Govt mulls setting up C&S TV regulator

NEW DELHI: The Indian government is studying whether a regulatory body for the broadcasting and cable sector can be put together ahead of a super-regulator for the convergence era, as envisaged in the Communications Convergence Bill 2001 (CCB), which is still awaiting an okay from Parliament.

"A regulatory authority can be formed outside the ambit of the Convergence Bill, though no firm opinion has been formed on the issue yet," a senior government official said today.

Though the government official gave no time-frame for setting up a regulatory body, the need for which is been increasingly impressed upon by many in the light of introduction of addressability in Indian cable homes from 1 September, he did admit that some sort of a draft has been prepared on it in the information and broadcasting ministry. The cry for a regulatory body is also echoing in Parliament with a question on it slated to be answered by I&B minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tomorrow in the Lower House of the Indian Parliament (Lok Sabha) when media-related issues are discussed by policy makers there.

However, replying to a question on the same issue in the Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) earlier this week, Prasad had maintained that the government is looking into the issue of a regulatory body, but has no time frame for its formation.

The minister had gone on to add that the CCB actually addresses the issue of a regulatory authority for the sectors of IT, telecom and broadcasting, but the Bill was pending Parliament?s okay as a parliamentary panel, mandated to examine various aspects, had suggested last year over 70 changes in the Bill.

CCB aims at enacting into law a set-up for the convergence era and if the Indian government okays such a law, it would only be the second country after Malaysia in the world to do so.

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