Complaint council for broadcast content proposed: Soni

New Delhi, Feb 18 (PTI) A broadcasting council comprisingindustry stakeholders and civil society members is on theanvil to deal with complaints from people over televisioncontent in a time-bound manner.

The setting up of the 13-member Broadcasting ContentComplaint Council, to be headed by a retired judge of theSupreme Court or High Court, has been proposed after overyear-long discussions by the Information and BroadcastingSecretary and stakeholders of the sector, I and B MinisterAmbika Soni told reporters on the sidelines of the ''CIIContent Summit'' here.

"It is a self-regulation mechanism. The government hasnothing to do with it," Soni said, adding, it is only a draftproposal now which will have to be taken to the Cabinet.

The discussions were necessitated to address the causefor discomfort of civil society with some of the programmes,especially in general entertainment channels, she said.

"Individual viewer, if he is annoyed about some telecastor does not accept it, can send a complaint and they will tryto address the complaint within a framework of 21 days or so.

"The proposed body will have four stakeholders from thebroadcasting sector, four eminent people from the civilsociety and chairpersons or their nominees from our statutorycommissions like those for women, children, scheduled castesor minorities," the Minister said.

She said she met Home Minister P Chidamabaram and LawMinister Veerappa Moily yesterday to discuss how to take theproposal further to leaders of political parties and otherstakeholders. The issues of security concerns and legal coverto the proposal were discussed, she said.

On digitalisation of broadcast media, she said the TRAIroadmap for it may have to be extended by a year keeping inview the nitty-gritty involved. "If not 2013 but soon after wewill fix the sunset hour for analogue system."

Earlier, she told the meet that more regional channelsshould be encouraged to be members of Indian BroadcastingAssociation or News Broadcasters Association which will leadto some benefits being accrued to them while they will have toaccept self-regulation goals announced by them as binding.

"The UPA-II wants a self-regulation system in partnershipwith the media and general entertainment industry," she said.

She said there were complaints about programme contentfrom civil society, concerned parents and elders and peoplewho see themselves as protector of traditional values. "But wewere sure there cannot be a Censor Board-type thing for this."

Soni also said they get huge number of complaints aboutnews media, including from colleagues in public life who sayhow some channels are "ruining reputation" of individuals.

"We get a lot of flak," she told the organisers, addingin a lighter tone, "When you praise our work we become suspectin the eyes of people who think we are not doing itright...there is Parliament session. I don''t think they willsay anything like this (praise) but quite the other thing."PTI SDG

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