-regulation.

Private satellite TV channels are required to adhere to the Programme and Advertising Code under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Cable TV Network Rules, 1994. The MIB takes action against channels if they violate the Programme and Advertising Code. The ambit of action includes warnings, advisories, apology scrolls and prohibiting transmission of channels.

The MIB has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to look into the violations suo motu or whenever violation of the Programme and Advertising Code is brought to the notice of the ministry.

The IMC has representatives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Defence, External Affairs, Law, Women & Child Development, Health & Family Welfare, Consumer Affairs, as well as an industry representative from the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). The IMC meets periodically and recommends action in respect of violations.

The Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) also monitors TV channels uplinked from and downlinked into India regarding the Programme and Advertising Code as contained in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the rules framed thereunder.

As reported earlier by TelevisionPost.com, the MIB ordered 11 TV channels to go off air between 2014 and 2017 for airing content that violated the Programme and Advertisement codes. Six of these were entertainment channels while five were news channels. These 11 channels were WB, NTV, DY 365, NDTV Good Times, TLC, Satlon News, Jai Hind, Al Jazeera News, NDTV India, Care World and News Time Assam.

As many as 11 TV channels have been ordered to stop transmission for periods ranging from 1 to 30 days in the last three years and the current year, Rathore had earlier stated in the Lok Sabha.

In response to another question, Rathore had said that in 30 instances broadcasters were pulled up for airing obscene content between 2006 and 2010. Channels like Star Plus, Colors, Sony TV, Channel V and MTV were issued orders or advisories for content violation.

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