The proposed Broadcasting Services Bill 2007 has generated a lot of heat and dust in the Indian media industry. With aspects such as the content code, restriction on distribution tariff, the preference to Prasar Bharti, compulsory local content on all channels and various other such clauses, the Bill is viewed as regressive by various sections of the industry. Media heads have gone on record saying that the industry does not need a Bill, and that the role of the regulator should be licensing and carriage -- and not in content.
However, presenting a very different opinion on the issue, ZEEL’s Chairman Subhash Chandra told exchange4media, “There is a fundamental problem in the way this issue is looked at. There are broadcasters who are saying that they don’t want any regulation. I urge these broadcasters to understand that without regulations, no industry will prosper.”
“The situation with the foreign-owned media companies working in India is that they do not want any regulation or any checks and balances. If they want India to operate like this, tell them to create this kind of unregulated conditions for Indians and other Asian players to operate in their markets. If they can do that, I can promise them my support in an environment of no regulation in India, otherwise not,” Chandra added.
When asked whether he thinks that the Bill in its present form should be passed, he said, “These are different issues. Let them first agree that there should be regulation, and then we can always discuss the details and clauses of the regulation.”
ZEEL is one of the largest media bouquets in India with channels in the Hindi general entertainment space, Hindi movies and music, English entertainment and various regional channels. There also is Zee News and its recently launched channels like Zee 24 Taas in the news domain.