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National Broadcasting Policy

  • Published
    22nd Sep, 2023
Context

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.

Significance:

  • 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.

Governing agencies:

  • 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.
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