The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to set up a statutory mechanism to deal with citizens’ complaints against TV and radio programmes.
A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to use the power under section 22 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act and set up a body to deal with complaints against television and radio channels.
This order was passed on a petition filed by NGO ‘Common Cause’ that complained about the missing independent regulatory body to monitor programme content on more than 800 TV channels and 250 radio stations in the country, reports the Times of India.
The court considered the submission of senior advocate Yashank P Adhyaru, appearing for the Centre, that there has been mechanism to deal with such cases.
“The Union of India said that there is a mechanism. We, however, feel that it needs adequate publicity so as to enable common public to seek redressal of grievance,” the court said.
Appearing for News Broadcasters Association and Indian Broadcasters Federation, senior advocates Anoop Bhambani and K V Vishwanath said that the existing self regulating regime is working satisfactorily and giving the regulatory mechanism to government could violate the right to freedom of speech and expression that guarantees independence of media.
The bench disposed of the petition, leaving it to the Centre to set up a complaint redressal mechanism.