Regulatory body for electronic media mooted

MUMBAI: Press Council of India (PCI) chairman K Jayachandra Reddy has said that the Council has suggested to the Central Government it constitute a regulatory authority for the electronic media, on the lines of the PCI, to function as a watchdog panel.

The Hindu Businessline quoted Reddy as saying at a press conference in Hyderabad yesterday that it was not fair to leave the electronic media unregulated while subjecting the print media alone to all kinds of regulations. Reddy, however, expressed reservations over the regulatory authority on the electronic media taking shape in the near future.

Reddy's comments are likely to lead to the resurfacing of the debate that was raised in June last year on whether the print and the electronic media should have a combined regulatory body - a media council. It is an idea that has been on and off for a long while now.

The media council idea has been strongly resisted by broadcasters through their representative body the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF).

Of course such a body would come in as a given if the proposed Communications Convergence Bill. The bill envisages a super-regulator, the Communication Commission of India (CCI), which would be created after is passed and monitor the content being beamed by the channels.

In the absence of such a commission, broadcasters favour a self regulator. ``The broadcasting industry has been unregulated ever since its inception. And there has been no major problems relating to security or objectionable content. Hence, there is no need for an outside council to regulate content now,'' has been the stated stand of the IBF. The IBF also fears that since the number of players in the print media is larger than those in the electronic media, any such merged council could be skewed in favour of those representing print media.

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