New Delhi: Banned by the Government for broadcasting “obscene” programmes, entertainment channel AXN – part of the Sony Entertainment channels bouquet – on Tuesday issued a formal apology to the Government of India for its alleged violations of Indian content restrictions.
In a statement, AXN has agreed to put in place a significantly improved and more effective system of self-regulation in order to ensure that programs and advertisements telecast do not create further problems in the future.
The Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi last Friday issued a statement saying the channel will not be telecast throughout the country till March 15, for broadcasting an “indecent” programme called World's Sexiest Advertisements.
Using the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry prohibited the channel’s transmission and retransmission for telecasting the programme which it said was against decency and outraged public morality.
Dasmunsi said the ban would be applicable on Direct to Home and Conditional Access Service. "What they have telecast is condemnable and deserves action," he said.
Sony Entertainment, which distributes the channel in the country, has been told about the government’s decision.
A programme schedule on the channel’s described the show as a “compilation of the best and the raunchiest television ads from the international arena”. The schedule said the ads were “clever, witty and highly amusing” and proved that “sex sells”.
The Government banned Fashion TV in February 2002 for vulgarity but the decision was reversed a week later when the channel promised to follow a code of conduct.
What was the need?
The decision left TV industry watchers agog given that television channels with reality shows and other adult content seem to push the envelope daily, when it comes to grabbing eyeballs.
Says MD Indian Television.com, Thomas Abraham, "What is the reason for the ban? Is it because it's a provocative title? It's a hamhanded way of going about it, because although it says sexiest, it doesn't have to do anything with sex."
Previously too, the I&B Ministry banned the broadcast of films with an A certificate - a move which raised the issue of self-regulation within the industry.