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Broadcasting council takes shape to deal with TV complaints

Posted by on February 18, 2011 0 Comment

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni Friday said a broadcasting council comprising industry stakeholders and civil society members is being given shape to deal with complaints from people over television content in a time-bound manner.

The setting up of the 13-member Broadcasting Content Complaint Council, to be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or high court, has been proposed after over year-long discussions by the Information and Broadcasting Secretary and stakeholders of the sector, Soni said on the sidelines of the CII Content Summit here.

Underlining the government’s commitment to a system of self-regulation based on the public private partnership model, Soni said the broadcasting council was being proposed on the basis of consultations held with civil society representatives and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the representative body for entertainment channels.

“It is a self-regulation mechanism. The government has nothing to do with it,” Soni said, adding, it is only a draft proposal now which will have to be taken to the cabinet.

“The proposed body will have four stakeholders from the broadcasting sector, four eminent people from the civil society and chairpersons or their nominees from our statutory commissions like those for women, children, Scheduled Castes or minorities,” the minister said.

Soni met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily Thursday to discuss the proposal with leaders of political parties and other stakeholders.

The issues of security concerns and legal cover to the proposal were discussed, she said.

The minister added that as far as content was concerned, it had to be balanced with the prevalent diversity in the country, the existence of multiple channels, the suitability and tastes of different target audiences and the nuances of the regional media.

Moreover, as the volume of programming had increased, self-regulation was the way forward keeping in mind the fact that television was becoming increasingly localized, she said.

“A self regulatory mechanism would ensure an element of objectivity in viewing and addressing issues relating to content,” she said, while alluding to the system of self- regulation put in place by the National Broadcasters Association (NBA) with regard to news channels.

A constructive partnership between the government and the NBA had ensured that the system of self regulation worked effectively addressing the concern of both, she said.

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