Government to regulate television content

New Delhi: The government will constitute a panel headed by a retired judge to regulate television content in India, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said Tuesday in response to complaints by MPs on vulgarity in TV reality shows.

“We are right on the threshold of announcing a self-regulatory mechanism to monitor content on television,” Soni told the Lok Sabha.

She said the panel once formed would take up complaints from civil society about objectionable content on private television channels in the country.

She was replying to questions raised by MPs on the government’s move to monitor TV programmes. Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav and Congress’s N. Chaluvaraya asked her what the government was doing to “curb vulgarity in TV reality shows”.

Sharad Yadav advocated strengthening of censorship for such content and having a censor board as is the case with feature films.

The minister clarified there was “no censor board for TV”. She said TV content was regulated by the Cable Regulatory Act with some uplinking and downlinking criteria for the broadcasters.

“The ministry will not do anything that is later struck down by courts,” Soni said.

She referred to the ministry’s order of asking private TV channel Colors to change the telecast timing of reality show “Bigg Boss” to 11 p.m. from 9 p.m. The order was turned down by a Delhi court.

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