| 03 Jun 2023
Supreme Court asks govt to streamline grievance redressal systems against media

NEW DELHI: Action was taken in 52 cases of television and two of radio in the past three years for violation of the Programme or Advertisement Code of the Government.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said the action in most cases was limited to apology scrolls, or switching off channels for a brief period.

This included in the case of TV 19,15 and 18 cases in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively and one ach in the case of FM radio in 2015 and 2016.

Meanwhile, the Minister said the Supreme Court had on 12 January 2017 advised the Government to formalize the complaint redressal mechanism including the period of limitation within which a complaint can be filed.

The court also said the concerned statutory authority which shall adjudicate upon the same including the appellate and other redressal mechanisms, leading to a final conclusive determination.

At present, an Inter-Ministerial Committee takes action on complaints forwarded to it. In addition, there is self-regulation at the level of the Advertisement Standards Council of India, the Broadcast Content Control Council and the News Broadcast Standards Authority.

The Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) under Section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 comprising officers from Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence, External Affairs, Law & Justice, Women & Child Development, Health & Family Welfare, Consumer Affairs and a representative from Advertising Standards Council of India, to take cognizance suo moto or to look into specific complaints regarding content on private TV channels on any platform including FM Radio channels.

As and when there is a prima facie case of violation by private satellite TV channels and private FM channels regarding content aired by them, the matter is placed before the IMC for its consideration/recommendations. Thus, IMC functions in a recommendatory capacity. The final decision is taken on the basis of the recommendations of IMC by the Ministry after which action is taken such as issuing warnings or advisories to the channels or asking them to run apology scrolls on their channels or directing the channels to be taken off air for a limited period depending on the gravity of the violation.

Apart from this, the Ministry has also issued directions to States to set up District level and State level Monitoring Committees to regulate content telecast of local TV channels carried on Cable TV Networks.