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The Central Government today issued a notification amending the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 thereby providing a statutory mechanism for redressal of grievances/complaints of citizens relating to content broadcast by television channels in accordance with the provisions of the Cable Television Network Act, 1995.
- 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. Similarly, various broadcasters have also developed their internal self-regulatory mechanism for addressing grievances. However, a need was felt to lay down a statutory mechanism for strengthening the grievance redressal structure. Some broadcasters had also requested for giving legal recognition to their associations/bodies. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in its order in WP(C) No.387 of 2000 in the matter of “Common Cause Vs Union of India & Others” while expressing satisfaction over the existing mechanism of grievance redressal set up by the Central Government, had advised to frame appropriate rules to formalize the complaint redressal mechanism.
- In the aforementioned background, the Cable Television Network Rules have been amended to provide for this statutory mechanism, which would be transparent and benefit the citizens. At the same time, self-regulating bodies of broadcasters would be registered with the Central Government.
- At present there are over 900 television channels which have been granted permission by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting all of which are required to comply with the Programme and Advertising Code laid down under the Cable Television Network Rules. The above 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.