Demystifying the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021

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On June 17, 2021, the Ministry of data and Broadcasting notified the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021.

What are these Rules? How are they similar/ dissimilar from the buyer Protection Act, 2019 which came into effect on July 20, 2020? Advocate Aazmeen Kasad demystifies and provides an in-depth understanding of what these rules are and what are the various structures proposed by the govt towards regulating content on the tv media.

In continuation with its reforms, the Ministry of data and Broadcasting notified the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021 on June 17, 2021, adding new provisions to the prevailing Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

Principally, the amendment serves to make a 3-tiered structure for ensuring observance and adherence to the Programme Code and therefore the Advertising Code by the broadcaster and to deal with the grievance or handling any sort of complaints received on the content of any program or advertisement of any channel.

As the words utilized in the principles specify ‘Advertisement of any channel’ and not ‘Advertisement on any channel’, should an equivalent be interpreted to mean that these Rules relate only to advertisements by channels that pertain to their channel and/or program content? Or should the interpretation be a broader one to incorporate advertisements by all advertisers? A clarification during this behalf would be advisable by the Hon’ble Ministry to avoid any anomaly from arising.

Vide the newly inserted Rule 16, a person aggrieved by the content of a program of a channel under the very fact that it’s not in conformity with the Programme Code or the Advertising Code is provided a window to file a complaint in writing with the Broadcaster, who is remitted to get and issue an acknowledgment to the complainant for his information and record, within the day of the complaint being filed.

The complaint is required to be addressed by the provisions of the Rule, i.e.

  • The broadcaster shall eliminate the complaint and inform the complainant of its decision within fifteen days of receipt of such complaint;
  • If the choice of the broadcaster isn’t communicated to the complainant within the stipulated period of fifteen days, or if the complainant isn’t satisfied with the choice of the broadcaster, he may prefer an appeal to the self-regulating body of which such broadcaster may be a member, within fifteen days therefrom;
  • The self-regulating body shall eliminate the appeal within sixty days of receipt of the appeal and convey its decision within the sort of guidance or advisory to the broadcaster, and inform the complainant of such decision within fifteen days;
  • Where the complainant isn’t satisfied with the choice of the self-regulating body, he may, within fifteen days of such decision, prefer an appeal to the Central Government for its consideration under the Oversight Mechanism.

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