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Mechanism soon to monitor content on television

New Delhi: Faced with rising number of complaints of vulgarity on television shows, Government today said it would soon constitute a council headed by a retired judge with representation from civil society to regulate such content.

"We are right on the threshold of announcing a self-regulatory mechanism to monitor content on television," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

This mechanism will take up complaints from the civil society regarding any objectionable content on private television channels, she said.

Soni said the ministry would step in only when the action of the mechanism was not satisfactory.

The minister was responding to concerns voiced by NDA convenor Sharad Yadav and N Chaluvaraya Swamy (Cong) on reality shows like `Big Boss` and demanded strengthening of censorship for such content.

Soni made it clear that there was no censor board for television content, which is being regulated by the Cable Regulatory Act with some uplinking and downlinking criteria for the broadcasters.

The ministry would not like to do anything which is later on struck down by the courts, she said citing an example of change in timing of a TV show by the ministry which was turned down by the High Court.

Pointing out to concerns of broadcasters of high carriage fee, Soni said the ministry, along with TRAI, was in the process of digitalisation of cable television across the country. On completion of this exercise, the complaint of high carriage fees would be resolved, she said.

Soni said enough steps are being taken to strengthen DD network in border areas like the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir to ensure that signals of foreign broadcasters do not dominate the region.

She said the ministry had facilities to record programmes of 300 television channels as part of measures to monitor content.

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