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Broadcasting regulation under consideration

21-December-2004
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Broadcasting regulation under consideration

The government is considering a legislation to regulate the broadcasting sector, information and broadcasting minister S Jaipal Reddy told the Rajya Sabha on Monday. Introduction of DTH broadcasting had prompted the standing committee on information technology to pull up the government.

Regarding the ‘action taken report’ on DTH, the standing committee had said that ‘guidelines cannot be a substitute for a comprehensive legal framework’. The committee asked the government to enact a law to regulate the entry and growth of DTH services.

Mr Reddy said the government was planning a legislation to address security concerns and check obscene programmes on TV, following the introduction of DTH service. Use of DTH service for anti-national activities will be construed as an offence under the Indian Penal Code, said the minister.

Last week, the standing committee had asked the government why the group of ministers on DTH had allowed sensitive issues pertaining to morality, security and monopoly to be regulated through guidelines, rather than a comprehensive legislation.

“While acknowledging the need to take advantage of changes in the information technology and communication scenario, the committee feels the social cause of the effect of foreign TV channels on the Indian citizen is of paramount importance and cannot be sacrificed,” the panel chaired by MM Pallam Raju stated.

Currently, Subhash Chandra-promoted ASC Enterprises is the only private DTH player in the country. Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati also has a similar service, but only for free-to-air channels. Tata-Star joint venture for DTH, Space TV’s application was under active consideration, Mr Reddy said.

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