Separate broadcast regulator in offing: Reddy

NEW DELHI: Infobroad minister S Jaipal Reddy today informed fellow parliamentarians that the government was thinking of setting up a broadcasting regulatory authority to enforce guidelines and regulations on television and radio contents.

He did make it clear that the mandate for the sector that Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has in this regard is interim in nature.

In a written reply to a question in the Upper House, deemed to have been laid even as both houses of Parliament were adjourned today, Reddy said, "The matter (regulatory authority) is under consideration in the ministry."

To another question, Reddy said Trai, in its consultation paper on broadcasting, has raised issues like making conditional access system (CAS) voluntary and subjecting pay channels and advertisements to price regulation, besides a host of quality-related matters.

Pointing out that the government is awaiting Trai's final recommendations on a whole range of issues, Reddy added that the previous government's decision to hand over broadcast and cable industry regulation to Trai would also be looked into.

To a related question whether the experiment to implement CAS in South Delhi had failed, Reddy said the state governments of National Capital Territory of Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal had approached the Centre for deferment/withdrawal of CAS, citing various reasons relating to consumer interests, including issue of pricing of pay channels, set top boxes and terms and conditions for procurement of set-top boxes. 

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