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Govt mulls commission for comprehensive media guidelines

india Updated: Feb 15, 2009 09:47 IST

With ever increasing number of players occupying the media space coupled with introduction of more new age mediums, the government is now mulling a proposal to set up a commission to frame comprehensive guidelines encompassing all forms of media.

The recently concluded Consultative Committee meeting of parliamentarians, chaired by Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Anand Sharma, while discussing repercussions of media coverage after 26/11, called for a comprehensive approach to lay out codes for the entire media.

During the meeting, it was pointed out that tackling issues in piece-meal, like the government wants to do for the television media after the Mumbai terror attacks, might not have the desired results as it would still leave a large number of web-based and other electronic mediums unregulated.

"There is need to frame guidelines applicable to all forms of media and not just television," Lok Sabha and member of the IB ministry's consultative committee Hanan Mollah, told PTI.

"In keeping with their times, two media commissions set up during Jawaharlal Nehru and Morarji Desai's time were restricted to setting guidelines for newspapers alone. Since then no effort has been taken despite significant improvements in television, radio and all forms of web-based media," he added.

Parliamentarians had suggested to inclusion of people from various media fields, politicians and social activists in the commission proposed to be headed by judicial experts.

It was pointed out that framework for setting up guidelines for media does not exist currently and that it would amount to 'victimising the television media' if the ministry goes ahead with imposing guidelines on them by amending the Cable Television Network (Regulations) Act.

"Anand Sharma sought our suggestions on the proposed amendments to the Act and we could impress upon him that it is not possible to guide the media with any number of Acts and a Media Commission is the need of the hour. He agreed with our views and said he will put up the proposal before the government," Mollah added.

Earlier, efforts to form a media commission were thwarted during the NDA regime after the government could not reach an agreement over the issue.

The Left parties had also put up demands for formation of a media commission through their journalists' unions in the past, citing protection for employees from privatisation and industrialisation of media.