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Concept note on draft broadcast bill soon

The Govt said a concept note on the draft broadcast bill would be circulated soon for getting views of the media industry.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2006 22:43 IST

The government on Friday said a concept note on the draft broadcast bill would be circulated soon for getting views of the media industry, stressing the whole idea is to boost the industry's growth and not micro-manage its functioning.

A concept note on the Broadcast Services Regulatory Bill would be circulated to elicit opinions of the media industry as inputs into the government's decision-making process before taking a final view on the subject, said SK Arora, secretary in the information and broadcasting ministry while speaking to members of the media committee of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

Outlining the main objectives behind the broadcast bill, which has attracted sharp criticism from the media industry for seeking to police media content, Arora said the intension of the draft bill was to provide legislative backing to executive decisions taken by the government in recent times.

"This backing was required because most of the executive decisions have been challenged in court and the government has been asked to show legislative sanction for its actions," he explained.

The broader idea behind the bill was to create an independent Broadcast Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI), which would take over the regulatory functions of the government, he said, adding the intention was to get the government away from the job of regulating the industry.

A third objective of the draft bill was to subsume the existing Cable Network Regulations Act that governs the cable industry, he said.

Arora also clarified that the content regulation rules, which are in the process of being framed by the ministry, were not part of the broadcast legislation. He assured the CII panel that views of all stakeholders would be taken before a final decision.

The interactive discussion was chaired by the CII National Media Committee chairman TN Ninan, also editor and publisher of Business Standard.

Others who attended the meeting included Jawahar Goel, group vice chairman of Zee Network; Peter Mukherjea, CEO of Star Group India; Deepak Shourie, managing director of Discovery Channel India; Aroon Purie, editor-in-chief, India Today and HK Dua, editor-in-chief, The Tribune.