I&B ministry finalizing terms of law on broadcast regulator

MUMBAI: The terms of reference of a law that will bring about a separate broadcast regulator are almost ready.
This was revealed to by Information & Broadcasting secretary SK Arora on the sidelines of the convention for the business of entertainment, Ficci Frames, this morning in Mumbai.

Once the framework of the law is finalized, it would be distributed among the interministerial committee for comments and any possible fine tuning, Arora said,"From here, the document would have to be scrutinized for a final say by the Union cabinet, after which it would then be presented before Parliament."

While Arora declined to give a time frame under which this process would move forward, he expressed confidence that from his ministry’s end, the law would be ready “at the soonest”.

Queried about the role of the current regulator for both the telecom and broadcast sector, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), Arora noted that the challenges for the broadcast industry and telecom are different. First, it is important that convergence is facilitated within the broadcast sector. After that one can look at facilitating convergence between sectors i.e. broadcast and telecom. The regulatory body will work towards ensuring that the fruits of development are not vitiated by adversarial relations. “The aim of regulation is to preserve development. We will also be coming out with a regulation on content code,” he said.

Ficci is assisting in formulating the draft of the regulation. The Group of Ministers (GoM) who concentrate on the Ice industry will fine-tune it. Then it will be sent to the cabinet. It will be passed when the cabinet approves of it. A further announcement on this regulation is expected in the coming weeks.

Basically it is aimed at being a self regulatory mechanism. Arora however conceded that regulation always lags behind technological changes. The broadcast industry has been no exception. He also stressed the importance of content providers and creators reaching remote areas of the country. “Whether it is cable, DTH, cinema halls, no villager should be left behind. If we work on this, then the potential will be double than what has already been achieved.”

Arora also highlighted the concern of piracy. He said that the government has been working with Ficci on the Optical Disc Law and this work will continue in the months ahead. “The reason why we approach the industry is that we want to have a regulatory framework that helps the industry move forward."

"Another important area that is growing is animation and gaming. We need investment from foreign players and leaders in this area. The challenge for us is to attract foreign firms in this area. At this time, there are foreign firms coming into India while Indian firms travel abroad. Foreign firms bring their brand in. However, Indian firms when they go abroad do so under an international brand. The exception is the Indian film industry and for this I want to congratulate them,” said Arora.

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