MEANING OF MEDIA LAWS AND ETHICS
Media law is the body of law that regulates the production and use of media and keeps a check on what can be published and broadcasted. Media law is applied to variety of media types, including broadcast television, internet, print media, film, music, advertising etc.
Media ethics deals with ethical principles and standards of media. Media ethics promotes and protects values like universal respect for life and the rule of law and legality. Media ethics deal with the ethical questions about how media should present it’s content.
MEDIA LAWS AND ACTS- AN OVERVIEW
There are many laws and regulations that control the performance of media industry in India. Media having a powerful influence on the society and it’s people is regulated by various legislations.
The freedom of mass media is derived indirectly from Article 19(1) (a) of the Indian Constitution. Article 19 of the Indian Constitution deals with right to freedom and it grants certain rights of individual freedom of speech and expression etc.
LIST OF FEW ACTS AND RULES APPLICABLE TO THE MEDIA INDUSTRY IN INDIA
- The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867
- Registration of Newspapers (Central) Rules, 1956
- The Press Council Act, 1978
- The Press Council Rules, 1979
- The Newspaper (Prices and Pages) Act, 1956
- The Right to Information Act, 2005
- The Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005
- The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Rules, 1982
- Copyright Act, 1957
- The Dramatic Performances Act, 1876 (Relevant Provisions)
- The Cinematograph Act, 1952
- The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885
- The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Relevant Provisions)
- The Information Technology (Certifying Authorities) Rules, 2000
LAWS APPLICABLE FOR BROADCASTING
The list of few legislations applicable for cable network-
- Cable Television Networks Regulation Act,1995
- Cable Television Network Rules,1994
Guidelines and policies applicable for Broadcasting-
- Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) Guidelines
- Direct to Home (DTH) service guidelines
- Content regulation on Private TV channels
- Guidelines for providing Headed-in- the -sky (HITS) broadcasting service in India
- Certification of film songs, film promos etc. for cable service
The Cable Television Networks Regulation Act,1995
The purpose of this Act was to introduce regulatory certainty to the cable market that emerged in the 1990s. The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act,1995 regulates the operations of cable television networks in the country and brings uniformity in their operations, ensures optimal exploitation of the technology.
Section 3 of the Act states that it is mandatory that a cable television network can be operated only by registered cable operator.
PRASAR BHARATI (Broadcasting Corporation of India)Act,1990
The Act provides for formation of an autonomous broadcasting corporation that will manage Doordharshan and AIR.
The primary responsibility of the Broadcasting Corporation was to ‘organize and conduct public broadcasting services to inform, educate and entertain the public’.
The functions of the corporation were:
- Upholding the unity and integrity of the country and the values enshrined in the Indian constitution.
- Paying attention to the fields of education and spread of literacy, agriculture, environment, health and family welfare and science and technology.
- Providing adequate coverage to the diverse cultures and languages of the various regions of the country by broadcasting appropriate programmes.
- Providing appropriate programmes keeping in view the special needs of the youth.
- Providing suitable programmes keeping in view the special needs of the minorities and tribal communities.
LAWS APPLICABLE FOR FILMS
Legislations applicable for films-
- The Cinematograph Act, 1952
- The Cinematograph (Certification) Rules,1983
Guidelines and policies applicable for films-
- Policy for import of cinematograph films and other films
- Guidelines to certify films (CBFC)
- Policy for certification of films for Film festivals
The Cinematograph Act,1952 regulates and makes provisions for certification of cinematographed films for exhibition through cinematograph. Under this Act, the Board of Film censor (i.e., Central Board of Film Certification) has the power to examine every film and sanction, approve or disapprove it for unrestricted exhibition or exhibition restricted to adults.
The Cine-workers and Cinema Theatre workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1981 and the Cine-workers and Cinema Theatre workers (Regulation of Employment) Rules,1984.
The Cine-workers and Cinema Theatre workers (Regulation of Employment) Act,1981 regulates the conditions of employment of certain cine-workers and cinema theatre workers.
Media ethics are important to preserve and promote the trust of the people and to maintain credibility.
The media industry should voluntarily accept the code of ethics covering the following areas of conduct:
- Honesty and fairness
- Respect for privacy
- Duty not to falsify pictures or use them in misleading fashion
- Duty to provide opportunity to reply to critical opinions as well as to factual reports
- Duty to ensure reality of objectivity
- Duty to differentiate between facts and opinion
- Duty to protect the rights of the people
- Duty to avoid discrimination or hatred on grounds of race, religion, gender.
CHALLENGES FACED BY THE INDIAN MEDIA INDUSTRY
- Compliance with laws and regulations
It is difficult for the media industry to obey and comply with all the rules and regulations and to act in accordance with the laws applicable to them. Legal compliance is important as it prevents and keeps an organisation away from damages and lawsuits. Since, the laws are evolving, it becomes difficult for an organisation to identify them.
- Challenges with respect to taxation
Each business has to mandatorily pay taxes. It is very important for the media industry to grow safely without becoming a target to the tax structure. Hence, it is important that the media industry has a sound section to manage the taxes.
- Threat to media channels
Social media accounts are an important asset of the media industry, but attacks such as hacking of social media accounts, phishing, frauds etc., have become common. Hackers easily hack into social media accounts and spread false information which can result in sentiments of lots of people getting hurt and attract bad names to media houses.
- Copyright and piracy issues
People sometimes use the content available on online platforms for their own use and benefit; pirate and spoof the same data to make it look like their own new original creation and upload it to earn revenue.
- Bullying and harassment at workplace
The media industry needs to work on creating a safe, respectful environment. Bullying, or insulting behaviour, abusing or misusing of power, intentional targeting is very prevalent. Harassment- mental, physical and visual is very frequent in the media industry.
- Paid news
Paid news is an unethical media law practice. In paid news the articles that are published under the print and electronic media are in favour of the institutions that have paid for it. It deceives the citizens by hiding the actual and true facts of the case.
It is therefore important for the media industry to function effectively and efficiently; the media should operate within a well-defined code of ethics. The media industry must take conscious efforts towards its responsibilities to the public. They should ensure building public trust and confidence and should follow laws and ethics to maintain it’s reliability.
THE CINEMATOGRAPH ACT, 1952
MEDIA AND ETHICS by S.K. AGGARWAL
MEDIA LAW AND ETHICS by NEELAMALAR, M.
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