New guidelines for dist, state panels for monitoring TV

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New Delhi, Feb 20 (UNI) The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting today issued guidelines to define the role of the State and District Monitoring Committees for private television channels.

The decision to issue the new guidelines was taken after it was brought to the notice of the government that the enforcement of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 in many parts of the country was not satisfactory either due to lack of clear understanding of the role of the District Monitoring Committees or a suitable mechanism to enforce the provisions of the Act.

No State, except Jammu and Kashmir, has reported the constitution of a state level committee. Also, an increasing number of petitions are being received in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting from viewers regarding malpractices by Cable Operators and undesirable content being shown at the local level by the cable operators.

Scope of the District Level Committee is to provide a forum where the public may lodge a complaint regarding content aired over cable television and take action on the same as per procedure prescribed in the Act.

It reviews the action taken by Authorised Officers for enforcement of Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, and brings to the notice of State and Central Government if any programme is affecting public order or wide spread resentment in any community.

The committee is also to keep a watch on content carried by cable television channels at local level and to ensure, through Authorized Officers, that no unauthorised or pirated channels are carried and local news if aired by the cable television operator is restricted to information about local events and is presented in a manner which is balanced impartial and not likely to offend or incite any community.

It is also assigned to monitor the availability of free to air channels and channels notified for mandatory carriage on the cable network.

The guidelines suggest that a complaint cell headed by a nodal officer at district level be established and wide publicity given to the constitution of Monitoring Committee and procedure followed by it, including putting it on website of the State/UT.

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