Pakistan Government should lift ban on Indian TV: I&B minister at BES Expo inaugural

NEW DELHI: India's information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today hinted to the Pakistani government that it should lift the ban on Indian TV channels and help in the free flow of information. This act would further the confidence building process between the two countries.

''Pakistan should follow the Indian model and be as liberal in transmission of Indian contents as we are. It will strengthen people-to-people contact,'' said Prasad, while delivering the inaugural speech at the 10th international conference of the Broadcast Engineering Society (BES) in the capital today.

''Realising well the importance of free to air transmission, which caters to a majority of the population, and, in turn, meets the larger social objective, the government is committed to extend fullest support to the public broadcasters (Doordarshan and All India Radio) ,'' said Prasad.

The statement, in a way, seems like a justification for the huge loan that the I&B ministry would be extending to DD and AIR's parent organization, Prasar Bharati, during 2004-05, as part of the budgetary proposals announced yesterday by the finance minister.

Dwelling on his pet subject, the dissemination of development-related information on TV channels, Prasad exhorted the private sector to have a proper balance between technological advancement and content in order to realise the larger social goals.

The minister also said that his ministry has asked broadcast regulator, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ( TRAI), for inputs on revenue sharing and spectrum management for FM radio even as it is still considering the Dr Amit Mitra task force report on the second round of licensing in this sector.

"We have received the taskforce report and are considering it. Meanwhile, I have asked the new regulator TRAI for inputs on revenue sharing and spectrum management in FM radio," Prasad said.

Earlier, Prasad conferred the BSE's honorary fellowship to Asia Broadcasting Union (ABU) general-secretary David Ashley and a Canada-based organisation CRC's vice-president (marketing and business development) Dr Veena Rawat.

Also speaking on the occasion, Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma said the KU-band direct-to home (DTH) transmission would formally start from April this year. Others who spoke at the inauguration function included I&B ministry secretary Pawan Chopra.

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