The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) had cleared 75 new channels of various television networks last week with the announcement that the tally of total number of channels in India had touched the 700-mark. On the approach of the Government on the issue of frequent approval of new television licenses and on the newly formed industry bodies for content regulation, Rajiv Takru, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and CEO, Prasar Bharti, spoke to exchange4media.
It may be recalled that in January 2011, MIB had given clearance to 21 new channels, while in the year 2010 nearly 97 new channels were approved by the Ministry. The ministry is not going to draw any line here yet. Takru divulged, “As of now, the Ministry is not thinking of any kind of forced control over giving licenses for new channels in India.” Hence, it is likely that the Ministry may announce approval of licenses for new channels at regular intervals in the coming months as well.
Meanwhile, speaking on the initiative taken by the Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF) by constituting the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) for redressal of content related issues in non-news channels, he said, “We (the Ministry) had multiple discussions over the issue with the industry people in the last few months. We see this development very positively. Self regulation is the best form of regulation, if you could control your behaviour why would you need policing for that?”
However, he also noted that MIB would function the way it had been doing. It had particular rules and regulations which were not going to change, Takru maintained and added, “We want that there should be an effective self regulation and we are all for it.”
Besides, Takru also praised the functioning of NBA and BEA and said that under the leadership of Justice JS Verma, the industry bodies had done a commendable job so far. However, he admitted that there had been problems in the past and minor problems were likely to persist. He concluded by saying that the Ministry was looking forward to work in a cohesive manner with the industry.