Regulators

Telecast ban withheld in two of 31 cases; no IMC recast plan

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NEW DELHI: Information and broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu has said that there have been only two cases in the past two years and the current year where the government has put on hold its orders asking TV channels to prohibit transmission for limited time.

These relate to channel DY 365 for a news broadcast on 12 June 2014 and the NDTV India for a report on 4 January 2016, Naidu told the Parliament. In both cases, he said, the channels had made representations to the ministry which were under consideration.

The minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore, answering a supplementary, said that there was no proposal to re-constitute the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) which already includes representatives from the industry.

DY 365 TV channel telecast news bulletin revealing identity of rape victims in two separate news reports. The matter was placed before the IMC on 13 January 2015 in which a representative of the channel was also afforded an opportunity of personal hearing. IMC recommended that the channel may be taken off air for a day due to multiple violations. With the approval of competent authority, an order dated 26 March 2015 was issued to DY 365. Subsequently, the channel submitted a representation on 27 March.

NDTV India TV channel telecast a report on Pathankot terrorist attack disclosing sensitive information well beyond the briefing given by the designated officer while the anti-terrorist operations were still under way. The content was found in violation of Rule 6(1)(p) of the Programme Code. The matter was placed before the IMC on 25 July, 2016, in which representative of the channel was also afforded an opportunity of a personal hearing. It was recommended that the channel may be taken off air for at least one day keeping in view the gravity of the violation and an order issued on 2 November 2016. Subsequently, the channel submitted a representation dated 7 November 2016 which is pending.

(Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court has admitted for hearing a petition by Care World India challenging a week-long telecast prohibition order.)

In reply to another question, Rathore said as many as 31 TV channels had been ordered to stop transmission for periods ranging from one to 60 days since 2005. These include Care World India and AXN two times each, News Time Assam for three news items.

The authority for exercising powers under Cable Act by Central Government or concerned Government/ authorised officers are provided under various sections of the Cable Act and mainly under Section 19 & 20.

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