Government to address DTH issues with legislation

NEW DELHI: Even though the government said today that it is planning a legislation to address concerns relating to DTH services in the country, it avoided a direct answer to a question on the information and broadcasting ministry's competence to judge financial aspects of such a venture.

Replying to supplementary questions during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) today, I&B minister Jaipal Reddy said the government has already strengthened the mechanism for monitoring DTH programmes and is considering maintaining a record of the programmes rather than asking TV channels to furnish it.

In certain quarters concerns had been raised over DTH services in the country, especially those relating to security and availability of pornographic content through such a service.

According to the minister, existing DTH licence conditions for setting up and operating DTH service in India contain adequate safeguards with regard to the carriage of undesirable content.

The terms and conditions of the licence agreement, inter alia, make it obligatory on the part of the DTH licencee to adhere to the programme and advertisement codes as laid down by the I&B ministry, Reddy informed fellow parliamentarians.

He said the use of DTH service for anti-national activities would be construed as an offence punishable under the Indian Penal Code and applicable law and will attract immediate termination of licence.

In reply to another question, Reddy said the ministry will also "dust up" the file on Broadcasting Authority bill that was prepared some seven years ago, reports PTI.

However, to a specific question on Space TV, which alluded to a prolonged delay in granting letter of intent for a DTH licence, Reddy in a written reply avoided making any direct reference to the competence of his ministry to judge the financial aspects of a DTH venture, something that is done more competently by the finance ministry.

To another question, Reddy said four parties had applied for DTH licence. While ASC Enterprises had been given the licence, the application of Space TV, a joint venture between the Tatas and a Star Group affiliate, is at an advanced stage of consideration.

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