The government on Wednesday announced that the proposed Broadcasting Regulatory Act was finally ready and the inter-ministerial process was on before the Bill was placed before Parliament. Speaking at the 26th Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) General Conference, S K Arora, Secy, I&B Ministry, said, “The proposed legislation will refine and define the various parameters of broadcasting regulation. The regulatory body will keep an eye on both the content and the carriage platform. It will also clearly differentiate the responsibilities. When content is carried on a platform, the content creator will regulate the content,” said Arora.
Speaking on the need for such legislation, Arora said, “There has been huge proliferation of private channels in the recent past due to liberal government policies. Technology has outstripped all the regulating policies.”
The government has also formed a 30-member industry body for formulating a ‘Self-regulatory Content Code.’ “As pre-certification is impossible, the concept of self-regulation will be there, failing which the broadcasting regulator will step in.”
The government is also mulling on public service broadcasting obligation for the private channels. “Social messaging in private channels will formalise the arrangement with the public broadcaster, but we will try to derive consensus in this regard,” Arora added.
On the FM Radio front, Arora said, “280 stations have already been allotted in the Phase II expansion process. We have plans to take FM Radio to other cities in the next phase. Co-location will also provided in the cities where it is not available.” Later speaking to reporters, Arora informed that the Phase III expansion would include cities in the category A, B, C and D in 60-70 cities.
On Community Radio front, he said, “By now 20 Community Radio stations are functional. The government is in the process of liberalising the policy for further expansion because Community Radio is the way ahead.”