Cable TV

MSO says Cable TV amendments not enough

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The changes approved by the Cabinet in the Cable TV Act, 1995 are welcome said Ashok Mansukhani, who once headed MSO InCable. "The focus is on the provider of the content, not on cable TV operators as being culpable for any questionable content," says Mansukhani. "Earlier, a couple of cases had been filed against Star Movies where we were also named as infringers of the law. The amendment forcing broadcasters to adhere to the programming and ad code puts the onus on them."

According to him, the amendments, serve to bring even pay TV channels under the DD programming code. "There is an equalisation between pay TV and free to air TV channels. Earlier on, programmers used to take refuge under the statement that they were pay channels."

He, however, expressed doubt about the fact that the government had left policing of the amendments in the hands of local authorities. "What is all right in Mumbai may be repulsive in Agra. Hence making local designated authorities responsible for content can be a potential landmine field. A central broadcasting standards council should have been set up which will monitor content nationally. This is something the industry has been demanding."

Additionally, what has got Mansukhani's goose is the fact that the government (read: DD) is forcibly blocking up three channels to prop up the inefficencies of the state owned broacaster through the amendments.

"Almost 40 per cent of TV sets in India are not cable TV ready," he says. "They can receive only 10-12 channels. By blocking three channels in the prime band the government- in partnership with DD - is limiting the industry from placing the channels of their and the consumers' choice. DD has consistently been losing revenue to private channels and this amendment is a blatant effort by the broadcaster to improve its position, reduce competition through a government mandate."

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