Content share: I&B refuses to commit on a review

NEW DELHI: The government today said that no decision has been taken yet to review any provision in the uplink and downlink policies as a report on the issue of content share is awaited.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a Zee Sports press conference here today, information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi diplomatically said, “The I&B secretary will submit a report on content share next week after concluding discussions with the industry. We’ll see then.”

Asked whether the government is likely to bring about some dilution in media norms, described stringent by broadcasters, Das Munshi said the bridge will be crossed when it comes.

A recent government norm stipulates that all sporting events of national importance be shared with pubcaster Prasar Bharati on a mandatory basis.

However, holding out a ray of hope to broadcasters, Das Munshi added that as a politician and a sports administrator --- he’s the chief of the Indian football federation --- it’s his job to safeguard the interest of the public and the industry as well.

Keeping up his ambivalent stand on media issues, Das Munshi also evaded answering whether the I&B ministry would back health ministry-proposed ban on smoking in films and TV serials.

“It’s the health ministry’s job to look after the health of the nation and the I&B ministry’s job to see that smoking is not glamourised,” the minister amplified his ministry’s reluctance to support the health ministry in a round about fashion.

The ban was supposed to have come in effect from 1 January 2006, but has now been postponed till March. A case in Delhi high court, filed by a film-maker, too is pending a final verdict.

Das Munshi’s ambivalence on the smoking-ban issue, which has the film and TV world up in arms, was in sharp contrast to health ministry’s belligerence and latest developments wherein an anti-tobacco group of Goa has served a legal notice on actor Amitabh Bachchan for allegedly violating government norms and glamourising smoking in his new film, Family.

The notice on Bachchan has been served by a little known organization going by the name of National Organization for Tobacco Eradication.

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