Saturday, May 25, 2013

Obscene content: Delhi High Court OK's govt ban on TV channe

lDelhi High Court has upheld the Centre's decision to ban for 10 days transmission of an entertainment channel for airing 'obscene' dialogues and 'vulgar' words besides being derogatory to women. Accepting the recommendation of Inter Ministerial Council (IMC), the I&B Ministry on May 17 had asked Comedy Central to go off air from today till June 4 for telecasting "offensive" words in 'Stand Up Club' and 'Popcorn' programmes on May 26 and July 4 last year. Dismissing a plea of Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd against the government decision, Justice V K Jain said the penalty prohibiting the telecast of the channel for ten days cannot be termed as "excessive, harsh or unreasonable." "Considering that the penalty could be prohibition of telecast up to 30 days for first violation and up to 90 days in case of second violation, the penalty imposed upon the channel cannot be said to be excessive or unreasonable. "Even if one were to exclude the second violation i.e. telecast of the programme 'Popcorn' from consideration, the penalty, prohibiting the telecast for ten days for the first violation alone cannot be said to be excessive, harsh or unreasonable," the court said referring to 2011 Policy Guidelines for up-linking of television channels from India. A perusal of the impugned order would show that CD recording of the offending programmes were previewed by IMC which found it to be very offensive, crossing all limitations of good taste and decency, the court said. On May 17, the Ministry had prohibited transmission or retransmission of the channel for 10 days on any platform throughout India with effect from 00:01 hours on May 25 till 00:01 hours on June 4. The court accepted Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok's argument that under Section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, the government, in the interest of public order, decency or morality, can regulate or prohibit the transmission or retransmission of any channel or programme. It rejected the channel's argument that the decision is discriminatory as the government had not consulted the Broadcasting Consumers Complaint Committee (BCCC) before imposition of the penalty. Countering the argument, the senior law officer had argued that the consultation with BCCC not being a statutory requirement, the failure to acknowledge any such consultation would not vitiate the order passed by the government under the Act.

No comments:

Post a Comment