LS members call for strict mechanism to monitor news channels

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New Delhi, Apr 24 (UNI) Cutting across party lines, members in the Lok Sabha today underlined the need for setting up an effective monitoring mechanism to keep a watch on the content broadcast by private news channels and called for laying down a code of conduct for them.

Initiating the discussion on the demands for grants for the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, BJP leader Sumitra Mahajan regretted that due to commercial goals, news channels had compromised on news content. ''News is often more than news--we have all kinds of shows about mysticism, presence of spirits etc,''she said.

Lamenting that the private news channels had made light of the 'breaking news concept' by showing trivial stories as flashes, she said reality shows had become a commercial farce, as the results were decided by the number of SMSs and not by the judges.

She also criticised the trend of corporate houses roping in sportstars to walk on the ramp. ''Our sportspersons are being forced into walking the ramp as they are being paid for it.'' This great game of cricket has been turned into a fashion show and the viewers were being taken for granted, she added.

Taking a dig at the fashion shows, she bemoaned that the wardrobe malfunctions were given more priority by the news channels and shown repeatedly throughout the day. ''These fashion shows are meant for display of clothes that are in trend, but what is the need for these shows, when they dont show any clothes at all''? she quipped.

Calling for a monitoring on the content of the soap operas and the FM radio broadcasts, she said the language used on FM radio was shameful. They should be more careful as people at the grassroot level still listen to the radio and are impacted by what is doled out.

''About the serials, the less said, the better,'' she said and stressed on the need for stricter laws to safeguard Indian culture.

Ms Mahajan also took on Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi for announcing schemes but not implementing them and pointed out that out of 101 schemes announced, 43 had been dropped. ''Plans were announced for upgrading the Children's Film Society and the Pune-based FTII, but no concrete steps have been taken,'' she said.

Stating that the demands for grants of the Ministry were six times higher than what it spent, she said this reflected the ''non-serious'' attitude of the Minister.

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