Movie channel ban: Govt. plans interim measure

NEW DELHI: The Indian government is likely to come up with an interim plan to put some cooling balm on movie channels, which have been up against a wall in Mumbai due to a court ban on airing of `A' certified movies.

According to an official of the information and broadcasting ministry, in about a fortnight's time "some interim measure" relating to movie channels would be put in place to ease the problem.

"We are aware of the difficulties being faced (by movie channels). Some sort of an interim measure should be announced in the next 10-12 days," the official said.

However, the official admitted that the censor board is hamstrung by inadequate manpower to quickly re-certify all movies lined up by movie channels over the next two to three months.

In the third week of August, the Bombay High Court ruled that broadcasters, including direct-to-home (DTH) service providers, could not air movies with 'A' certificates.

The High Court bench, headed by Justice Lodha, had also pulled up the cable operators for their action of discontinuing transmission of all channels in Mumbai after the court ban.

The court also specified that broadcasters, including foreign channels uplinking from outside India, have to obtain certificate from the Indian censor board before they air any movies.

The affected channels belatedly petitioned the government to find some solution ahead of the festive season, which got flagged off with Dasher on 2 October, when corporate houses splurge advertising money on television.

One of the options being toyed is to give channels some migration time to re-certify movies, especially in the light of slow working of the censor board.

The nine channels affected by the court ban include Zee Cinema, Star Movies, HBO, Filmy, Star Gold, AXN and SET Max. The channels, however, can technically function normally in other parts of the country.

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