Amend the Cable Act, says ex-CEO of Prasar Bharati

February 10th, 2010 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) Former Prasar Bharati CEO K.S. Sarma Wednesday said that the Cable Act should be amended so that education channels are not charged any carriage fee.
“The Cable Act should be amended to make it mandatory that no carriage fee is charged for our public broadcasting channels on education, health and environment,” said Sarma, who is the joint secretary in the information and broadcasting ministry.

He was speaking at the launch of six FM radio stations on education by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) Wednesday.

The function also saw the 10-year celebrations of Gyan Darshan, a bouquet of four educational TV channels which is a collaborative effort of IGNOU, Prasar Bharati, and the ministries of information technology and the human resource development.

While lauding the efforts of such initiatives, Sarma added that the penetration of such channels is still very low across the country.

“We must concentrate on the distribution of channels. The Gyan Darshan channels are available through the DTH which has a penetration of hardly 10 million, while cable TV has a penetration of hundreds of millions,” he said.

“But high carriage fee is a hindrance. As of now all channels pay an amount of Rs.2,000 crore to cable networks for a year. This is why I say that it should be made mandatory that no carriage fee is charged from educational channels,” Sarma added.

The director of Electronic Media Producing Centre (EMPC) of IGNOU, Ravi Kant, also made an appeal to Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Choudhury Mohan Jatua, who was the chief guest in the function, that the the carriage fee they pay should be waived off.

“We pay about Rs.6 million every year for each channel as carriage fee for transmission on DTH. We appeal to the minister that this fee be waived off,” he said.

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