Government allays fears of media industry on Broadcast Bill

NEW DELHI: Fazed by strident criticism of certain provisions in a proposed Broadcast Bill, the government on Monday agreed to take industry's concerns into consideration while drafting the legislation.
Briefing reporters after a meeting with the industry representatives on the eve of India's Independence Day, information and broadcasting secretary SK Arora said, "We have agreed to take into account the views of the industry when we draft a final Bill on the subject."

A Press Trust of India report said Arora also sought to assuage apprehensions of the industry on a provision dubbed "draconian" in certain sections of the media regarding the inspection, search and seizure of equipments.

"These are just apprehensions and the government has no intention to encroach on the independence of the media," PTI quoted Arora as saying.

According to Arora, "This kind of criminal offences clause will be applicable only for three offences -- unlicenced activity; telecasting anti-national content and something that may be sensitive from security perspective; and if certain directions of the Government on security and national integrity are not carried out."

However, learns that what was billed as a big ticket industry-government interaction did not turn out so as quite a few captains of the industry kept away from the meeting and Delhi, which is reeling under heavy security due to threats of large scale terrorist activity.

Interestingly, the meeting also got broken up into several smaller interactions with the minister and secretary briefing different people in different rooms.

Dasmunsi is also said to have expressed his ignorance on TV channels being directed by his ministry to scroll a public apology for three days for breaching advertising code.

Those who attended Monday's meeting included Zee group's Jawahar Goel, Discovery India head Deepak Shourie, India TV CEO Chintamani Rao, NDTV Profit head Vikram Chandra and Business Standard CEO and editor TN Ninan.

Industry bodies representatives included those from Indian Media Group, Indian Broadcasting Foundation, Indian Newspaper Society and several other media companies.

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