After much dilly-dallying, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry has come out with a consultation paper on the proposed Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill "to consult media and broadcasting industry organizations to obtain their response to some of the major issues proposed" to be covered in the Bill.
The draft of the proposed legislation, indicating the current thinking in the ministry, has put on the I&B Ministry's website. "It is to be appreciated that these are not the final views of the Ministry or the Central Government. These will be further refined after the process of consultation with the media and the broadcasting industry as well as concerned ministries is over and, thereafter, the Cabinet will consider the final contours of the proposed legislation," it stated.
The proposed Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill seeks to achieve the following:
(i) To provide legislative sanction retroactively to Government guidelines on various regulatory aspects such as television channels' Uplinking/Downlinking, private FM Radio and Community Radio, DTH, Teleport, etc.
(ii) To set up a new Broadcasting Regulatory Authority of India and delegate the regulatory functions presently being performed by the Ministry of I&B to this new authority.
(iii) To incorporate the provisions of the existing Cable Television Networks Regulation Act in the new legislation through appropriate repeal and savings clauses and provide for licensing of cable operators
(iv) To make enabling provisions on the following:
(a) Cross media ownership and restrictions on accumulation of interests to provide for competition and plurality of views.
(b) Minimum domestically sourced content in foreign channels to promote indigenous media/entertainment industry, particularly in the field of animation and gaming etc.
(c) Minimum obligations on all channels for public service broadcasting in their programme and advertising content.