MIB acted against 15 TV channels since 2019
The ministry also blocked 56 YouTube-based news channels and their social media accounts for public access during 2021-2022
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has taken action against 15 TV channels since 2019 by prohibiting transmission for varying period of time. The ministry has also blocked 56 YouTube-based news channels and their social media accounts for public access during 2021-2022.
This information was provided by I&B minister Anurag Thakur in the Lok Sabha while responding to questions from MPs.
Responding to a question, Thakur said that the ministry grants permission for operating a satellite TV channel under the Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines, 2011. "The Ministry takes action against television channels for violation of the terms and conditions of the permission and for violation of the Programme Code. Since 2019, the Ministry has taken action of prohibiting transmission for varying time periods in respect of 15 TV channels for various violations under the Uplinking/Downlinking Guidelines and of the Programme Code," he added.
Responding to another question, the minister said that the MIB has issued directions for blocking of 56 YouTube-based news channels and their social media accounts for public access during 2021-2022 under the IT Rules 2021.
"The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 notified under the Information Technology Act, 2000 on 25th February 2021 inter-alia provide for blocking of content of digital news publishers of the nature referred to in Section 69 A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued directions for blocking of 56 YouTube based news channels and their social media accounts for public access during 2021-2022," he noted.
Thakur said that all private satellite TV channels granted permission by the ministry under the Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines, 2011 are required to adhere to the terms and conditions of such permission including adherence to the Programme Code and Advertisement Code and other provisions laid down under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.
He added that the grant of permission to a satellite TV channel under the Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines is subject to security clearance by the Ministry of Home Affairs as per the procedure laid down by it. "The Government follows the due process of law and the laid down procedure before taking a decision to suspend/prohibit a channel. Grievances of channels relating to Uplinking/Downlinking Guidelines are addressed by the Ministry."
On the question of blocking content on the internet, Thakur said that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) is empowered to issue directions for blocking of content for violation of Section 69 A of Information Technology Act, 2000. The number of URLs, consisting of web pages, websites, pages on social media accounts, etc., blocked by MeiTY under these provisions during the period 2014-2021 is 25,368, he stated.
Answering a query about the licence cancellation of Malayalam news channel MediaOne, he said, "The Government has followed the due process of law and the laid down procedure before taking a decision regarding cancellation of permission to TV news channel ‘Media One’. The matter is sub-judice before the Supreme Court."
All programmes telecast on private satellite TV channels are regulated in terms of the Programme Code prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the rules framed thereunder. The Programme Code contains a wide range of parameters to regulate content on TV channels.
While responding to a question about the steps taken by the government to regulate content on TV news channels, he said, "The Programme Code has specific provisions that no programme should be carried in the cable service which offends against good taste or decency or which is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote anti-national attitudes, etc."
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