'No Govt role in Content Code implementation'
New Delhi, July 28: In a bid to dispel apprehensions of stakeholders about the draft Content Code, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has clarified that the Code would not be imposed on broadcasters or advertisers directly by the Government.
The Code that has been put on the Ministry's websie for public and stakeholders' comments is facing strong opposition from broadcasters.
It will be part of the Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill which the Government is trying to bring in Parliament.
Summing up and at the same time elaborating the provisions of the draft Code runing into several pages, the Ministry said the It would be implemented through a three tier mechanism separate and distinct from the Government.
The mechanism was intended to ensure that the complaints of the public were addressed and broadcasters and advertisers bring their programmes in line with the viewing and listening needs of the public at large.
In the first, there will be a content auditor to be appointed internally by each channel and who would be overall responsible for pre-viewing of the content to be broadcasted.
The Content Auditor would also be the point of contact for any issues, complaints in relation to any programme or advertisement broadcast.
At the second level there would be the evaluation of the content in cases of complaint by Consumer Complaints Committees to be set up by a peer body i.e. the ASCI in the case of advertisements and a body such as IBF/NBA in the case of broadcasters or any organization as may be notified by the Central Government.
The lodging of grievances at these two levels is expected to take care of public grievances regarding content, and broadcasters / advertisers would themselves make suitable modifications in future content.
It is only when they fail to do so or a complainant aggrieved with the order of the Consumer Complaints Committee files an appeal, that the role of the regulator Broadcast Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) would come into play.
A second appeal against the order of BRAI can also be filed before the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.
The regulator will be an authority distinct from the Government and the Ministry of I&B.
It will be an independent autonomous public authority to be appointed on the lines of the Chairman, Press Council of India. As such the Content Code is not to be ultimately enforced by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting but the spirit of the Code will be observed by broadcasters and advertisers themselves through a self regulatory and an independent mechanism.
The Ministry sought to underscore that in no way it attempts to curtail the freedom of the press, but merely prescribes certain norms which a responsible electronic media is expected to observe in public interest.