Govt has no intention to muzzle media: Soni

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 22:18

New Delhi: Information and Broadcasting
Minister Ambika Soni is understood to have assured news
broadcasters that Government had no intention to "muzzle" the
media in the wake of the outrage sparked by its recent
decision to amend licence rules for TV channels.

Soni had a meeting with the representatives of the News
Broadcasters Association(NBA) yesterday in a bid to clear
misgivings on the license rule issue.
The Minister made it clear their intention was not to
"muzzle" the media by amending the license rules but to help
them be responsible players in delivery of content, sources in
I&B Ministry said today.

Soni told the Association members that the task of
regulation has been already left to the NBA.

The NBA, however, refused to comment about the meeting
when contacted.

The broadcasters had strongly objected to the Union
Cabinet`s decision which said "renewal of the permission for
TV channels will be considered for a period of 10 years at a
time subject to the condition that the channel should not have
been found guilty of violating the terms and conditions of
permission including violations of the Programme and
Advertisement Code on 5 occasions or more."

Sources said the TRAI recommendations in this regard had
already been uploaded in their website since February this
Soni had on Monday said "there should be no fear (among
broadcasters). It is only a factor to be considered after 10

Soni noted that the government has left it to the
broadcasters, through the National Broadcasters` Association
(NBA) and Broadcast Editors` Association (BEA), to regulate TV
channels themselves.

The BEA has reacted sharply to the cabinet decision,
alleging it was an attempt to "control" the independent media
and demanded withdrawal of the new regulations.

According to sources, out of the 800-odd channels in the
country, only about 250 of them are members of the
broadcasting bodies.


First Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 22:18

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