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No plans to regulate TV content through CBFC: MIB

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NEW DELHI: Even as debates rage on regarding film and television content with the government admitting complaints regarding vulgar advertisements on TV are received regularly and addressed, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has said there’s no move yet to regulate TV content via an existing body.

Dwelling on the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), its recent run-ins with films producers on alleged censorships and a proposed restructuring of the certification body, Minister of State for MIB Rajyavardhan Rathore has said government doesn’t propose to regulate TV content via CBFC.

Rathore made these observations regarding CBFC and TV content regulation in Parliament last week

Holding forth on CBFC, the minister admitted that a restructuring report by the Shyam Benegal Committee was “under examination”,  but added the government had not received any formal complaint/representation from the Indian film industry regarding the functioning of CBFC.

Rathore told Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) late last week that differences in opinion relating to certification of individual films do exist between the producers and the Board. Such cases are dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952, he added.

The existing system under the Cinematograph Act, 1952 provides the requisite checks and balances as far as certification of films is concerned. Periodical reviews by expert committees are undertaken. Sufficient provisions for addressing grievances of film producers with regard to film certification exist in present regulations, the junior MIB minister informed fellow parliamentarians.

A review committee under noted film-maker Shyam Benegal was constituted by MIB some time back. The committee has given its report suggesting some radical changes in the CBFC’s functioning and role.

Complaints regarding vulgarity in TV ads

A total of 49 complaints – four in 2016 – for vulgarity in advertisements on television channels were reported to MIB since 2013.

In most cases, advisories were issued to TV channels concerned, but there were a few cases where the channels had to run apology scrolls or were forced to shut down for a fixed period.

There were also two instances of advisories to all channels in these years.

According to figures available with MIB, there were 26 complaints in 2013, nine in 2014, eleven in 2015 and four so far this year.

Only Manoranjan TV, FTV, and NTV have figured thrice in these years for broadcast of vulgarity in advertisements.

Under existing regulatory framework, all programmes and advertisements telecast on TV channels and transmitted/retransmitted through cable TV networks and DTH platforms are required to adhere to the Programme and Advertising Codes prescribed under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.

Action is taken suo-motu as well as when violations are brought to the notice of the ministry.

These codes contain a whole range of parameters to regulate programmes and advertisements, including provisions to address content of obscenity, vulgarity and violence in TV programmes and advertisements.

Information from the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) and other sources like an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) are collated on prima facie violation of the Programme and Advertising Codes for the MIB to pursue the matter.

Government said directions to the States have been issued to set up district-level and State-level monitoring committees to monitor content telecast on cable TV channels. These are recommendatory bodies, which function to aid and assist MIB.

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