IBF, IMG meet I&B secretary Arora on Broadcast Bill

NEW DELHI: The Indian Broadcast Federation (IBF) and the Indian Media Group (IMG) today met the Information & Broadcast secretary S K Arora for an interaction on the Broadcast Bill 2006.

IBF has opposed the cross-media holding restrictions and the so-called Draconian clauses in the bill. It said, the draft bill should be discussed with the industry, before having taken to the cabinet and Parliament.

The draft bill has covered four major areas in its ambit, which would call for major corporate restructuring by media companies, foreign and domestic, operating in India. These include content, cross media ownership, subscriptions and live sports feeds (which are already part of the downlink norms).

The bill introduces restrictions on cross media holdings in all electronic ventures capping it at a maximum 20 per cent. While print media companies have not been included in the ambit of the bill for the present, this could be later extended to them as well.

IMG also criticised the cross-media holding restrictions, but most importantly, it has argued that, electronic media should be brought under the Press Council of India. It also demanded that the proposed Broadcast Regulatory Authority of India (Brai) should be free from any government intereference. Making its stance clearer, it said the CEO of Brai should not be a government official or a government nominee.

Zee Telefilms chairman Subhash Chandra, after attending a meeting with Arora on behalf of IMG, said, "We are against cross-media holding restrictions. We also oppose the government's agenda to interfere on how news should be reported on TV."

He added, "The regulatory norms for the electronic media, the print media and the online media should be same and similar without any discriminatory in any one of the media segment."

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