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I&B min likely to decide on content code, broadcast Bill in two months
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New Delhi: A content code, the broadcast Bill and setting up a separate broadcast regulatory body are among several key issues that will be addressed by the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) within the next two months. The I&B ministry has put in place a two-month time frame to evolve a broader consensus on all matters, including the formation of an alternate TV measurement system according to the recommendations of the broadcast regulator Trai and discussions on accepting new applications for setting up TV channels.

<img style="float: left; margin: 0 10px 0 0;" src="http://static.expressindia.com/expressindia/newpic/action1.jpg" />“We do not want to use words like ‘code’, ‘regulation’, or ‘guidelines’ while discussing various important issues before the ministry. I want a response from every stakeholder, including resident welfare associations, NGOs and others on all issues…We will see progress on several of these issues by May, when I plan to update Parliament,” I&B minister Ambika Soni told FE.

A new content code for all categories of broadcasters may get the I&B ministry’s nod within the next two months, according to official sources. “We are close to finalising the draft code for all broadcasters. This has been done at the initiative of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and the ministry. After vetting it from consumers and NGOs, it may get the I&B ministry’s approval,” a senior government official said.

The I&B ministry has sought the comments of Trai on the formation of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), a body of advertisers and broadcasters for setting up an alternate television ratings agency. “Upon Trai’s recommendations, BARC was supposed to be set up within a reasonable span of time. It has not become operational so far. We have written to Trai, seeking its views on whether legal action can be taken against BARC,” a senior I&B official said.

Also on the agenda is the contentious issue of mustering support for the broadcast Bill, a piece of legislation that one enacted, will govern the media and entertainment space. First initiated in 1997, the broadcast Bill, in its various forms, has been opposed by various stakeholders. “We have adopted a transparent approach on every issue. All stakeholders will be consulted on all key issues,” said Soni. The setting up of a separate regulator for the broadcast sector is also on the agenda and is expected to get a positive nod from broadcasters and other stakeholders, according to industry sources.

Source: The Financial Express

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