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Changes in Cable Television Network Rules

  • 18 Jun 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

The central government issued a notification amending the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 thereby providing a statutory mechanism for redressal of grievances/complaints of citizens.

  • These grievances/complaints are related to content broadcast by television channels in accordance with the provisions of the Cable Television Network Act, 1995.

Key Points

  • About the Notification: The notification issues Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021.
    • It provides for a three-level grievance redressal mechanism — self-regulation by broadcasters, self-regulation by the self-regulating bodies of the broadcasters, and oversight by an Inter-Departmental Committee at the level of the Union government.
  • Significance Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021:
    • Various Self-regulatory bodies like News Broadcasters Standards Authority (NBSA) and Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) will get legal recognition.
      • At present, there is an institutional mechanism by way of an Inter-Ministerial Committee to address grievances of citizens relating to violation of the Programme/Advertising Codes under the Rules.
      • Various broadcasters have also developed their internal self-regulatory mechanism for addressing grievances.
    • There are over 900 television channels that have been granted permission by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).
      • The recent notification is significant as it paves the way for a strong institutional system for redressing grievances while placing accountability and responsibility on the broadcasters and their self-regulating bodies.
    • This will bring the television’s self-regulatory mechanism at par with that being set-up for OTT players and digital news publishers, as envisaged in the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
  • Cable Television Network Act, 1995:
    • Objective: The Act aimed at regulating content and operation of cable networks. This Act regulates the ‘haphazard mushrooming of cable television networks’.
    • Important Provisions:
      • Section 2: Under the Act, district magistrates, sub-divisional magistrates and police commissioners are the ‘authorised officers’ to ensure that the Programme Code is not breached.
      • Section 3: No person shall operate a cable television network unless he is registered as a cable operator under this Act.
      • Section 4A: It is obligatory for cable operators to transmit programmes of any channel in an encrypted form through a digital addressable system when the centre asks them to do so.
      • Section 16: Whoever contravenes any of the provisions of this Act shall be punishable.
      • Section 19: Authorised officer has power to prohibit transmission of certain programmes in public interest if it promotes, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, linguistic or regional groups or castes or communities.
      • Section 20: Parliament has power to prohibit operation of cable television networks in public interest.

Source: IE

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