TV news to be shackled
TV news channels guilty of infringing on people’s privacy could soon be made answerable to a broadcast regulator. This means channels may have to explain the larger public interest behind showing sting operations, and even family disputes.
This is among the conditions included in the final draft of the content code that will be part of the Broadcast Regulation Bill, which is likely to be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament. The content code says sting operations will be allowed only if the larger public interest is proven. Senior editors would be responsible for any lapse in stings, said an I&B ministry official. The ministry says there has been lot of anguish over the content shown on news channels, especially the ones in regional languages.
The ministry has listed the don’ts for news channels in a new chapter on news and current affairs in the content code. The chapter was inserted after news channels protested against a uniform code for all channels.
The code prohibits the broadcasting of a recorded conversation without seeking permission of the person being interviewed. It says news items that can jeopardise an investigation or the judicial process should not be shown, unless they are of the utmost public concern. Certain restrictions on news items on occult and superstition have also been included. The content code will be discussed with representatives of news channel owners on Friday. On Monday, the Centre will hold a discussion on the entire code with the TV industry.