The Summit was duly inaugurated by Shri S.K. Arora, Hon’ble Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. The Conference also graced by Smt. Sharmila Tagore, Chairperson, Central Board of Film Certification, had several others senior officers from Media and Entertainment Sector as distinguished Speakers. The Conference resulted in the following recommendations:–
1. The issue regarding independence of the Regulator needs to be revisited to ensure an independent and autonomous regulator. The proposed regulator should be a statutory authority, which cannot be hired or fired by the Government at its will. It is an incomplete legislation in the sense that it does not deal with Digital Broadcasting. There is also a need to rationalize the proposed Bill with the InformationTechnology Act, 2000 so as to ensure that there is no conflict between the Indian Cyber law, being the mother legislation and the proposed bill\ /There is a distinct need for bringing in an appropriate balance in the proposed bill regarding the public and private sector broadcasters and their rights and interests. While there is a need to ensure sharing of sports broadcast signals with public service broadcasters, there is also an equally important need to create right balance to ensure the private players are not competed against commercially on shared signals, under the garb of public service broadcasting.
2. The proposed bill had incorporated wide powers in broadcast regulation like the power of entry, search and seizure into the channel offices, including newsrooms. There is a need to incorporate various checks and balances to ensure that the misuse of these wide powers could be appropriately prevented. However, there is a need for imposing restrictions and also balancing the needs of different categories of viewers, Adult and Non- Adult. We cannot ban adult content altogether. Introducing late night slots, adult viewing hours can be a practical solution.
3. The proposed bill needs to incorporate parameters to ensure effective implementation of the provisions of the law.
4. There are already many existing laws and regulations which are governing the broadcasting scene in India. We have not yet reached a point when we need to look into monopolies and introduce fresh Cross - Media regulations as it would be detrimental to the further growth and proliferation of multi-systems and cross media operators.
5.The Bill is not specific in its definition of the public sector broadcaster, which, by the traditional definition, can be an entity educating the society. However, there are a number of broadcasting channels, which are working independent of the government and are yet engaged in programming which comes within the ambit of public service broadcasting. Thus, clarity needs to be imparted in this case to elaborate as to who needs to be governed by what parameters.
6. There is a need for ensuring that Cable Operators must be treated at par with the broadcasters.
7. There is a need to create harmonious environment for the co-existence of the cable operators and the broadcasters.
8. Self-Regulation is the key in the broadcasting sector today as Broadcasters today are global entities providing similar content all over the world. Therefore, the proposed bill needs to encourage the growth of Sensible Self-Regulation in the broadcasting sector.
9. Legislative freedom needs to be given to ensure that artistic creativity doesn’t lose its identity. Freedom can be given to broadcasters to maintain their own system of rating like the film industry.
10. lt is necessary for the Government to seriously consider the recommendations of TRAI on a converged regulatory regime specially as we are rapidly moving forward with commercial IPTV operations and India should have mobile TV available early next year.
11. At a time when digital broadcasting is the need of the hour, the government is seriously encouraged to ensure the coverage of electronic media in the proposed bill.
12. The copyright licensing under the proposed Bill needs to be reviewed and needs to be made more explicit in terms of how the licensing for IPR will take place.
13. Assocham is in favour of an enabling, light handed non-intrusive legislation, which provides for responsive self-regulation.