Paving the way “for a strong institutional system to address grievances while placing responsibility and liability on broadcasters and their self-regulatory bodies”, the government on Thursday amended the 1994 cable television network rules to give a legal recognition to self-regulatory bodies. for television. TV content self-regulatory bodies will be registered with the government.
In a statement, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said the amendment will provide “a statutory mechanism for the redress of grievances/complaints from citizens regarding content broadcast by television broadcasters in accordance with the provisions of the 1995 Act. on the cable television network”.
Sources said this will put TV’s self-regulatory mechanism on par with that put in place for OTT players and digital news publishers as set out in the 2021 Information Technology Rules (Directives for Intermediaries and Code of Ethics for Digital Media), published in February. .
On May 26, the I&B Ministry had asked all digital news publishers, OTT players and traditional news platforms with digital branches to provide details on their businesses’ compliance with the new guidelines within 15 days. . A senior government official said that as of Thursday the Center had received information from more than 1,500 companies. That’s more than expected, and the number is likely to rise, as the ministry has contacted around 1,100 businesses via email. Of more than 1,500 digital publishers, approximately 1,150 have stand-alone digital operations. More than 270 newspapers also provided details on their websites. Only 37 news TV channels shared information on their websites. Among the OTT players, 41 shared the information that the government had requested of them.
The official told The Indian Express that apart from the broadcaster-led OTT platforms that came together to rename Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) to Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF) to establish a self-regulatory body, and other major players establishing a self-regulatory body from Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the ministry has also received proposals from smaller players in Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar for set up their self-regulatory bodies.
The mechanism, the official said, gave viewers a civil mechanism to address their grievances, which had been lacking until now, and led to people filing FIRs against the creators of web shows and the platforms on which they were available. The official mentioned that since the notification of the new rules, the number of grievances has dropped to almost zero, compared to more than 300 complaints that had been received against various shows so far.
On Thursday, the department said “a need has arisen to put in place a statutory mechanism to strengthen the grievance redress structure. Some broadcasters had also applied for legal recognition of their associations/bodies. He mentioned that even the Supreme Court had previously “advised to develop appropriate rules to formalize the grievance redress mechanism”.