New Delhi: While complimenting the government for setting up the Broadcasting Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) in the proposed Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill to strengthen the growth and development of media in India, Assocham has suggested that the BRAI should work as an independent autonomous body and not be regulated by the government.
In a representation submitted to government, the industry chamber has further suggested that that BRAI should not be formed on the basis of TRAI as both sectors are different in their basic nature and the proposed authority should have representation from chambers, broadcasters, cable operators, consumer groups, lawyers and retired judges, apart from Ministers.
Issues of concern
* To be a forward looking legislation, the Bill should be debated extensively across various stakeholders and sections of society before any conclusions are drawn by the government in implementing the same.
* Clear articulation of prudential norms, governing rules and regulations and a clear collaboration on paving the way forward is essential before any legislation is introduced.
* Stakeholders should include those directly involved in the Broadcasting ecosystem and also end consumers and target audiences.
*Create a level playing field in the broadcasting sector and relook at the allotment of Prime Band to Public Broadcasters, moreso since Doordarshan competes directly with private Broadcasters in earning revenues.
* Government to consider defining adult viewing hours and to broadcast their respective product advertisements in the said adult viewing hours.
* Relook Cross-Media Ownership Restrictions.
* Should be obligatory for central government to consult BRAI before formulating and prescribing any policy for the broadcasting sector, rather than framing a policy directly and having BRAI as an implementing authority.
* Examine content code, relevant rules, guidelines and regulations in detail and lay down a suitable framework in consultation with industry experts and stakeholders and carry the responsibility of establishing self-regulatory norms and standards.
* Provision to direct service provider to stop broadcasting its service or programme without reasonable notice and reasons should be perceived to be arbitrary and open to misuse.
* Principles of natural justice to be followed for all cases of search, seizure and confiscation of equipment, in terms of reasonable notice and show cause with opportunity to be heard.
* Content code as a code to be extensively debated, before finalization.
* Government to harmonize proposed bill with requirements of IT Act, 2000, in order to help avoid underlying conflicts.
Broadcasting sector is on the take-off point of assimilating convergence aspect of multiple technologies such as FM, CAS, DTH, arrival of IPTV, VoIP, DVBH, in a short time.
The proposed bill should inter alia catalyze globalization of the Indian content via inclusive participation of regional talent in order to maximize national productivity.