As broadcasters and stakeholders continue to debate over the Ministry's role in content regulation and the new Content Evaluation Committee in the Broadcasting Services Bill, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) clarified its stance. They have no prescriptive intent, said MIB secretary Apurva Chandra, in an exclusive interview with Storyboard18. The committee supports the industry's existing self-regulation model.
“The program code and the advertising code themselves are guidelines on what the proper programming should be and going beyond that will be actually prescriptive, and we should not be doing that,” Chandra told Storyboard18 during the interview.
“We issue advisories occasionally and only when necessary. For instance when violence happened in Manipur. It's essential to refrain from displaying explicit content such as dead bodies or acts of violence that could incite further harm,” he said.
Crime and such explicit content is good for TRP but it is not ideal for TV channels to show them. However, it's for the channels to decide what they want to show. That is why we feel that these content evaluation committees will be more useful. They can act as a self check,” Chandra added.
What is this Content Evaluation Committee?
As per the draft regulations, every broadcaster or broadcasting network operator shall constitute one or more ‘Content Evaluation Committee’ or CEC, consisting of members who are eminent individuals representing different social groups, including but not limited to women, child welfare, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, minorities etc., and with such other relevant criteria as may be prescribed.
The Central government may prescribe the number of members in CEC, quorum required, and such other details to facilitate the formation of CEC and its smooth functioning.
The draft also says that every broadcaster or broadcasting network operator shall intimate the Central Government and also publicise the names, credentials and other details of members of CEC on its website and in such form and manner, as may be prescribed.
Every broadcaster or broadcasting network operator shall broadcast only those programmes which are duly certified by the CEC. Provided that the Central Government may prescribe the programmes on which requirement of certification from CEC shall not apply.
The provisions of this chapter shall be applicable, in case of cable broadcasting network operators, satellite broadcasting network operators and IPTV (Internet protocol television) Network operators, to only such operators, who provide Platforms services on their network, and limited only to the content broadcasted on such platform services.
Read the full exclusive interview: OTT regulation in Broadcasting Services Bill is light touch and not same as others: MIB secretary Apurva Chandra