Cable TV networks, entertainment shows to be regulated

CHENNAI May 9. A Bill to regulate cable TV networks, entertainment shows on television screens through multi-system operations and videocassette recorders was introduced in the Assembly today. The 29-page Bill makes licence mandatory for these operations.

If the licensee is convicted under Sections of the Tamil Nadu Entertainments Tax Act, 1939, or the Cinematograph Act, 1952, the licence will be cancelled.

Penalty for violation and negligence will range from imprisonment for six months to five years with fine. Subscribers cannot be compelled to subscribe any channel.

``The licences were not renewed by cable television operators from 1996 onwards, whereby a situation was created in which anyone could operate a cable television network anywhere in the State without a licence. Further, a situation of monopoly of cable television trade was created and persons who had a cable television network were able to collect high monthly charges from the consumers, up to Rs.250 per month, but there was no revenue accrual to the Government. Further, there is no licensing system to regulate and control the multi-system operators who control cable TV operators in the exhibition of programmes,'' says the statement of objects and reasons.

The Tamil Nadu Exhibition on Television Screen through Multisystem Operations, Video Cassette Recorder and Cable Television Network (Regulation) Bill, 2002, was introduced in the Assembly by the Information Minister, K.K. Balasubramanian.

The DMK and the PMK opposed the Bill at the introduction stage itself. Once passed, it will take effect after a notification by the Government. Within four weeks a licence has to be obtained for continuing operations.

The Tamil Film Producers Council thanked the Chief Minister and welcomed the introduction of the Bill.

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