I & B Ministry Notice to 121 TV Channels on Monitoring Content Raises Questions of Censorship

Is this a backdoor attempt at censorship?

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has sent notice to 121 permitted private satellite TV channels for not providing monitoring facilities/Technical Parameters to EMMC for the purpose of monitoring the content. The notice says that the channels are ‘Not Helping With Content Monitoring’. What does this mean?

“It has been informed by Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) that content acquisition of 121permitted private satellite TV channels of this Ministry is not being made possible in EMMC since their technical parameters are not available with EMMC,” the notice read.

Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) is a subordinate office under the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting tasked to monitor content of television channels and report on violations of the programme and advertising code.

The notice from the I&B ministry has also warned of action against these Broadcaster companies if complete set of monitoring facilities/Technical Parameters is not provided to EMMC for the monitoring purpose by May 30, 2018.

“All the concerned Broadcaster companies are required to provide complete set of monitoring facilities/Technical Parameters (i.e. professional IRD, Cam Module etc.) in respect of their permitted TV channel(s) to EMMC for the monitoring purpose by 30 May, 2018 positively, failing which action shall be initiated in accordance with these Guidelines,” the notice further read.

The notice also brought the broadcasters’ attention to clause 5.5 of the extant Uplinking Guidelines which provides that “the company/channel shall provide for the necessary monitoring facility, at its own cost, for monitoring of programmes or content by the representatives of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting or any other Government agency as and when so required.”

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