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DTH channels: Govt plans law to address security, obscenity issues

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Dec. 20

THE Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry is planning to enact a legislation that will address security concerns and check obscenity on television, following the launch of direct-to-home (DTH) services in the country.

The I&B Minister, Mr Jaipal Reddy, while replying to supplementaries in the Rajya Sabha, said that the Government has already strengthened the mechanism for monitoring DTH programmes and is considering maintaining a record of the programmes rather than asking TV channels to furnish it.

"The existing DTH licence conditions for setting up and operating DTH service in India contain adequate safeguards with regard to the carriage of undesirable contents in DTH service," he said.

According to the licence conditions, DTH operators must comply with the advertising and programming code.

Mr Reddy added that the use of DTH service for anti-national activities would be construed as an offence punishable under the Indian Penal Code and applicable laws and will attract immediate termination of licence.

"The Ministry is in the process of strengthening monitoring arrangements in this regard. It is also contemplating a legislation to put in place a regulatory structure for broadcasting," the Minister said.

The Minister said that the possibility of receiving pornographic channels through DTH would be looked into.

The Ministry has already examined the records of a private DTH operator and "it was found that the bouquet of TV channels provided by the service provider did not contain any pornographic channel," he said.

Also, the Minister said that there were four applications for DTH licence, of which ASC enterprises has already been given one, while the application of Space TV is at an advanced stage of consideration.

Mr Reddy added that the Ministry would also "dust up" the file on the Broadcasting Authority Bill that was prepared some seven years ago.

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