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State govt wants to censor TV channels

india Updated: Jun 13, 2009 01:35 IST
Sayli Udas-Mankikar
Sayli Udas-Mankikar
Hindustan Times
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The Maharashtra government is planning to form a censor board-like panel to preview and certify all types of television programmes.

The announcement was made by Minister of State for Cultural Affairs Rana Padmasinh Patil in a debate initiated by Shiv Sena legislator Neelam Gorhe, who demanded stringent laws to curb the depiction of crime and vulgarity on TV.

Patil, son of arrested NCP leader Padmasinh Patil, said the panel would ensure objectionable programmes are not telecast.

“We will call for a meeting to dwell on what role the authority can play and if it could be similar to that of the central censor board,” Patil said in the State Legislative Council on Friday.

If this happens, all television programmes — including soap operas, reality shows and crime programmes on news channels — will be previewed. The proposed panel will determine the “level of decency”.

“The authority will function like a pre-viewing and censorship wing, which will keep a watch on TV channels. It does not intend to be a moral police but will want channels to function within limits of decency,” said Patil, who did not specify when this censor board would be formed.

Broadcasting comes under the Centre’s jurisdiction and powers to curb programmes lie with the central censorship board. So, the state plans to use provisions of the Cable TV Networks Act 1995, under which it can prohibit transmission of certain channels through cable. In 2005, the Act was used by the central board to stop the transmission of AXN channel.