New Delhi, Nov. 21: The controversial draft broadcast bill carries a clause compelling private TV channels to carry public service messages. But even before the bill becomes law, the government is trying some gentle persuasion to get the channels to do their bit.
Information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi today met a group of senior TV executives to discuss the issue.
TV spots warning viewers of dengue symptoms, alerting them that unattended bags on buses could be bombs, or promoting use of condoms fall in the category of public service messages. Showing such messages comes naturally to Doordarshan, but the government feels private channels need some prodding.
At the meeting, the participants said they were already showing such messages. The minister asked them to do so “more actively, if possible”, a participant said.
The proposed bill was not discussed at the meeting, which lasted a little over half an hour. But if the current draft is adopted, private channels would be legally bound to fulfil “public service broadcasting obligations”.
The government could also ask the channels to set aside up to 10 per cent of their total programmes in a week for “socially relevant” content.