The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) in its Board of Directors meeting held on May 2, 2011 at Delhi unanimously approved a “Self Regulatory Guidelines and Complaints Redressal Mechanism” for all Non News channels, including general entertainment, children, special interest channels.
A press note from the association informed, "the redressal mechanism will be a two tier process: providing a viewer an opportunity to complain first at the Broadcaster/ Channel level, and in the event of no response or an unsatisfactory response from the Broadcaster/ Channel to complain, to the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (“BCCC”) at the industry level, which will have thirteen members. Justice A. P. Shah former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court is the Chairperson of the BCCC. The other members of BCCC will include, four non-broadcaster Members, four Members from National level Statutory Commissions and four Broadcaster Members."
IBF pointed out that "it has adopted, with suitable modifications, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Self Regulation Guidelines for Broadcasting Sector draft version of 2008, which has been formulated after a consultative process by over 40 stakeholders from across the Government, civil society, NGOs and members of the broadcast industry."
The guidelines will be applicable to programming that appear on all distribution platforms including cable and satellite, direct-to-home (DTH), IPTV, headend-n-the-sky (HITS), mobile, or any platform that exists now or will be created in the future. Meanwhile, the body is yet to be recognised at an industry level by the I&B Ministry. A delegation of IBF members are expected to shortly meet the I&B Minister to inform her about the implementation of the Self Regulatory Guidelines and Complaints Redressal Mechanism.
The note further stated, "In view of the sensitivities involved in the non-News content segment and after due consideration of the observations made by various judicial forums as well as to bring non-IBF members within the ambit of Self Regulation, IBF recommends that the Self-regulatory Content Guidelines be notified immediately for all Non-News channels under the Cable Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 replacing the present Programme Code. The notification of Self-regulatory Content Code should be delinked from the Broadcast Bill, in the interest of all the stakeholders of the Broadcasting Sector especially the viewer."
"With the introduction of these Self Regulatory Guidelines and Compliance Redressal Mechanism, and its adherence by all members of the IBF, the vast majority of all channels licensed by the Government of India will comply. However, the IBF notes with great concern that the proliferation of unregulated content provided by Local Cable Operators masquerading as Channels showing movies and other programmes will not be regulated by these Guidelines. In most cases, the movies shown are pirated and uncensored. These operators also put their scrolls on their channel and run their own advertisements. Since the content of such channels cannot be monitored by the IBF, the Government must immediately institute a licensing system for continued operation of these channels to avoid any viewer complaints to the IBF in this regard," the note added.