Recently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a pre-consultation paper on the framework and issues to be considered for forming the National Broadcasting Policy.
Key Points of the paper:
The Policy may provide a common approach for licenses, oversight, and compliances.
The “broad contours” of the proposed policy include;
Promoting content production in India that promotes Indian culture,
Expanding institutional capacity, promoting research, and
Adopting a “coherent and modernized approach” to legacy mediums like print, radio and television, as well as for digital media, such as streaming services.
The draft refers to restructuring of legal, licensing and regulatory frameworks for reaping the benefits of convergence, indicating a more uniform approach to traditional and digital mediums.
The broadcast policy is going to provide a common approach for licences, oversight, and compliances.
Currently, the sector is governed by service specific Act, rules and guidelines for various licence/ registration/ permission issued from time to time.
The National Broadcasting Policy is also expected to frame guidelines for having a credible Audience Measurement System, besides focusing on the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) segment.
Need of such a Policy:
According to TRAI, a policy is needed as the broadcasting sector is also undergoing unprecedented changes due to evolving technologies similar to the telecom sector.
Moreover, there are social or behavioral changes in viewing patterns and viewer’s way of consuming entertainment.
It pressed for the need of establishing a unified policy framework and spectrum management regime for broadcast and broadband technologies.
A policy can provide a channelised approach for the sector and provide appropriate impetus for development.
Major Broadcasting agencies in India:
Doordarshan (DD): Doordarshan is India's public service broadcaster and one of the oldest television networks in the country. It operates several channels, including DD National, DD News, and DD Sports.
Star India: A subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, Star India is one of the largest and most prominent broadcasting networks in India.
It operates channels like Star Plus, Star Sports, Star Movies, and more.
Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN): SPN is a major player in the Indian broadcasting industry. It owns channels such as Sony Entertainment Television, Sony Ten, and Sony PIX.
Present Broadcasting Rules in India:
Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995: This act provides for the regulation of cable television networks in India.
It includes provisions related to the registration of cable operators, the content code to be followed by cable operators, and the establishment of the Cable Television Network Regulation Authority (TRAI).
Digital Addressable System (DAS):
DAS was introduced to ensure transparency in the cable TV sector.
It mandates the use of set-top boxes (STBs) for cable TV services to provide consumers with the choice of channels and to curb unauthorized distribution.
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB): The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is the primary government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies and programs related to broadcasting, including television and radio.
It oversees the licensing of broadcasting services and content regulations.
Prasar Bharati: Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body established under the Prasar Bharati Act. It operates Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR), which are the public service broadcasters in India.
Prasar Bharati's role includes ensuring the impartiality and objectivity of news and programming on DD and AIR.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI): TRAI is the regulatory authority for telecommunications and broadcasting services in India.
It plays a crucial role in regulating issues related to tariffs, quality of service, interconnection, and competition in the broadcasting sector.
Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC): BCCC is a self-regulatory body established by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF).
It addresses complaints related to content broadcasted by television channels that are members of IBF.