States being consulted on broadcast bill: MinisterJuly 13th, 2009 - 7:04 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) A broadcast bill that aims at monitoring and regulating the content of the electronic media is being examined in consultation with various stakeholders, including the state governments, parliament was informed Monday.
The draft bill proposes to set up an independent Broadcasting Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) and one its major functions would be monitoring and regulation of content, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting C.M.Jatua said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
The proposed regulator will be empowered to issue regulations regarding the places, types and quantity of equipment to be provided by the service providers free of cost for monitoring of content and the manner in which such monitoring may be carried out by the licensing authorities or authorized officers under the bill, Jatua said.
The broadcast bill has been embroiled in controversy as many fear that the statute and the proposed content code may be used by the government to control and muzzle the electronic media.
The issue came into sharp focus after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks when the government felt that the 24/7 competitive coverage of the carnage by TV channels had compromised national security by giving away to the attackers details of the movement of the security forces and of the civilians trapped in Mumbai’s Taj Hotel.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni has stressed on debate among stakeholders to evolve a consensus on the contentious issue.
“I feel the matter should be debated among the media and the government at every level, especially when the draft bill is already in the public domain, but it is not on top of my priority,” Soni had said in a recent interview.
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