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Transmission prohibited of 20 TV channels since 2012, says Arun Jaitley

MUMBAI: In the last three years to date, the government took action in 86 cases of violation of the programme code. In 20 of these cases, the TV channels were asked to halt transmission, Minister of Information & Broadcasting Arun Jaitley said in Lok Sabha.

The 20 channels were prohibited from transmitting their channels for specific period of time ranging from 1 day to 30 days.

In other cases, the ministry issued specific warnings or advisories to channels to comply with the Programme/Advertising Codes, or directed them to run apology scrolls on their channel.

However, TV channels are also issued general advisories on the airing of programmes that may incite violence or create law and order problem under certain circumstances, Jaitley stated.

The minister said that the Constitution through Article 19 (2) allows the state to impose reasonable restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression on certain grounds such as the sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency, morality, etc. through enactment of law.

This spirit of the Constitution is reflected in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, which, while upholding the freedom of speech in electronic media, imposes reasonable restrictions in public interest.

Section 5 of the Programme Code provides that “No person shall transmit or re-transmit through a cable service any programme, unless such programme is in conformity with the prescribed programme code”.

Accordingly, the Programme Code has been notified through the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 under Rule 6.

While there is no provision of pre-censorship of the content telecast on TV channels, all programmes telecast on such TV channels are required to adhere to the Programme Code prescribed under the said act and the rules framed thereunder.

Action is taken whenever any violation of the said code is noticed or brought to the notice of the ministry, Jaitley pointed out.