TRAI recommendations on accreditation of rating agencies accepted: Tewari

NEW DELHI: Even as the industry body Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) is struggling with its teething problems, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I &B) has accepted view of the Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI) that the minimum number of homes that a rating agency should measure should be 20,000 within six months of the guidelines coming into force, after which the number should be increased by 10,000 every year to reach 50,000.

Minister Manish Tewari has said that his Ministry would place these guidelines before the union cabinet, a note for which has already been circulated. The Ministry had earlier asked the regulator to provide its guidelines on the issue, after which TRAI had in September released its recommendations including a condition that they be notified within two months.

He said most recommendations had been ?more or less accepted.? ?Once we have the cabinet approval, we will notify the guidelines,? he added. Interestingly, Tewari, during his speech, also touched upon the dispute on whether the foreign direct investment should be raised for the print media.  While the Press Council of India (PCI) had submitted its recommendations that the current levels of FDI in print media should be maintained, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) had favoured raising the limit to 49 per cent. "We are trying to build a political consensus after all media is a sensitive area," Tewari said.

The TV audience measurement mechanism has been a subject of controversy in the past with many channels expressing dissatisfaction with TAM ratings.

Tewari said the amendments to the Press and Registration Books Act were already on the Ministry website and stakeholders' had sought fresh consultations on issues including 'paid news', which had been slated for Tuesday.

Replying to a question related to setting up of a National Gaming and Animation Centre in Mohali in Punjab, Tewari said there was a problem as it was intended to be a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) but the private sector had not responded.

He said government was considering a plan to set up the institute with Japanese assistance. Tewari said bills to give special status to Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and Satyajit Ray Film and TV Institute had been sent to the Law Ministry. He said another proposal to give the status of 'institute of national importance' to the Indian Institute of Mass Communication was by and large ready.

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