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I&B Ministry notifies Amended Cable TV Rules; TRAI Launches Channel Selector Portal

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I&B Ministry amends Cable TV RulesThe Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B Ministry) notified the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021 (CTN ‘Amendment’ Rules 2021).

It provides a  statutory mechanism for redressal of grievances/complaints of citizens related to content broadcast by television channels, in accordance with the provisions of the Cable Television Network Act, 1995.

  • The CTN (Amendment Rules 2021) amends the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994.
  • Self-regulating bodies of the TV Channels will be recognized by the Government, after registration with the Central Government.
  • Currently there are over 900 television channels in India which have been granted permission by the I&B Ministry. They comply with the ‘Programming & Advertising Code’ laid down under the Cable Television Network Rules.

Existing Institutions for Grievance Redressal

i.There is an institutional mechanism by way of an Inter-Ministerial Committee to address grievances of citizens related to violation of programme/advertising codes.

ii.Several broadcasters have developed their internal self-regulatory mechanism for addressing grievances.

iii.However, the Supreme Court in its order in the “Common Cause Vs Union of India & Others” case had advised the Central Government to frame appropriate rules to formalize the complaint redressal mechanism.

iv.At present there are over 900 televisions Channels granted permission by the Expected Outcomes

  • The amended rules will bring in transparency and benefit the citizens.
  • It paves the way for a strong institutional system which places accountability and responsibility on the broadcasters and their self-regulating bodies.

TRAI Launches Channel Selector Portal

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) launched a TV Channel Selector Web Portal similar to the TV Channel Selector App released for smartphones in the year 2020 by TRAI.

  • The portal was launched to help consumers who don’t own a smartphone or wish to use web browsers.

Features of the Portal

i.The portal has several features similar to the app. Using it consumers can,

  • Check/modify their subscription, view all channels and bouquets provided by DTH (Direct-to-Home) and cable operators, check real-time status of subscription request, add channels in applicable NCF (network capacity fee) and download and print current subscription.
  • It will help them to get optimised solutions and the best combination of channels at the same or less price.
  • Users can also provide ‘Feedback’ using the option available on the issue/feedback menu on the portal.

ii.Both the TV Channel Selector app and portal are presently functional with 16 DTH and cable operators.

iii.In March 2017, TRAI notified the New Regulatory Framework for Broadcasting and Cable services, it came into effect in December 2018. It mandates consumer choice and enables subscribers to select television channels they want to watch.

Recent Related News:

i.On November 11, 2020, Government of India issued an order to bring digital or online Media, films and audio-visual programmes, under the Ministry of I&B. To accomplish this it amended the  Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961.

ii.On November 4, 2020 The Ministry of I&B constituted a 4 member committee to review “Guidelines on Television Rating Agencies in India” notified by the ministry in 2014. The committee is headed by Shashi S. Vempati, CEO(Chief Executive Officer) of Prasar Bharti.

About Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B Ministry)
Union Minister – Prakash Javadekar (Rajya Sabha – Maharashtra)

About Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

Chairman – P. D. Vaghela
Headquarters – New Delhi