Noted cyber law expert and Supreme Court lawyer, Pavan Duggal, has severely critised the proposed Broadcast Bill, terming it as ‘draconian’ with potentiality of abuse as an exploitative tool being immense.
Giving a presentation to Assocham members on July 24, 2006, Duggal objected to the various provisions of the Bill, saying, “The proposed Bill is not only draconian as it attempts to regulate certain aspects of carriage and content, it will also fail to withstand the test of time.”
“The legislation has limited applicability as it only talks about analogue and cable transmission and thus, is unable to deal with digital broadcasting. There is no mention of mobile TV and IPTV in the Bill, which may arrive in India in the near future, thus failing to regulate broadcasting in a converged environment.”
Most importantly, Duggal pointed out, the present Information Technology Act, 2000, and the proposed Broadcast Regulatory Bill were conflicting in nature as both were special laws and overriding in nature.
“The Broadcast Bill speaks about the duties, rights and responsibilities of the broadcast service provider and broadcast service content provider. It overlaps with the concept of network service provider in the IT Act. The Broadcast Bill also does not talk about data, information and electronic format, whereas the IT Act does. This could raise many questions at a later stage,” Duggal cautioned.