Home India News Indian government not to control or censor media

Indian government not to control or censor media

By NNN-Bernama,

New Delhi : Making it amply clear that the Indian government was completely against any control of the media or censorship, India’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni Tuesday said she had initiated a discussion on how an autonomous body can look into all media-related issues.

“The UPA government under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is against any kind of control (on media) or censorship. In fact, we have initiated a discussion with broadcasters on what kind of a body can be formed which can be an independent regulator, looking into all aspects of the broadcasting sector,” the Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted Soni as saying while interacting with business leaders at the PHD Chamber.

Soni said that the government was not planning to curb the freedom of the press or was trying to bring in any kind of strictures against the media, especially in the post Mumbai terror attack scenario, and that it was looking at developing a roadmap which could address concerns of the civil society and at the same time see to it that rights of the press are not infringed upon.

The minister, who spoke on the subject ‘Government Regulation Vs Self Regulation’, said “people think that the long pending Broadcast Bill had been planned by the government to control content. However, the Prime Minister has given me the mandate to initiate a discussion on it so that, if possible, it can be reframed in such a manner which is acceptable to all”.

Soni said as part of the government, her ministry does not want to issue notices and advisories to television channels on various contents shown by them.

“We have issued about 268 such notices. We don’t want to do this, but can’t help it. I feel self regulation is possible by media houses and they are doing it also. Thus, for addressing all these issues, we are trying to come out with an independent regulator or a mechanism, whatever it can be called,” Soni said.

The mechanism, she said, would be bereft of government pressures, and act independently to address all concerns of the broadcasting sector.

She assured the gathering that the government was abreast of all other issues relating to TRP ratings, streamlining entry of new television channels and curbing unauthorised channels being beamed in various parts of the country.

“The ministry is planning to rationalise the TRP business… This will happen soon, we are on it,” Soni said when asked about what the government plans to do to streamline the TRP rating system.

She also said the I&B ministry was mulling introduction of a lock system or earmark timings during which adult content cannot be shown.

“We are working on a suggestion where parental lock system can be introduced so that parents can stop children from viewing adult content. There is a suggestion wherein adult content can be allowed on television only during 11 pm to 4 am. This is being considered as of now,” she said.