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Media industry hails Cabinet nod to draft Convergence Bill

29-August-2001
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Media industry hails Cabinet nod to draft Convergence Bill

The media industry is excited at the okay given by the Union Cabinet to the draft Convergence Bill. The industry at the same time is sceptical whether the proposed super-regulator, Communications Commission of India (CCI), will have enough powers to take up contentious issues, which have come to the forefront in a hitherto largely unregulated industry.

According to chief executive of STAR India Ltd., Peter Mukerjea, "Any law facilitating the development of an industry is welcome as it is necessary in a maturing market like India." However, it needs to be seen whether the law of the land is fair, encouraging healthy competition, or draconian, he added.

Rakesh Dutta of Cable Networks' Association felt that the proposed laws should address issues like "creation of monopoly" by media houses leading to exploitation of cable operators. Unless the proposed Act addresses this issue the whole purpose of having a convergence law would be defeated, he added.

According to Dutta, if the law does not address concerns of cable operators, he and his associates would move a public interest litigation after the enactment of the law.

Welcoming the Cabinet decision, the major players in media and broadcasting industry, expects that the proposed Act would not be so stringent that frequent amendments will be needed to keep pace with the fast-changing technology.

The Acts to be replaced by the Convergence Act include, the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, Indian Wireless Act, 1933, the Cable TV Act and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.

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