Privacy, which once was treasured as the most precious thing for a man, is being thrown to the wind in this digital world. While personal data of the people have long been collected by social media giants like Facebook and technology leaders such as Google, in India, Aadhaar has been the first government document to collect the private information about a person. While it is good to stop corruption to a certain extent, the larger question remains about infringement on privacy. The battle has just begun, and the government is adamant on linking Aadhaar with nearly all services despite Supreme Court’s directions and people’s cry.
A few months back veteran film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was beaten up by so called Kerni Sena while shooting his latest controversial film ‘Padmawati’ in Rajasthan. Since then, he and his film have been on the hit list of so many fringe groups claiming to be protector of history, culture and ‘asmita’. Political parties and ruling governments showed that they are totally boneless, and spinelessly surrendered before fringe groups protesting against the film. Many of them put large money on the heads of stars of the film.
Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President of India at the Valedictory of Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Press Council of India, on the occasion of the National Press Day, in New Delhi on November 16, 2017 addressed the press making far reaching comments on the present state of the media. We bring you the full text of his speech.
In November 2011 the government cleared a bill for digitization of Cable Television Industry, to provide choice and better services to the consumers. It also aimed to bring transparency and accountability of revenue both for the stakeholders as well as the government. It was not a happy start as there was no infrastructure to make digital signals reach every region of the country, in particularly the rural areas and hinterlands. There was no manufacturing support for digital STBs leaving MSOs and Cable Operators at the mercy of foreign manufacturers. Lack of funds with small as well as large MSOs also posed a big problem. Contrary to the initial perception that the National MSOs like Siti Cable, Hathways, InCable and DEN were well prepared with their resources for the job, they also bled through the process running short of funds to create infrastructure as well as procurement of STBs. Six years hence, we are still struggling to digitize about 40 million households, mostly in Phase 3 and 4.
Today, the news agencies’ reputation is at stake not because of some outside threat, but just because some yellow minded media men want to earn big or destroy someone’s image or create conflict between two communities by destabilising the centuries old trust of the people all over the world. Fake news is highly dangerous and may create riots and break human harmony in any society, leading to conflicts and serious law and order problems. We also see it in our country.
Minister for Information & Broadcasting and Textiles Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani has said that the model structure of broadcasting should focus on democratized viewership. This should be based on an accurate measurement system that reflects the strength of regional languages, varied tastes of viewers/consumers and bridges the divide on issues related to agenda setting, creative content and revenue between the mainstream and regional platforms. Smt. Irani stated this while delivering the Sardar Patel Memorial Lecture 2017 on 26 October on the topic “Model for Broadcast landscape for Democracies.”
Demonetization, GST and pending regulatory issues have halted the growth of the industry emonetization declared on 8 November 2016 has been much discussed and criticised. It also found words of appreciation and many called it a path-breaking step in Indian economy. But the fact is it brought industries to its knees with job cuts, depletion of revenue and massive discomfort to the common man. Media and entertainment was no exception, it also suffered deep revenue cut as advertisers withdrew their ads.
The policy for digitization and restructuring of cable TV industry has been under consideration and planning since 2003 when the CAS amendment to the Cable TV Act was introduced. Millions of rupees were spent by MSOs in importing STBs, mostly from China and I&B Ministry was very much aware of this. Country had no manufacturing support for STBs and a demand of 150 million STBs were required to implement CAS. No efforts were also made to encourage indigenous manufacture resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in foreign exchange.
On 8th November 2017, the government will be celebrating ‘the Anti Black Money Day’ whereas the opposition parties will protest against the demonetisation process and its negative impact on the medium and small industries. Although, an year ago, on 8th November 2016, PM Modi told the public to wait for 50 days to complete Demonetisation and enjoy ‘Achhe Din’ once black money is removed from the country, none of this is visible even now, after an year.
There is an old saying, ‘An image is worth a thousand words’. Now we can say ‘a video is worth a million words’. It is human tendency to get attracted more and faster by moving visuals than words. Earlier, people had no freedom of choice and convenience, but they had always longed for some system which can free them and fulfil their long drought – watching video of their choice, at their time and in privacy.
We all are aware how the BJP led by PM Modi won the last Lok Sabha elections using Social media creating a blitzkrieg of a sort. After that, every political party has understood the value of new media and started creating new media cells to counter the propaganda of BJP with online videos, messages and images. The massive proliferation of new media after 2014, has created a full fledged Industry in the country. Today there are thousands of app designers and mobile content creators in the country. In fact many of these companies are catering to the global market.
The National Telecom Policy, NTP-2012, had suggested the licensing of Virtual Network Operators (VNO) delinking licenses for networks from the delivery of services. TRAI was asked to give its recommendations on the issue including associated issues of definition of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) under the UL regime’. The Authority had given its recommendations on “Introducing Virtual Network Operators in telecom sector” on 1st May, 2015.