I&B suspends Comedy Central & ManoranjanTV for 10 days for alleged content violations

NEW DELHI: Even as the government says it wants to give self-regulation a chance, two television channels - Comedy Central and Manoranjan TV - have been penalised for screening inappropriate content by the information & broadcasting ministry.

The transmission or re-transmission of Comedy Central has been suspended for 10 days from midnight of 25 May for telecast of a show 'Stand Up Club' on 26 May last year at 20.52 hrs, while Manoranjan TV has been suspended from midnight 25 May for seven days for showing the film 'Ek Chatur Naar' with 'A' certificate on the afternoon of 11 February last year.

Thus, Comedy Central will remain off air till 4 June while Manoranjan TV will not be transmitted till 1 June if all goes according to the ministry's order.

While the Viacom18 company spokesperson for Comedy Central said: "Since the matter is sub-judice, we cannot comment", there was no response from Manoranjan TV despite repeated attempts. It is understood that a petition challenging the ministry order by Viacom18 is coming up for hearing early next week.

The order says that the show on Comedy Central which had 'obscene dialogues and vulgar words derogatory of women and hence appeared to offend good taste and decency. The portrayal in the programme did not appear suitable for unrestricted public exhibition and children.'

The I&B's inter-ministerial committee felt in the case of Manoranjan TV that this was a gross violation of the programme code and the argument of the channel that it happened due to a mistake on part of their staff cannot be accepted. Being a responsible TV channel, it should have put in place appropriate system to avoid such mistakes.

The orders in both cases have been issued under section 20(2) and (3) of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 and paras 8.1 and 8.2 of the Guidelines for Uplinking from India.

In what is clearly hardening of stand, the I&B's inter-ministerial committee has penalised five channels in the months of April and May for violation of the programme and advertising codes.

Since one channel, Movies OK, obtained a stay order on the grounds that it had been served the notice too late, the ministry took precaution and had issued the penalty notices to both Comedy Central and Manoranjan TV on 17 May. The other channels penalised were Mahuaa and AXN.

The I&B's inter-ministerial committee had issued show cause notices to both Comedy Central and Manoranjan channels and also gave them an opportunity to make their representations.

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