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Pvt TV channels to air social messages

Thursday, June 22, 2006
New Delhi (UNI): Private TV channels may be asked to devote some of their airtime to social messaging under a new Broadcsating Code that is coming soon.

Besides, ''a window for programmes meant for adult viewing'' may be also be provided, with such telecasts being put in late night slots.

These two proposals were being actively considered by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. They came up for discussion at the first meeting of a sub-commitee of the Ministry held here last evening to consider the draft Broadcasting Code, sources in the Ministry told UNI.

Yesterday's was the first meeting of the sub-commitee on the draft code which it had submitted to the government on April 18 last.

A large section of the committee was of the view that the private electronic media because of its wide reach and power to influence the young mind could not be absolved of its responsibility towards the society.

The members, especially those representing the government and social organisations, felt that any agency that has been licenced by the government to reach the people on such a wide scale could not be left just to pursue its own interest.

At present carrying any social message was only voluntary for private channels.

Another proposal which was finding strong support was separating slots for adult programmes and those meant for family viewing, with the programmes falling in former category to be aired only late in the night.

The format proposed by the sub-committee was contained in its report on the draft bill.

The meeting, which lasted three hours, also took up for discussion the problem of surrogate advertisement.

Among those who participated in the meeting were representatives of the Law and Home Ministries, National Commission for Minorities, advertising Industry, film producers and broadcasters associations, Consumer Council of India, social and women's organisations, PETA and FICCI.

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