Government amends Cable Television Network Rules

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There is now an institutional mechanism in place, in the form of an Inter-Ministerial Committee, to resolve and address public complaints about violations of Programme/Advertising Codes under the Rules. Similarly, a number of broadcasters have created internal self-regulatory mechanisms to deal with complaints. However, it was recognized that a statutory mechanism was needed to improve the grievance redressal system. Some broadcasters have also demanded that their associations/bodies be given legal recognition.

New Delhi/Delhi News24

The Central Government has issued a notification amending the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 to provide a statutory mechanism for redressal of grievances and complaints of citizens relating to content broadcast by television channels in accordance with the provisions of the Cable Television Network Act, 1995.

Reason

There is now an institutional mechanism in place, in the form of an Inter-Ministerial Committee, to resolve and address public complaints about violations of Programme/Advertising Codes under the Rules. Similarly, a number of broadcasters have created internal self-regulatory mechanisms to deal with complaints. However, it was recognized that a statutory mechanism was needed to improve the grievance redressal system. Some broadcasters have also demanded that their associations/bodies be given legal recognition.

Supreme Court of India in its order in WP(C) No.387 of 2000 in the matter of “Common Cause Vs Union of India & Others” expressed satisfaction over the existing mechanism of grievance redressal set up by the Central Government and had advised that appropriate rules should be framed to formalize the complaint redressal mechanism.

Benefit

In the aforementioned background, the Cable Television Network Rules have been amended to provide for this statutory mechanism, which will be transparent and beneficial for the citizens. At the same time, self-regulating bodies of broadcasters would be registered with the Central Government.
Currently, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has granted permission to over 900 television channels, all of which must adhere to the Programme and Advertising Code laid down under the Cable Television Network Rules.

The above notification is crucial as it paves the way for a robust institutional system for redressing grievances while putting accountability and responsibility on the broadcasters and their self-regulating bodies.

Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995

The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 requires and provides a mechanism for the registration of all cable operators in India. The Act empowers the central government to appoint a registering authority to review applications and grant registrations.