Tewari says govt pursuing Phase II digitisation deadline

MUMBAI: Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Manish Tewari said the government will pursue implementation of the second phase of switchover to digital delivery of television channels in 38 cities with population of one million.

The government has mandated digitisation in the 38 cities by 31 March, after going ahead with the first phase of digitisation in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. The switchover to digital delivery in Chennai is stuck in court proceedings initiated by Tamil Nadu cable operators against digitisation itself.

“We will stay the course,” Tewari said in response to a question about digitisation in the 38 cities when he was in the city to give away the first edition of International Advertising Association’s leadership awards. He further said, “Phase II digitisation is on track.”

He said the government has the learning from the implementation of phase I digitisation and expected all the stakeholders to be firmly backing the effort.

Addressing the advertising fraternity, advertisers and the media, the I&B Minister dwelled on the issues concerning the media and advertising industries. These included freedom of speech with reasonable restrictions, imperfect television audience measurement model, the need to observe advertising regulations on television and self-regulation vs statutory regulation of content.

He asked all concerned to think whether content can remain in the self-regulation domain, while suggesting an overarching statutory mechanism to address issues related to convergence across media, entertainment and telecom.

Tewari assured the media and advertising industries that they will be taken into confidence before taking any decision on any of the contentious issues.

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