New Delhi: With the Supreme Court having given four weeks time to the Centre for submitting its guidelines on content regulation on TV, it is under pressure to come up with norms that are acceptable to all stakeholders.
A senior Information and Broadcasting Ministry official when contacted by PTI refused to comment on the issue, saying “the matter is in court” and it would not be proper to comment on it.
However, official sources said work was going on to prepare guidelines and would be wrapped up soon, as the Supreme Court has now given it a deadline to do so.
The apex court Tuesday asked the ministry to submit guidelines for regulating contents of programmes telecast by TV channels on the lines of norms decided by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), a conglomerate of over 200 channels, including Prasar Bharti.
Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam had tabled before a Bench of Justices B.N. Aggrawal and G.S. Singhvi, the “draft television content code” framed by the IBF which is aimed at ensuring responsible coverage by TV channels in a manner acceptable to all viewers.
IBF had earlier submitted this draft content code to the ministry for its approval.
Last month also the Supreme Court had asked Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium whether there was a single day in a year when a family could sit together and watch TV without an assault on their values.
With regular intervention of the apex court on the issue, the ministry is under pressure to come up with a fresh set of norms on regulation of content code.
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Anand Sharma too, in a meeting convened a couple of weeks back, had asked officials to give priority to the matter.
As of now only the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has set up a body led by former Chief Justice of India J.S. Verma for registering complaints against objectionable content shown on TV.
Common Cause, a NGO, had earlier filed a PIL in the apex court seeking regulatory measures to curb the “growing obscenity, violence and other disturbing” contents being shown by some TV channels.
According to the draft guidelines, it would be the responsibility of the broadcasters that nothing is included in the programmes of any television service which is against public interest, national harmony or which genuinely offends good taste and decency.
The self-regulatory code seeks to ensure that social issues like institution of marriage should be treated with responsibility, while issues like adultery, promiscuity, sex, obscenity and nudity should not be promoted.