It will now be mandatory for the news channels to keep aside 30 minutes and broadcast topics related to the national interest, as per the new guidelines issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The announcement was made by the MIB Secretary Apurva Chandra, on Wednesday, adding seven to eight themes have been suggested for the same, and noting the new regulations does not favour any media outlet.
The Cabinet has approved guidelines for uplinking & downlinking of satellite Television channels in the country.
Education, literacy, agriculture, rural development, health, family welfare, science and technology, women welfare, welfare of weaker sections of the society, environmental protection, cultural heritage and national integration, are among the subject matter to be compulsory broadcasted by the channels.
What is about new amended guidelines –
- The changes to the regulations have been made after a tenure of 11 years, last time it was done in 2011.
- Promotes ease in doing business.
- Relaxation of compliance for permission holders of TV channels.
MIB Secretary’s statement –
“We have released the new guidelines after around 11 years. We’ve taken the approval of the Union Cabinet, as per the improvement we have considered over the years… we have made multiple improvements in terms of ease of doing business”.
“We have kept a provision that a 30-min slot should be given for things of national importance or national interest; 7-8 themes given for the same – women empowerment, agriculture, teaching. We have tried to bring everyone on a level-playing field”.
Content will solely depend on the media firm
The content on the themes will be purely generated by the media houses on their own, the ministry will not be responsible for that, informs Chandra.
“It is not that the government will give any programmes to the television channels for broadcasting under public interest content. The channels are free to create their own content on the themes mentioned”, added MIB Secretary.
The Ministry shall, preferably within 30 days of receiving clearance and approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs and other authorities, and after satisfying itself that the proposed channel is suitable for public viewing in India and the applicant company!LLP is fit for approval, grant permission by an order in writing, to the company/LLP for downlinking a TV channel, states the 34-page-detailed guidelines. LLP, here refers to Limited Liability Partnership registered under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008.
The guidelines provide the ministry with the right to issue general advisory time-to-time for the channels to telecast the content on the themes highlighted by it, and the media outlets will have no other choice than to comply with them.
Apart from this, under the new guidelines, the channels get the opportunity to uplinking their platform for change of satellite teleport on the Broadcast Seva portal.
What if the channels do not comply with regulations?
The Ministry further notes that in case any channel denies or does not abide by the regulations, a suitable action would be taken against it, which might also include an apology scroll, run on their channel, and get their channel to be off-air for a specified number of hours or days, or an apology to be issued by the Director/CEO of the entity on the channel.
“Where a channel is found to have broadcast a content which is in violation of the Programme Code and Advertising Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, 1995, it shall be liable for penal action. The Ministry shall take action under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and rules framed thereunder”.
The Ministry shall have the right to suspend the permission of a channel for a specified period or cancel its permission in public interest or in the interest of national security to prevent its misuse, including where the company/LLP is found to have misused the permission by authorising or enabling or contracting out to any other person the operations or other core functions/activities of the channel through any explicit or implicit agreement or arrangement, or there is a substantive change in ownership of the company/LLP leading to complete change in management and control over the company/LLP without prior permission of the Ministry, and the company or the LLP shall immediately comply with such directives, the released document further notes.
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