The Information and Broadcasting ministry will soon issue a warning to television channels against airing programmes that promote superstition and occult practices.
Shows on occult and superstition on Hindi and vernacular language channels are said to garner high television ratings.
The viewership is believed to be high among people in the lower strata of society as also in rural India, though several social action groups are opposed to such programmes.
The government had planned to ban such programmes under a proposed content code, but the move failed to take off in the wake of resistance from the television industry.
As there are no specific guidelines for such programmes, the I&B ministry has asked an inter-ministerial committee to look into the whole matter. Last week, the committee met decided to issue the warning.
Officials in ministries across the board — from home affairs to women and child development, social justice and empowerment as well as health — are unanimous that channels need to be warned as these programmes were having an adverse impact on society.
It was felt that “aggressively” showing such programmes was promoting irrationality.
After the committee's decision to issue the ban notice, the I&B ministry drew up a list of channels which need to be warned. “It would be a general warning to deter (them) from showing such shows,” a ministry official said.
I&B minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi had earlier hauled up news channels for showing special programmes allegedly propagating superstition and occult practices.
However, news broadcasters said such programmes were being shown only to create awareness among viewers against such ills.
So far, the ministry has showcaused only a couple of channels on specific programmes like Kal Kapal Mahakaal on Zee News.