Regulators

I&B Ministry to reduce Trai jurisdiction over b'cast & cable sector

NEW DELHI: The information and broadcasting ministry is now firmly of the view that regulation of content should be separate from carriage and is working on a legislation that would significantly reduce Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's jurisdiction over the broadcast and cable sector.

According to government officials, the I&B ministry has held initial discussions with the telecom ministry on the issue, trying to impress that content and carriage regulation should be separate, as opposed to the Convergence Communication Bill that envisaged a super-regulator for the IT, broadcasting and telecom sectors. Though officials indicated that no time frame has been set for such a piece of legislation, which would form part of the broadcast bill being tweaked by the I&B ministry at present, but talks are being held with the telecom ministry to facilitate this.

The Convergence Bill, which despite being a comprehensive piece of background work couldn't see the light of the day because of political opposition to the creation of an over-arching and powerful regulator, falls under the purview of the telecom ministry and unless it agrees to the separation of carriage regulation from content, I&B ministry would find it difficult to have its say.

With regards to content regulation, the I&B ministry has also called for a meeting of industry stakeholders and women's organisations and some non-governmental organisations early February to thrash out " regular and frequent complaints" on images transmitted over television, especially those relating to violence and sex.

Meanwhile, the government has recently given clearance to three other organisations for starting community radio service, which has proved to be of some help in the aftermath of Tsunami disaster management.

The organisations that have got the final green signal from the government include the Delhi-based Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) and Jamia Milia University.

At the moment, despite 18-0dd clearances given by the government, only one community radio service is up and running at Anna University in Chennai. The government has also asked the director of the community radio service of the university to examine whether further help could be rendered in the Tsunami affected areas like Port Blair through such radio services.

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