Regulators

Electronic Media Monitoring Centre to go up to 1500 channels by 2017: Rathore

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NEW DELHI: The government hopes to increase the capacity of the state-of-art Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC), which currently monitors around 300 television channels, to 1500 by 2017.

 

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore told Parliament that these 300 channels are chosen randomly out of the 839 channels beaming into Indian homes.

 

He said that the aim was to first achieve the target of monitoring 600 channels within the next few months, while answering a question about reality shows playing with the sentiments of the people.



In a reply to a supplementary question about young children being used in dance shows, Rathore said that there are a large number of channels and there is undoubtedly a race to attract as many eyeballs as possible. Therefore, most of these channels, no doubt, are walking a very thin line and working in that grey area. However, there is a freedom of expression. Therefore, the government does not want to impinge on the freedom of expression. Keeping in mind the morality, decency and various levels of acceptance on television, certain guidelines have been issued. “What the Ministry can say is that we will issue advisories and we will also take into account any complaint that comes,” he said.

He also said that a Task Force had earlier been set up to work on a regulatory body but the channels had opposed this and wanted self-regulation.

 

Answering the main question, I&B Minister Arun Jaitley said no fact had been brought to the notice of the government alleging shows playing with sentiments of the people. However, the content carried on private satellite TV channels is regulated according to the provisions of the Programme and Advertising Codes contained in the Cable Television Network Rules 1994 and the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act 1995. The rules provide for a whole range of parameters to regulate programme and advertisements on TV channels including the reality shows.



 

The programme code says that no programme should be carried which (a) offends good taste or decency (b) contains anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half truths (c) criticizes, maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social, public and moral life of the country (d) denigrates women through the depiction in any manner of the figure of a woman, her form or body or any part thereof in such a way as to have the effect of being indecent or derogatory to women, or is likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public morality or morals (e) denigrates children (f) is not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition (g) is unsuitable for children.

Action is taken against defaulting channels whenever any violation of the said codes is noticed or brought to the notice of the Ministry.

The Ministry also has an Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) to look into the violations of the Programme and Advertisement Codes. IMC has representatives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Defence, External Affairs, Law, Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, Consumer Affairs and a representative from the industry in Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). IMC meets periodically and recommends action against violations.

Besides, as part of self-regulation by industry, Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), which is a representative body of non-news and current affairs TV channels, has set up Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) to examine the complaints about television programmes.

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