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TV content regulation

Thursday, May 11, 2006

New Delhi (UNI): Concerned over some TV channels becoming a hotbed of sleaze and glorification of violence, the government has constituted a committee to review the programme and advertising codes, but the panel is yet to submit its report, the Rajya Sabha was informed today. In a written reply, Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi said the committee, comprising representatives from the film, music and broadcasting industries, NGOs, experts and other stakeholders would suggest ways for monitoring television channels and review the programme and advertising codes under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. ''The committee is yet to submit its report,'' the minister said.

I&B Secretary S K Arora had earlier said the need for a content regulator had become imperative because of the mushrooming of satellite TV channels, which were beaming programmes difficult to track under the existing regulatory mechanisms. However, the emphasis would be on self-regulation because it would be difficult for a central regulatory authority to closely monitor all programmes on such a large number of channels, Mr Arora said. ''It will not be on the pattern of a film Censor Board whose permission is mandatory for the screening of a film. We would rather prefer the broadcasters to set up their in-house regulators to make the programmes that do not offend the sensibilities of the people,'' he pointed out.

The proposed bill would have two major components-content regulation and licensing procedure for broadcasters. Under the existing set-up, all programmes of satellite TV channels, transmitted directly or through cable channels, are governed by the Programme Code and Advertising Code prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. In order to strengthen the content regulation mechanism, the Central government has also constituted an inter-ministerial committee to look into the violation of the Programme and Advertising Code. The committee comprises officials from the I&B, Home, External Affairs, Defence, Health, Law and Women and Child Development ministries and a representative of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). The committee has been empowered to examine cases of violation either sou moto or on receipt of complaints.

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