Television

Government, industry discuss broadcast regulator

MUMBAI: Following up on a suggestion made on Wednesday by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), industry and government officials today discussed the setting up of an independent broadcast regulator.

The mandate of the independent broadcast regulator on issues like technology and pricing and its role in the administration of the conditional access system was reportedly discussed at the meeting.

According to sources who were present, SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta, speaking on behalf of pay broadcasters, came out strongly against the regulator overseeing pricing of pay channels. Dasgupta reiterated the consistent stand taken by pay broadcasters on the issue that pricing should be left to market forces to determine.

The meeting, held in Mumbai and chaired by I&B secretary Pawan Chopra, was also attended by, among others, additional vice chairman Zee Telefilms and head of Siti Cable Jawahar Goel, Hinduja Group cable arm INCableNet's Ashok Mansukhani, the Delhi-based Roop Sharma (representing independent cable operators) and the Consumer Guidance Society of India's Anand Patwardhan.

The meeting was called by Ficci in association with law firm Amarchand Mangaldas. Today's meeting comes a day ahead of the first meeting of the government-constituted CAS implementation panel, which will also be held here.

Ficci general secretary Amit Mitra had said in a statement on Wednesday that India could consider three regulatory models - the one that Australia has, another that the US has adopted, and the third one that prevails in Hong Kong, Thailand and New Zealand.

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