Friday, July 17, 2009

I&B Secretary to give final shape to Broadcast Bill

A Committee headed by Information and Broadcadting Ministry Secretary Raghu Menon is to hold discussions with various stakeholders to give a final shape to the long-pending Broadcast Services Regulation Bill 2006 so that it can be introduced in Parliament as early as possible. I&B Ministry sources said various Programme, Advertising, and Content Codes will also be discussed. Sources said no decision had been taken yet on whether the Codes including the one drawn up by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) would be amalgamated.

The Bill, drafted in 2006 and available on the Ministry's website, also provides for a Broadcast Regulatory Authority of India, which is expected to be an improvement over the Broadcasting Council envisaged in the Prasar Bharati Act 1990 (promulgated in 1997) which was never constituted. At the time of promulgation of Prasar Bharati Act, the then goverrnment had promised a comprehensive Broadcast Bill. Thereafter, the successive government had set up a Group of Ministers to study a Convergence Bill and a Convergence Commission but was unable to arrive at a consensus.

Subsequently, the United Progressive Alliance Government drafted the present Bill and then I&B Secretary Asha Swarup had begun a review of the draft Bill in view of exchanges with the stakeholders.
- Jaisakthivel, Chennai

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