NEW DELHI: The Government on Friday came out with a content code including “self-regulation guidelines for broadcasting sector” which mandates news channels to follow certain ‘dos and don’ts’ while carrying out sting operations to avoid ‘unwarranted’ infringement of privacy.

“Channels must not use material relating to person’s personal or private affairs or which invades an individual’s privacy unless there is an identifiable larger public interest reason for the material to be broadcast,” according to the guidelines. It also asked channels to ensure ‘senior editorial control’ for selecting material on issues relating to privacy and intrusion into public affairs. Besides, the guidelines suggested appointment of one or more Content Auditors by the channels as part of its internal regulatory mechanism. It also categorised programmes for viewing in three segments — ‘U’ and ‘S’, ‘U/A’ and ‘A’. The first category programmes could be viewed at all time and in every age group, while the second one would be viewed by adults or minors above the age of 12 years under parental guidance between 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Category ‘A’ programmes are suitable for restricted viewing only by adults above 18. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry unveiled the code after a meeting with broadcasters on Friday, ahead of plans by the Government to bring the Broadcast Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The content code and the guidelines have come in the backdrop of growing concerns over the depiction of sex and violence as also the manner in which sting operations were being carried out by news channels. — PTI