Govt constitutes Content Monitoring Committees at State, District levels

Srinagar—In order to monitor violation of Programme and Advertisement Codes under the Cable Television Networks Regulation (CTNR) Act, 1995 by Private Satellite Television Channels, AIR Broadcast Code by Private FM Channels and Community Radio Stations, the Government Monday accorded sanction to the re-constitution of Content Monitoring Committees at the State and District levels.

State Level Monitoring Committee would include Administrative Secretary, Information Department as Chairman, while representative of the Director General of Police, J&K, Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Representative of Association for Social Welfare in India (ASHI), Kachi Chawni, Jammu, Dr Shahid Rasool, Director, EMMRC, University of Kashmir. Member, Dr Arti Bakshi, (Professor & Head), Department of Member Psychology, University of Jammu would be its members. Similarly, Director, Information and Public Relations, J&K would be the Member Secretary.

The nominated members shall have a term of five years and shall not be eligible for re-nomination. Any vacancy can be filled up by nominating a new member for a fresh term. The Committee shall meet at least twice a year.

The scope of the Committee would be to see whether District Level Monitoring Committees have been formed, to see whether they are meeting regularly, to see whether the authorized officers are effectively performing their duties, to see how many cases are handled by them and what decisions are arrived at, to give suggestion/guidance to District Level Committees, and to take decision on the matters referred to it by District/ Local Level Committees.

Similarly, District Level Monitoring Committee would comprise District Magistrate as its Chairman, District Superintendent of Police, Principal of one of the Women's college in the District, Representative of a leading NGO working for children's welfare Member, Representative of a leading NGO working for women's welfare, one academician from the field of communications/psychology, One representative from electronic media would be act as its members. While, District information Officer would act as Member Secretary.

The role of the District Level Committee is to provide a forum where the public may lodge a complaint regarding content aired over any television distribution platform operators (TDPOs), private FM channels and Community Radio Stations operating in the district. The Committee can then take action as per prescribed procedure to ensure the aired content is in conformity with the prescribed Programme and Advertisement Codes.

The Authorized Officers (AOs) will also ensure that no unauthorized channels are carried and that local content aired by TDPO is restricted to information about local events. The AOs will also monitor and ensure all the notified mandatory channels of Doordarshan, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are carried by the TDPO and in proper genres besides ensuring that Multi System Operators (MSOs) and Local Cable Operators (LCOs) are operating with valid registrations.

The Committee shall bring to the notice of State and Central governments any programmes affecting public order or causing resentment in any community. It will also review the action taken by AOs for enforcement of provisions of the CTNR Act 1995 and monitor operations of MSOs and LCOs to ensure only digital encrypted signals are carried and only Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) compliant Set Top Boxes (STBs) are provided to consumers.

The guidelines include ensuring that content carried by private FM channels and Community Radio Stations operating in the district abide by the AIR Broadcast Code.

Under the prescribed procedure, a Complaint Cell headed by a nodal officer at district level would be established for handling violations and complaints. Also, wide publicity to the constitution of the Monitoring Committee and procedure followed by it, including putting it on website of the State/UT and district websites.

The Committee shall look into the complaints brought to its notice by individuals or organizations and can take suo-moto cognizance of violation of provisions of CTNR Act 1995.

Complaints pertaining to national/regional satellite TV channels and those about violation of AIR Broadcast Code by private FM channels or CRSs, the Committee may forward its recommendations on the violations to the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting with a copy to the State Level Monitoring Committee.

Violations of Programme and Advertisement Codes by permitted satellite TV channels will be dealt with by the Central Government.

The District Monitoring Committee can likewise take action under Section 11 of the Act against TDPOs in respect of content carried locally.

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