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Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995

Topics Covered: Internal security related issues.

Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995:


Context:

The Karnataka High Court has ordered issue of notices to the Centre and the State government and 70 media platforms, including newspapers, on a petition seeking a direction to the authorities to take steps to safeguard the right to privacy of individuals and ensure that media outlets don’t invade the privacy of individuals by breaching law.

What has the Court said?

Any broadcast in the media, governed by the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, should be strictly in conformity with the terms of “Programme Code” defined under this Act.

  • The media platforms also include TV channels, online news portals, news agencies, social networking and micro-blogging service providers, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

About the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995:

  • The law prescribes imprisonment up to two years or fine up to ₹1,000 or both for the first offence, and imprisonment up to five years and with fine up to ₹5,000 if any media governed under the CTN Act violates the provisions and the “Programme Code”.
  • The code, which contains an elaborate list of don’ts for cable TV channels, states that no programme should be aired that contains anything obscene, defamatory, false, and suggests innuendos and half-truths.

Challenges in implementation of the law:

Section 20 of the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, states that the government can regulate or prohibit the transmission or retransmission of any programme that it feels is not in conformity with the Programme and Advertising Code, which oversees television content in India.

  • However, there is no body to pre-certify content for TV. The Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC), under the I&B Ministry, monitors the content telecast on private TV channels to check if they adhere to the Programme and Advertising Code.
  • Specific complaints on code violations are looked into by an inter-ministerial committee (IMC).

Role of tv channels:

As per Rule 6 of the Cable TV Network Rules, it is also the responsibility of the channel to ensure its programmes are not violative of the programme code.

  • Sub-section ‘c’ of Rule 6 specifically mentions that programmes that contain attacks on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes should not be carried in the cable service.

Need for these measures:

Airing of sensitive video footages may be a total disregard to a person’s right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution”.

With private lives of the citizens being splattered over the media be it through social networking sites or spy cameras, protection is needed so that citizens can function in a way they want to and not think of others before their actions.

Sources: the Hindu.