Apply same content control laws to IPTV as TV channels: TRAI

Apply same content control laws to IPTV as TV channels: TRAI

New Delhi, 6 September Broadcast regulator TRAI today proposed that the content of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) channels should be regulated by the same laws as applicable to the existing television channels.

In a “position paper" circulated on the issue, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) also observed that both telecom service providers and cable TV operators can provide IPTV service without requiring any further license or registration.

“The content will be regulated under up-linking or down-linking guidelines issued by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting," TRAI said in its paper, inviting public comments till 20 September.

The regulator suggested that there should be no bar on broadcasters or content providers to provide content to IPTV service providers. Further, violation of licence terms by the broadcaster, telecom or cable operators should be dealt with by respective agencies responsible for administering laws.

TRAI’s paper seeks to address various contentious issues concerning the new IPTV technology, which enables users to watch television channels through Internet.

Being broadcast through the telecom network, IPTV so far remains outside of any law governing the content of channels. Laws are more difficult to apply on IPTV as it is based on Internet, can be launched from anywhere in the world and can show any channel, including the banned ones.

The lack of clarity on content control and FDI norms in this new broadcasting platform has led to a tussle between telecom operators and broadcasters. While broadcasters are governed under the Cable Television Network Regulation Act, 1995 for the purpose of content control, telecom operators do not come under such laws.