Regulators

SC to MIB: Get mechanism to deal with complaints on TV, radio shows

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Central Government to set up a statutory mechanism to deal with citizens' complaints against TV and radio programmes.

A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) to use the power under section 22 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act and set up a body to deal with complaints against television and radio channels, PTI reported.

The court considered the submission of the Centre that there was a mechanism to deal with such cases. "The Union of India said that there is a mechanism. We, however, feel that it needs adequate publicity so as to enable common public to seek redressal of grievance," the court was quoted in the PTI report.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, said that "this business of self regulation business doesn't work".

At present while the News Broadcasters’ Association of India (NBA) has a self-regulatory mechanism to look into complaints received from citizens and viewers relating to its member-TV channels, there is no such set-up for the non-news TV channels in the country.

Broadcast and telecoms regulator TRAI oversees the carriage and tariff related issues pertaining to broadcast and cable. The content side of the industry is still regulated by MIB, which issues show-cause notices to various TV channels on content-related issues after receiving complaints or suggestions from viewers in general. The government also has a state-of-the-art on-air content monitoring facility in Delhi.

Most recently, MIB had asked NDTV India news channels to shutter for a day as a penalty for breaching content code as envisaged in various government rules and regulations and amended from time to time. NDTV India issue related to airing of programmes and information allegedly considered to compromise the nation’s security. However, under media and public pressure, the government kept the order in abeyance late last year.

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