Tv network

Modification of the rules governing the cable television network

The complainant may prefer to appeal to the central government. for review under the oversight mechanism.

The complainant may prefer to appeal to the central government. for review under the oversight mechanism.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Thursday amended the rules governing cable TV networks, providing a “statutory” mechanism for complaints raised by citizens about any broadcast content.

At present, more than 900 television stations are required to comply with the Program and Advertising Code established by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting under the rules of the cable television network.

The 2021 Cable TV Networks Rules (Amendment) provide for a three-tier grievance mechanism – self-regulation by broadcasters, self-regulation by broadcaster self-regulatory bodies, and oversight by an interdepartmental committee at the level of the Union government.

A viewer can file a complaint directly with the broadcaster, who must respond within 15 days. If the complainant is not satisfied with the response, the complaint can be forwarded to the self-regulatory bodies set up by the TV stations, which should deal with the matter within 60 days.

“If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the self-regulatory body, he may, within 15 days of this decision, lodge an appeal with the central government for it to be examined under the mechanism control,” the amendment reads.

These appeals will be handled by the Interdepartmental Committee set up within the framework of the control mechanism. The committee will be headed by the additional secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and will include members from the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Department of External Affairs, Department of Defense, and representatives of other departments and organizations, including experts, as the Center may decide.

This third level is not only reserved for hearing appeals, it can receive complaints that come directly to the Centre.

Currently, there is an institutional mechanism through an interdepartmental committee to deal with complaints from citizens regarding violation of programming/advertising codes under the rules, but it has no statutory basis.

After examining complaints, the Interministerial Committee may recommend that the Center advise, issue a warning, censure, admonish or reprimand a broadcaster, or ask for an apology. It may also require the broadcaster to include a warning card or disclaimer, or remove or edit content, or remove the channel or a program for a specified period of time, when it is convinced that such action is justified.