I&B Ministry amends Cable TV Rules

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 17, 2021

Statutory recognition to be given to self-regulatory bodies of broadcasters

The Information & Broadcasting Ministry on Wednesday said it has amended the Cable TV Network Rules to bring in provisions for recognition of self-regulatory bodies of broadcasters by the Central government and provide for a statutory mechanism for redressal of complaints of citizens against television channels’ contents.

I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted, “ By amending the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, the Ministry has developed a statutory mechanism to redress citizens’ grievances & complaints against programmes of TV Channels. The Ministry has also decided to recognise Statutory Bodies of TV channels under Cable TV Network Rules.”

Industry bodies such as Indian Broadcasting Foundation (soon to be renamed as Indian Broadcasting & Digital Foundation) and News Broadcasters Association had been for a long time urging the government to accord statutory recognition to Broadcast Content Complaints Council (BCCC) and News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) respectively. These bodies look into complaints filed against content shown on non-news and news channels.

Institutional mechanism

A Ministry statement said that currently there is an institutional mechanism through the Inter-Ministerial Committee to address grievances of citizens relating to violation of the Programme and Advertising Codes under the Rules. “Similarly, various broadcasters have also developed their internal self-regulatory mechanism for addressing grievances. However, there was need to lay down a statutory mechanism for strengthening the grievance redressal structure. Some broadcasters had also requested for giving legal recognition to their associations and bodies,” the statement added.

Self-regulatory bodies such as BCCC and NBSA will now need to register with the Ministry and will be recognised as statutory bodies.

“At present there are over 900 television channels which have been granted permission by the I & B Ministry, all of which are required to comply with the Programme and Advertising Code laid down under the Cable Television Network Rules. This notification is significant as it paves the way for a strong institutional system for redressing grievances while placing accountability and responsibility on the broadcasters and their self-regulating bodies,” the official statement added.

This amendment also comes close on the heels of notification of the new IT Rules which has prescribed a three tier grievance redressal mechanism for complaints regarding content of OTT players and digital news publishers.

Published on June 17, 2021

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