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New Delhi, Mar 25 (UNI) India TV was served a punishment by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for promoting superstition through its 'bhoot, pret' programmes.

Acting on a complaint from the people of a village near Delhi, the Ministry asked the TV channel to run a scroll apologising for telecasting programmes which sought to create an impresion that the village was haunted by ghosts.

However, the channel got a court stay on the Ministry's order.

''We gave full opportunity to TV channel authorities to explain the purposes and basis of the contents of their reports about presence of 'bhoot and pret' in the village, an official told UNI.

The TV channel editors failed to give any convincing reasons for telecasting such programmes, he said.

''We found it very welcome that the people themselves were now resisting superstition and obscurantism being dished out by some TV channels in the garb of news, and therefore the Ministry decided to act against the channel,'' he said.

The notice was served just a day before the offices were to close for the three-day holiday last week, but the channel went to the court later in the day and obtained a stay.

The case would now come up for hearing in July.

The Ministry had recently been struggling to bring in a conent code to check the increasing obscenity, violence and superstition in TV programmes, but it efforts did not bear fruit due to the stiff resistance by the private broadcasters.

They wanted to draw the code themselves, saying that it would be better if the restraint came from the industry itself Various media bodies like the News Broadcasters Association, the Editors Guild and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation were reported to be busy in the exercise to formulate a code. However, none of them have come out with any blueprint so far.

UNI NAZ VD HS1450

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