I&B moots regulatory body for TV content

NEW DELHI: The parliamentary consultative committee attached to India's information and broadcasting ministry in a meeting earlier today came out in favour of forming a regulatory body to monitor unregulated content on television channels in the country.

The issue is being seen as another step taken by I&B minister Sushma Swaraj in recent times to have in place a legislation to regulate the broadcasting and cable sectors in a piecemeal fashion ahead of an omnibus legislation being proposed to govern the three sectors of media, information technology and telecommunications.

As per early information available with, based on feedback from government sources, the parliamentary panel, comprising of Members of the Indian Parliament, while voicing its concern over TV programmes which are not in consonance with Indian culture and have a negative effect on children, opined that the government must take steps to bring some order in this chaotic situation as current laws regarding programming lack teeth.

Several MPs had told Swaraj, according to her own admission in Parliament, that programmes on the small screen are becoming increasingly regressive and reflecting an aspirational culture that is very un-Indian.

During a debate on conditional access system in the Parliament's Upper House earlier this month, one woman MP had even gone to the extent of saying that channels airing serials based on the 'saas bahu' theme should be banned. 

During a debate on conditional access system in the Parliament's Upper House earlier this month, one woman MP had even gone to the extent of saying that channels airing serials based on the 'saas bahu' theme should be banned. 

During the same discussion on CAS, Swaraj, on being criticised by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for getting legislations passed in a piecemeal fashion, had said that the government or her ministry cannot wait endlessly for the Communications Convergence Act to be put in place. The proposed Act is aimed at addressing immediate concerns involving the broadcasting and cable sectors.

IT, telecom and parliamentary minister Pramod Mahajan had some time earlier told that he does not foresee the Communications Convergence Bill, envisaging a super-regulator for IT, broadcasting and telecom, being discussed by policy-makers in Parliament before May 2003. 

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