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PHDCCI advocates indp. regulation

Thursday, June 08, 2006

New Delhi (UNI): The Progress, Harmony and Development Chamber of Commerce and Industry(PHDCCI) has emphasized that a Monitoring Agency should be set up by the Centre to ensure proper implementation of Content Regulation in television. Commenting upon the proposal of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to introduce a Bill in Parliament on Content Regulation in television, PHDCCI Entertainment Committee, Chairman, Sandeep Marwah said ''An Independent Regulator is the need of the hour to ensure transparency in broadcasting. However, at the same time, self-regulation should be exercised by the broadcasters.'' Pointing out that television viewership was anticipated to reach 128 million households by the year 2010 with television channel revenues projected to grow to Rs 42.7 crore during the same period, Prof Marwah said ''For this anticipated growth to materialise into reality, there is need to introduce an advertising and programming code based upon the country's viewership needs, which can be reviewed from time to time.'' ''The existing programme code for AIR and Doordarshan can also be extended to private channels,''he suggested.

Prof Marwah said currently the TRP agencies, market researchers, corporate public advertising agencies and media channels were the forces behind nature of programmes being shown on television today. ''This makes it all the more important to have an independent regulator in place'' he said. The PHDCCI has also strongly advocated that there should be stability in the Policy announced for content regulation, which should not change due to change of Government. It has also suggested that television serials be screened under one sub-committee for content regulation, especially in relation to integrity of judiciary, contempt of court and criticism of friendly countries. PHDCCI has also felt the need to introduce advertising time control on television.

Prof Marwah said that a survey of commercial television industry code of practice in foreign countries indicates that in Canada there exists a Canadian Broadcasting Council which has implemented a voluntary code regarding violence in television programming and provision enabling viewers to make an informed decision as to the suitability of the programming for themselves and their family members.

The CAB code of ethics covers human rights, sex role stereotyping, children programmes, proper presentation of news, lending fairness to controversial subject of public interest, protection of religious sentiments, scheduling of programming as per late viewing period for adult audiences etc.

In the United Kingdom, the Ofcom Regulatory Authority has rules on the amount and distribution of advertising. Sweden introduced legislation to ban television advertisements that purposefully attract the attention of children under the age of 12, and does not allow advertisements before or after children's programmes. Greece bans all toy advertising on TV between 0700 hrs and 2200 hrs and Norway does not permit advertising during children's programmes. In Flemish Belgium there is no advertising five minutes before or after programmes for children, and Australia allows no advertising during programmes aimed at pre-school children.

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