Modi govt spent over Rs 9 cr to monitor TV channels last year

The Centre informed the Lok Sabha about the spending on Electronic Media Monitoring Centre in response to a question.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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In order to monitor content by private networks, the Narendra Modi government spent over Rs 9 crore in the last financial year to maintain equipment and pay salaries at the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre.

Responding to an unstarred question by BJP Jaipur MP Ramcharan Bohra, who had sought details of the monitoring centre set up by the government to look at television content, Union information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that all programmes telecast on private satellite TV channels are required to adhere to the programme code and advertising code laid down under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. 

“The government has established an Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) to monitor content of private satellite TV channels for violation of the said codes. Cases of apparent violation of codes found by EMMC are dealt with in accordance with a three-tier grievance redressal mechanism established under the Act.”

The EMMC was established in 2008 as a subordinate office under the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting with the exclusive task of monitoring content of private satellite TV channels for violations of Programme Code and Advertising Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, 1995. At present, EMMC records and monitors around 600 TV channels and sends out reports on violations along with the recorded clips to the Scrutiny Committee, which examines and goes into the purported violations and forwards its findings to the Inter-Ministerial Committee and other bodies for further action.

Anurag Thakur said on Tuesday that the EMMC also undertakes “other related activities, including those mandated by the Election Commission of India”.

“During the FY 2022-23, expenditure of Rs 9.19 crore was incurred towards maintenance of equipment and salary of the personnel in EMMC. In accordance with the extant rules, action is taken for violation of the programme and advertisement codes by the TV channels, including by way of issuance of advisories, warnings, running of apology scrolls, off-air orders etc.”

The EMMC’s monitoring explains the slew of media advisories which are sent out by the government – most of which our media channels don’t like to talk of. 

Factly had earlier reported that thousands of violations of media laws by television channels were reported by the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre. It was revealed that the I&B ministry took action in only a handful of cases since 2013.

The Cable TV Network (Regulation) Act, 1995, regulates the transmission and re-transmission of TV channels over the Cable Networks. The authorised officers (the district magistrates, the additional district magistrates, the sub-divisional magistrates and the commissioners of police within their territorial jurisdiction) under the Act are empowered to take action whenever violations of the Cable Act, 1995 are brought to notice. Under the Cable TV Networks Rules, 1994, no cable operator is supposed to carry or include in his cable service any TV broadcast or channel, which has not been registered by the Central government for being viewed within the territory of India.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting grants permission to TV channels under two categories – ‘non-news and current affairs TV channels’ and ‘news and current affairs TV channels’ in accordance with the policy guidelines for uplinking or downlinking of satellite TV channels. All these companies are bound by the terms of permission, which also include security related conditions.

Meanwhile, the Modi government is set to bring in a new legislation to ostensibly replace the cable network Act.


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