Regulators

No specific instance of paid news on private TV channels yet: MIB

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MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has not yet had to face the menace of paid news on news channels. In a reply to the Lok Sabha or Lower House of Parliament, junior minister of MIB Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore informed that no specific instance of paid news in electronic media (private satellite TV channels) has been brought to the notice of the ministry.

He further added that instances of paid news during election time were directly dealt by the Election Commission of India under the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The existing provisions contained in the Programme and Advertising Codes (PAC) and the existing mechanism are considered adequate to regulate content on TV channels.

The minister was speaking in response to questions raised regarding paid news on 24X7 news channels and the ministry’s action on the same. Rathore also stated that the existing rules under the Cable TV Network Rules of 1994 were good enough to ensure channels didn’t cross their lines and the act does not allow for pre-censorship, only penalty after telecast. “Action is taken against TV channels whenever violation of the PAC is established,” he said.

The PAC contains a wide range of parameters to regulate programmes and advertisements on such TV channels including the content likely to pose menace of news sensationalism and breaking news culture. Rathore named a few rules:

Rule 6(c) provides that no programme should be carried in the cable service which contains attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes;

Rule 6(d) provides that no programme should be carried in the cable service which contains anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half-truths;

Rule 6(e) provides that no programme should be carried in the cable service which is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote anti-national attitudes;

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