Free Press Journal

SC issues notice to Centre on regulation of broadcast media25


New Delhi: The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre on a PIL seeking establishment of an independent regulatory authority to govern broadcast media.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam also sought response from News Broadcasters Association, Association of Radio Operators for India and Advertising Standards Council of India.

The court passed the order on a PIL filed by NGO Mediawatch India alleging that the regulatory body is needed as the Centre has failed on the content regulation front of the broadcast media.

“For the last one and a half decades, the Ministry of I&B is perpetuating virtual anarchy in the realm of broadcast media regulation. Especially on the content regulation front, its broadcaster-appeasing and wait-and-watch policies marked by sheer ad hocism and indifference to viewers’ interests are adversely affecting the rights of millions of broadcast media consumers,” the petition claimed.

“The Ministry as content regulator had failed completely in protecting the interests and basic rights of the audience. It has not constituted sufficient infrastructure and resources to ensure quick decision-making against offending channels and also not imposing deterrent penalties as provided by law,” it said.

The bench, after a brief hearing, agreed to hear the PIL and tagged it with other similar petition pending in the apex court.

The Supreme Court had on November 29 asked ministries of Information and Broadcasting, Law and Justice and Communications & Information Technology and others including Press Council of India (PCI) to respond to a PIL seeking framing of guidelines to regulate contents of television channels.

It had passed order on a PIL filed by Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, a registered public charitable trust.