Minister for Information & Broadcasting Manish Tewari has said that the process of mainstreaming self-regulation as a statutory mechanism ought to be led by the industry, rather than the government.
The Minister emphasised that the government’s approach towards media was an ‘Essay in persuasion, not regulation’. The stakeholders within the industry would have to define the equilibrium levels to ensure that the paradigm of transparency, fairness, sobriety and avoidance of sensationalism becomes the key driver of the national discourse in media space. Tewari stated this while speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Media regulation: Is status quo the option?’
The Minister also said that digitisation as a process could be leveraged to augment sample sizes by re-engineering every set top box to function as a virtual ‘people’s meter’. He also stressed that an out-of-the-box approach by media entrepreneurs could transform the dynamics of the media landscape.
“Industry could then utilise the data and develop business models that are transparent and workable. This process would ensure an alternative to the ongoing conflict surrounding TAM / TRP that the broadcasting industry held responsible for much of its woes,” said the Minister.
He emphasised that the way forward was also to fast track Broadcasting Audience Research Council (BARC) as an industry led body that would provide a reliable measurement of popular viewership patterns and help broadcasters overcome corrosive narratives.
During his address, the Minister also touched upon the growing importance of the new media space. In his view, while the opening up of the virtual space has led to democratisation of the information paradigm, it has also becoming a great leveller in many ways.
The Minister further cautioned against ‘balkanisation of the internet’ if agreed rules of international engagement did not emerge as a binding international pact that encompassed states and other entities that controlled the underlying hardware. This situation needs to be avoided to ensure that no artificial divisions are created in the World Wide Web.