NEW DELHI: Even as the Government admitted under the Right to Information Act to issuing a total of 206 notices to different television channels for telecast of objectionable material between October 2004 and March 2007, information placed on the site of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry as on 21 January this year lists only 65 cases.
This figure also contrasts glaringly with Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi’s statement to Parliament in March last year that a total of 166 notices were issued during 2006-07 for violation of the Programme and Advertising Codes at the instance of an Inter-ministerial Committee set up under Section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995.
The information given to a journalist under the Right to Information Act in May last year had revealed that there had been very few cases where permission for uplinking was withdrawn or the channels were banned, and the matters have been closed in most cases after issuance of warning, receiving apologies, or after they were directed to run scrolls to the effect that they had been warned by the Ministry.
The list on the PIB website contains only 15 cases (two related to the same programme on the same channel) relating to the calendar year 2007 and none relating to January 2008. However, all channels had recently been asked to withdraw an advertisement that indirectly highlighted the burden caused by a girl child.
Of the cases in 2007, the most glaring case is the one relating to the banning of ‘Janmat’ TV (now Live India ) channel for telecast of a false sting operation on school teacher Uma Khurana from the midnight of 20 September which was revoked from midnight of 12 October.
Two relate to the advertisements of the India-West Indies series where warnings were issued to Neo Sports and Star Plus in April last. Four relate to the coverage relating to the self-immolation by a person in Patiala. While advisories were issued to the Headlines Today, Aaj Tak, and Zee News, a warning was issued to Sahara Samay.
In a similar case of telecast of attempted suicide by mentally challenged persons in Varanasi in mid-November last, IBN7 had been issued an advisory in December.
The CNN IBN was issued an advisory and then a warning in July last for showing wrong map of India in a news item relating to the Samjhouta Express Tragedy in March last year.
All channels had in July last been asked not to telecast advertisements of
‘Lux Cozy Underwear’ and ‘Amul Macho Underwear’.
The IBN7 was asked in November to run an apology scroll for three days for telecast earlier in the year of the programme ‘Kiss Par Rok Nahi’.
A similar punishment was meted out to Zee News for telecast of the programme ‘Jumma Chumma De De’.
India TV was issued an advisory in December in relation to a programme telecast in October titled ‘India Bole’.
There was only one instance of an advisory to a general entertainment channel, when Star Plus was issued an advisory in July for an episode in mid-March of the teleserial ‘Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’.