Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Thursday asked the broadcast industry to consider the idea of having a separate techno-commercial regulator for the sector in view of the rapid changes the sector is witnessing and the unique issues and problems it is facing. He,however,made it clear that the government has no intention or desire to control the content.
Addressing a gathering of broadcast CEOs,Tewari also sought to address their concern over broadcast regulator TRAIs recent decision to limit the duration of advertisements in television channels to a maximum of 12 minutes per hour. The minister said he has already asked senior officials of his ministry to take up the matter with TRAI and find a solution.
Tewari asked the broadcast industry to think aloud in the direction of having a separate techno-commercial regulator for the broadcasting sector given the fact that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India already has a lot on its plate. The ministers pitch comes at a time when broadcasters are up in arms against the TRAIs regulation on limiting the duration of advertisements.
He argued that the government has no role in the TRAI regulation,saying we do not do indirectly what we do not want to do directly. Tewari said the government and TRAI was not playing good cop bad cop. He said if the government wanted to enforce this regulation because it is a part of the licensing conditions which you have undertaken voluntarily,we could have done it directly. This has not been our intent ever.
Tewari also asked the broadcasters to expedite the process of putting in place its own television viewership measurement mechanism. Setting up of a viable measurement system for assessing the audience tastes and preferences would enable the broadcasting industry to position sustainable revenue models. The broadcasting industry needed to initiate immediate steps for setting up the BARC mechanism,he said.