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Too close for the remote control

We are waiting with bated breath to see the extent of censorship the I&B Ministry imposes on television content in the proposed Broadcast Bill.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON AUG 20, 2007 10:15 PM IST

It had to happen. Mention television content and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting can only respond ‘control’. As it is we are waiting with bated breath to see the extent of censorship the I&B Ministry imposes on television content in the proposed Broadcast Bill. The many caveats notwithstanding, it is fairly clear that the Content Bill, if passed in its present avatar, will have little room for, well, core content and will instead lend itself to some great gags. After all, when government finds moral victory in banning the likes of the ‘degrading’ Fashion TV and extends the same rules to news television, it is a tad difficult to expect private broadcasters to give world class channels like Doordarshan a run for taxpayers’ money. So the new proposal to have a content regulator in place even for Internet television triggers a serious attack of the heebie-jeebies.

For one, beyond the urban confines of ministerial residences, the likes of FTV beam on, late night show et al. There is little stopping technology in the hands of willing viewers and channel operators. But that is a mere quibble. The point is that the State likes to indulge in the fantasy that it has a fundamental right to bamboozle its way into censoring what we watch. Now, by attempting to regulate streaming video on the net, isn’t the State going into overdrive? We barely understand cybercrime and we don’t have the wherewithal in place to govern Internet television content.

So what if the signals are getting all crossed. It’s all about remote control, one way or the other.

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