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MIB's Ajay Mittal allays media industry fears, paints positive picture

MUMBAI: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) secretary Ajay Mittal today expressed faith in the strength of Indian institutions to withstand the challenges in the Indian media sector that have arisen out of fringe elements at play.

Pointing out that MIB and the other government departments have taken several positive initiatives for the upliftment of the Indian media and entertainment sector, Mittal said, “Have faith in the strength of the Indian Constitution and various institutions to take on the challenges created by fringe groups (on creative freedom).”

His comments on informal and fringe censorship issues came about as they were raised by Star India Chairman and CEO and Ficci Entertainment & Media Committee chairman Uday Shankar in his theme address earlier. Shankar criticized the fringe elements trying to bring about parallel censorships and media curbs in a modern India and which was detrimental to realizing the dream of Digital India.

Mittal, who was delivering the Inaugural Address at the 18th edition of the Ficci-Frames 2017 here, said that while the country’s rich traditions have ample scope to provide base for varied content, it’s time for distribution and monetization of content to step in and take industry’s growth to the next level.

The Indian M&E sector’s CAGR of 14.3 per cent by 2020 would be “almost double the growth” of global trends, Mittal reeled out some figures in his address, saying that the government is fully aware of the importance of the digital media that has shown a growth of 35 per cent.

The secretary also pointed out that to further ease doing business in India, the government has created a separate category of visas for foreigners under ‘film visa’ so more films, etc could be shot in India.

Dwelling on IPR and taxation issues, two vexed matters of the media industry, Mittal said that the government’s endeavor was to work with various stakeholders so IPR could be adequately and effectively protected. “Apart from IPR, we have also held discussions with various State governments on tax matters,” he added.

As part of MIB initiatives, Mittal listed out work on digitization, radio FM, incentivizing film production, streamlining government support for print medium, amongst many other achievements, firmly adding that the government’s effort to “liberalize” media industry “cannot be denied.”

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