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“DoT should regulate carriage and I&B can look at content”: Rahul Khullar

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NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman Rahul Khullar has once again spoken loud and clear. The 62-year-old Khullar has proposed that while the Department of Telecom should exclusively focus its attention on carriage and carriage related issues while the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B), considering its history, should be only regulating content.

“And I think that is the way we need to go,” he said while addressing the gathering at the recently concluded CII Big Summit 2014.

He also came down heavily on the politicians and political parties. He said, “The Supreme Court through its ruling has clearly stated that airwaves are not the monopoly of the state.”

So, while Prasar Bharati must exist and it must be independent; politicians, governments, state governments and their organs have “absolutely no business whatsoever to be in broadcasting space,” he announced and suggested that the government must announce this as an integral part of the National Media Policy.

Khullar also gave his perspective on the other components of the National Media Policy. “Firstly, there must be a clear articulation that we want a free media, unhampered and unrestricted by the government in any way possible,” he said while also suggesting that the media itself must be subject to safeguards. “It could come from other forms of independent regulators. You cannot have an institution which has rights but no duties,” he added.  

Secondly, there must be commitment in National Media Policy to uphold plurality of views and opinion. “And this must be a commitment,” he said.

Thirdly, time has come that we start talking about infrastructure. “If this National Media Policy is actually going to work, are we or are we not going to be in a digitised world? We cannot be flipping and flopping the dates as we send out wrong signals to the rest of the world about your credible commitment towards any policy,” he stated.

Khullar also pointed out the issues with spectrum availability. “It is a nightmare to deal with ISRO. The organisation neither gives you a transponder nor does it allow you to get a transponder of your own,” he informed.  

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