MIB Issues Warning To Private Satellite TV Channels; Reinforces Adherence To Programme Code

The regulatory agency reminded all private broadcast channels that they may regulate or prohibit the transmission or retransmission of any channel or programme, if the act jeopardises the country’s sovereignty

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has issued an advisory saying that the central government may regulate or prohibit the transmission or retransmission of any channel or programme if it considers it necessary or expedient to do so in the interest of the country’s sovereignty. This is in adherence to the provisions of Section 20 of The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 including the Programme Code laid down.

“This Ministry has time and again issued advisories to the satellite TV channels granted permission under the Uplinking/Downlinking Guidelines of 2005/2011 for adherence to the Programme Code read with The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. Sub-section (2) of Section 20, inter alia, provides that the Central Government may, by order, regulate or prohibit the transmission or retransmission of any channel or programme, if it considers it necessary or expedient to do so in the interest of (i) sovereignty or integrity of India; or (ii) security of India; or (iii) friendly relations of India with any foreign State; or (iv) public order, decency or morality,” it said. 

In particular, the notice drew attention to provisions of the Programme Code – Section 6: (1) No programme should be carried in the cable service which –offends against good taste or decency; contains criticism of friendly countries; contains an attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes; contains anything, obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half-truths.

Reporting on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, certain incidents in North-West Delhi were particularly highlighted as not being in alignment with the code. According to the government body, reporting on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and North-West Delhi riots saw frequent misquoting of sources, scandalous headlines, hyperbolic statements, communal undertoning, derogatory remarks., and unparliamentary language.

The advisory says that it has been found in the recent past that several satellite TV channels have carried out coverage of events and incidents in a manner which appears to be “unauthentic, misleading, sensational and using socially unacceptable language and remarks”.