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I&B Minister rules out change in DTH policy

20-August-2004
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I&B Minister rules out change in DTH policy

Information and broadcasting minister S Jaipal Reddy seems to have set the record straight on direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting policy. Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, the minister indicated that there was enough safeguard in place in DTH, implying that there’s no cause for a review of the policy. A few days ago, sources in the I&B ministry had pointed out that a committee was being set up to review the DTH policy. But, it is learnt that the proposed committee would only examine certain issues related to pornography on DTH. Policy matters such as foreign direct investment (FDI) and sectoral cap will not come up for review.

On why DTH was being permitted since it could affect national security, Mr Reddy told the House that the NDA government had set up a group of ministers which had explored the national security and morality issues.

Also, every DTH player must get the clearance of the home ministry and Wireless Planning and Coordination before starting a service. The minister also said that whoever fulfilled DTH licence conditions would be given permission. “More the merrier,” he said. Although in 1997, DTH was banned when Mr Reddy was the I&B minister, he said that guidelines were much stringent now.

Meanwhile, the government is formulating a legislation for the print media. It relates to strengthening guidelines for FDI in print media. In a written reply to a LS question, Mr Reddy said the government was contemplating legislation to amend the Press and Registration Act for giving legal sanctity to the Cabinet Resolution of 1955.

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