The new broadcast regulations of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) will not only cover television content but also films.
A committee headed by I&B secretary SK Arora will soon submit the amended draft rules for certification of films under the Cinematograph Act, 1952. "The guidelines need a change as they do not cover all aspects film and television programmes," a ministry official said.
With the new guidelines, the ministry plans to regulate depictions of terrorism, violence, armed forces, religion, communal issues and obscenity in the movies. "The codes for movies and television will be similar as both are powerful broadcast media," said an official.
The new broad-based code for movies will be enforced by the censor board while certifying the movies. "We will seek opinion of the industry on the code before enforcing it as it should be acceptable to all," a ministry official said.
While the film code will take some time, the television content code is almost ready. The code will lay down categories for certification of television programmes, depending on which timings for the programmes will be fixed. For example, crime-related programmes can be beamed only after 10 pm and semi-adult programmes after midnight. As the new code has specific timings for programmes, the movies will have to be certified to fit the television code.
Among several options being considered to implement the code, one is appointment of internal content auditors in broadcast companies to ensure compliance. The second option is to have a body on the lines of Advertising Standards Council of India to look into the complaints. Another option is to let the Press Council of India look into complaints. However, the punitive powers will remain with the proposed Broadcasting Regulatory Authority of India for both television and movies.
For television, the ministry has already got the monitoring committees constituted at the district level, with which the consumers can file complaints. These committees can instruct the district administration to take action against the cable operator or the broadcaster at the local level. The new broadcast bill will also authorise the committees to recommend action against the channel to the regulatory authority.