Broadcast Regulator

The radio industry in India is in a nascent stage of growth. However, as the market develops a number of legal and social issues (like content regulation, networking regulation etc.) as well as technological issues (like digital radio broadcasting (terrestrial/satellite) subscription radio channels etc.) are likely to arise in relation to radio. The market competitive forces may not always work in harmony and sometimes may require reconciliation of competing interests. Therefore, as the industry develops it will require maintenance of an appropriate regulatory environment through an autonomous regulator.

The Committee in this respect shares the views and the concerns of the Hon'ble Supreme Court as reflected in the case of Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting vs. Cricket Association of Bengal, wherein it was observed that the Central Government should establish an independent autonomous public authority representative of all sections and interests in the society to control and regulate the use of airwaves.

The Committee therefore, recommends the constitution of an independent broadcast regulator.

The Committee would like to clarify that the Broadcast Regulator should provide and maintain appropriate regulatory environment to foster market led growth rather than seek to supplant and substitute market forces through regulation. The main objective of the Broadcast Regulator should be to seek proper enforcement of rules and regulations and its actions should primarily be complaint driven.

We suggest to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting that pending the creation of a Regulator (which is likely to take time, requiring Parliamentary approval), a non-statutory Committee be set up which has Terms of Reference similar to what the Regulator would have. (We understand that the formal creation of SEBI was preceeded by such a Committee).

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