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No laws would be imposed on broadcasters: Soni

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - 22:07

New Delhi: Allaying fears of broadcasters
over content regulation, the Central government today said any
regulatory mechanism would be formed only after consultations
with stakeholders and the industry`s larger interests will be
taken into consideration.

"I don`t see why broadcasters should have apprehensions
about content regulation. I would like to categorically say
that the government does not want to put draconian laws on
electronic media. However, some ground rules are needed. But
no laws would be imposed on broadcasters," Union Minister for
Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni said.

Our consultations are already on with broadcasters on
what kind of regulatory authority is required. It will be
formed through consensus and will also look at broader issues
concerning them like taxation etc," Soni said here addressing
a seminar of broadcasters.

The talks with stakeholders to evolve a roadmap for
such kind of a mechanism are not taking place with any
pre-conceived notion and a positive outcome is expected from
them, she added.

The minister said with so many channels operating
in the country, it is difficult to monitor all of them,
therefore the proposed authority will also measure impact of
these channels.

‘Challenge is bringing DD at par with pvt news channels’

With national broadcaster
Doordarshan completing its 50th year of existence next month,
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni today
said it was a "challenge" to bring it at par with other
private television channels.

"Biggest challenge before the ministry today is to
bring DD at par with other channels. DD has a big reach,
maximum number of transmitters, even along border areas and
funding is also not a problem for it," Soni said.

Though it has to play its mandated role (of a national
broadcaster), the Prasar Bharati board will have to re-look and
accept this challenge," she added.

She however, added as far as serious news viewing is
concerned, people still prefer watching DD News.

Soni also said the government will announce "some
kind of a policy on digitisation by the end of this year".

The minister said that digitisation was needed for
protecting archives of Indian films, documentaries and
television programmes.

On the 100-day agenda of her ministry, Soni said
she was apprised of the challenges facing the broadcasting
industry and therefore she believed in setting her own time
frames to address these issues, as these cannot be tied
down to specific timelines.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - 22:07
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