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Centre banned 5 broadcasters, blocked 84 online news channels and 23 websites in 2022: Anurag Thakur

The central government has blocked 84 online news channels and 23 news websites this year so far, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said on Thursday.

Replying to MP V Sivadasan in Rajya Sabha, Anurag Thakur said that last year, 22 news channels were temporarily suspended and 23 channels were suspended for violation of the laid-out Cable Television Networks Rules.

This year, Anurag Thakur said the ministry has temporarily withdrawn the licenses of five television channels and withdrawn the licenses of six channels for non-compliance with the Policy Guidelines or the Programme and Advertisement Code under Cable Television Networks Rules in 2022.

In 2020, seven news channels were temporarily suspended and 12 channels were suspended for violation of the rules. In 2019, six channels were temporarily suspended and 10 channels were suspended for the same reason.

Thakur said the central government amended the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 on June 17, 2021, to provide for a statutory mechanism for the redressal of grievances/complaints for violation of the Programme Code and Advertising Code of broadcast by television channels.

The rules provide for a three-level complaint redressal mechanism: Level I by the broadcasters, Level II by the self-regulating bodies of the broadcasters, and Level III by the oversight mechanism of the central government.

In accordance with the provisions made under Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021, the central government constituted an Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC), chaired by the Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Defence, and representatives of such other Ministries and Organisations, including experts, as the central government may decide.

An Inter-Departmental Committee examines complaints or grievances received by it and makes recommendations to the central government.

The committee’s role is to advise, warn, censure, admonish or reprimand the broadcaster; or require an apology from the broadcaster, or require the broadcaster to include a warning card or a disclaimer; or require the such broadcaster to delete or modify the content or take the channel or a programme off-air for a specified time period where it is satisfied that such action is warranted, for reasons to be recorded in writing.

The central government takes decisions based on the IDC recommendations.

Thus, the government has an institutional mechanism for taking action in respect of private satellite TV channels which are found to violate the Programme Code and Advertising Code. India Today

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