The government on Monday failed to make television industry agree to its revised broadcast bill and content code, with industry questioning the basis for imposing the new regulation.
Speaking at a seminar on “Regulation in the Entertainment Sector’ organised at the FICCI here on Monday, Asha Swarup, Information and Broadcasting secretary, said: “The revised Bill on the proposed Broadcast Services Regulation incorporates the comments and views of the industry received during the past several years.”
It was incorrect, she said, to say that India was the only country that was proposing to have a content code for the broadcast sector as such codes in different forms were in existence in other countries.
“Within the country itself, there has always been a programme code and an advertising code as part of the license conditions for the service providers to abide by,” Swarup said. She added that “we have only revised these codes and propose to present them in a content code in view of the discussions with industry that have been taking place since October 2005.”
Responding to the need for “benign benevolence” for drafting content code raised by Amit Khanna, Chairman of the FICCI’s ‘Committee on Convergence and Chairman, Pradeep Singh, additional secretary in the I&B ministry, pointed out: “There is no place for emotions and nobody is trying to bring in a guided democracy. If there is a trust deficit, it has to be addressed as the first priority by sitting across the table.”
“The content code,” Singh emphasised, “already exists. It is merely being fleshed out. I feel there isn’t much fear (amongst the private players) than the fact this sector has not been regulated. In any case the code would be finalized by the Regulator in consultation with media representatives.”