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Indian news broadcasters slam curbs on TV channels

Monday 10 Oct 2011
India’s News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has criticised the new guidelines for television channels that the Cabinet has recently approved, India Today reports. 

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The guidelines state that the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry could refuse to renew the licence of a TV channel if it is found “guilty” of violating the terms and conditions – including violations of the programme and advertisement code – on five or more occasions.

“Firstly, there is no such requirement under the existing uplinking and downlinking guidelines for renewal of licence. Secondly, there certainly cannot be any power vested in the I&B Ministry to cancel or ‘refuse to renew’ a broadcaster’s licence on their subjective view that a television channel has violated the terms of the guidelines or the provisions of the Cable TV Act,” NBA Secretary-General Annie Joseph said.

The NBA, representing private TV news and current affairs channels, said the Ministry had issued show cause notices to broadcasters on various counts in the past.

The association described the proposed guidelines modification as a “direct assault” on the self-regulatory regime put in place by broadcasters, which had been encouraged and recognised by the Ministry.

The NBA expressed “deep anguish” at such amendments and urged the government to urgently review the decision.