The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has ordered eight private TV channels to go off air in the last three years for program and advertisement code violations, minister of state (MoS) in the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) said in the Rajya Sabha.

The channels that were asked to go off air include NTV, Satlon News, Jai Hind, Al Jazeera TV, Care World, News Time Assam, VTV and DY 365. The channels were ordered to stop transmission for periods ranging from 1 to 30 days.

Four of the eight cases happened in 2015 while 2016 and 2017 saw two cases each of channels getting banned.

Telugu news channel NTV was asked to go off air for a week for telecasting a song based program Cine Colors. Satlon News was prohibited from transmitting or re-transmitting the channel for 30 days as it aired a news report about a private corporate party organized in a five-star hotel on the Pune-Mumbai highway.

Malayalam channel Jai Hind had to go off air for a day due to the telecast of ‘A’ certified film titled Hai Harithe. Al Jazeera TV was banned for 5 days due to the telecast of a news report which carried a wrong graphical map of India repeatedly.

In the case of Care World, the channel had telecast an obscene program Kya Karu Mai Ab which resulted in a seven-day ban. The channel had secured a stay order from the Bombay High Court against the MIB order.

VTV was asked to go off-air for a day due to the telecast of a news program ‘Viral Truth’ in which the channel had shown disturbing visuals of violence. DY 365 was prohibited from transmitting for three days as it had aired visuals in a news report denigrating children.

As per existing regulatory framework, all programs and advertisements telecast on private satellite TV channels and transmitted/re-transmitted through the Cable TV network are required to adhere to the Program Code and Advertising Code prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 framed the reunder.

The Act does not provide for pre-censorship of any program or advertisement telecast on such TV channels. However, all programs and advertisements are required to be in conformity with the said Program and Advertising Codes which contain a whole range of parameters to regulate programs and advertisements including provisions to address the content of indecency, provocative and inflammatory news on TV.

The ministry has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) under the Chairmanship of Additional Secretary, Ministry of I&B and comprising officers drawn from Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence, External Affairs, Law, Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare, Consumer Affairs and a representative from the industry in Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to take cognizance suo-motu or look into specific complaints regarding violation of the Program and Advertising Codes.

The IMC functions in a recommendatory capacity. The final decision regarding penalties and its quantum is taken by the Ministry on the basis of the IMC recommendations.

Further, as part of the self-regulation mechanism, News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has set up News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) in 2008 and formulated a Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards covering a wide range of principles to self-regulate news broadcasting. Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has set up Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) for self-regulation in case of non-news channels.

As part of this, IBF has laid down Content Code & Certification Rules 2011 covering an entire gamut of content-related principles and criteria for television broadcast. – Indian DTH