Government prefers self-regulation by media: Soni

New Delhi : Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said Tuesday that the government “gives preference” to self-regulation by the media in determining content of programmes.

Talking to reporters here after a roundtable with chief executive officers of media organisations, the minister said most Indian homes had one television set and the content should be such that members of a family are able to watch television together.

“The government gives preference to self-regulation,” she said.

Representatives of Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF) and National Broadcasting Association (NBA) said that the government could notify the content code prepared by the NBA under the cable act.

The IBF is also in the process of finalising a content code and it could also be incorporated in the cable act, they said.

They said a systematic audience research mechanism is being evolved to remove drawbacks of the current system of measurement of TRP ratings.

Speaking at the roundtable, Soni said the broadcasting sector in the country was not looking down and different fields of broadcasting in the country are projected to grow between 13 to 19 percent in the next four years.

“I don’t think we are dealing with a sector which is looking down,” she said in her opening remarks at “CEOs’ roundtable on broadcast” organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here.

She said despite downsizing of the economy in 2008-09, the broadcast sector had witnessed growth.

Soni said her ministry has held wide consultations on the need for setting up an independent regulator for the broadcast sector.

“All of us are sensitive to the word ‘regulatory’. We (the ministry) have been interactive and participative in the process,” she said.

In his introductory remarks, Shekhar Gupta, chairman of CII national committee on media and editor-in-chief of the Indian Express, said media should learn to regulate itself and work out a self-regulatory mechanism.

He said the media had expanded vastly but there was also free-for-all in the market.

The day-long roundtable of chief executive officers from various media organisations with the minister discussed issues related to management and development of the broadcasting sector, programme code and self-regulation, and television rating points and its social impact on TV content.

The roundtable was attended by top officials from the information and broadcasting ministry and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India besides representatives from NBA and IBF.

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