I&B ministry imposes additional penalties for violation of programme code

Prohibited transmission/re-transmission of channels in 37 instances during 2005-21.

Mumbai: The minister of information and broadcasting, Anurag Thakur has informed the Rajya Sabha that there have been 37 instances between March 2005 and June 2021 where broadcasters were prohibited the transmission and re-transmission of a channel for a specified time period, or permission to downlink the channel was cancelled, due to violation of the programme code.

The information and broadcasting minister was asked to give the status of Cable TV Networks Amendment (Regulation) Bill, 2020 which proposed to increase the penalties for violation of the Programme Code. He was also asked whether the government had imposed a monetary penalty or prohibited the transmission of a channel under the relevant provisions of the Cable TV Networks Amendment (Regulation) Act for violation of the Programme Code.

“No monetary penalty has been imposed for the violation of Programme Code," noted Thakur.

The programme code comes under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 contains broad guidelines related to content broadcast on private television channels.

The matter of violation of the programme code and advertising code has been addressed by amending the rules vide government gazette notification number G.S.R. 416(E) on 17 June so as to include a complaint redressal mechanism by the broadcaster which prescribes the specific actions that can be taken by the central government for such violations.

As per the amendments, if the government is satisfied that the programme of any channel is not in conformity with the programme code, it may, after giving an opportunity of hearing to the cable operator, and by an order in writing, prohibit the transmission or re-transmission of any such channel or programme in accordance with the provisions of section 20 of the Act.

The rules provide for a three-tiered complaint redressal mechanism; Level I self-regulation by the broadcaster, level II self-regulation by self-regulating bodies of the broadcasters, and level III oversight mechanism by the central government.  

The I&B minister had previously informed the Parliament on Friday that the government took action against 126 violations of the programme code between 2018 and 2021.

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