A high-level conference will be held in New Delhi in December to discuss the formulation of State laws with provisions similar to those in the Goondas Act of Tamil Nadu to crack down on film and video piracy, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni said on Wednesday.

Addressing Frames 2009, a two-day conclave on ‘Media and Entertainment Business’ hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Ms. Soni said a draft of the Tamil Nadu Act would be circulated among Information Ministers and Chief Ministers attending the December 5 meet. The conference would discuss the way forward in addressing the issue of TV content quality in the context of the proliferation of channels.

Stating that self-regulation was indeed the ideal advocacy, Ms. Soni said there was at the same time a need to balance the freedom of expression guaranteed in the Constitution and the rights and sensitivities of civil society – a point she reiterated during a brief interaction with journalists on the sidelines of the event.

“With over 500 channels licensed to air content, we need a mechanism to address broadcasting concerns,” she said.

Ms. Soni announced a national retrospective on Kamal Haasan films in New Delhi next year to mark the actor’s completion of 50 years in cinema. She termed as unfair international guidelines that restricted the Kamal Haasan retro at the Goa International Festival of India to just three films.

Inaugurating the conclave, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said his government had been doing its best to promote the growth of the cinema industry by scaling down entertainment tax from 54 per cent to 40 in 1989 to 25 per cent in 2000. Now, the tax was completely waived for movies with Tamil titles. The Chief Minister said the media and entertainment industry was among the fastest growing sectors of the Indian economy. The sector had raked in about Rs. 584 billion in 2008 – a growth rate of 12.4 per cent over the previous year. The sector was projected to grow to an estimated Rs. 1,052 billion by 2013.

Noting that the film industry in Tamil Nadu was marked by world-class studios, committed artistes and professionalism, Mr. Karunanidhi said the State should emerge as an international entertainment hub. Already, Sony Pictures had opened a state-of-the-art facility here. Warner Brothers Motion Picture Imaging had entered into a strategic alliance with Prasad Corporation for digital post-production and film restoration.

Kamal Haasan, the conclave chairman, said there were no borders in the film industry. He urged participants to join common cause to “get ready for tomorrow.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Yash Chopra, chairman, FICCI entertainment panel, said regional cinema was represented abroad as Brand India.

Chief Secretary K.S. Sripathi and actor Sarath Kumar spoke.

New Delhi meet to consider Tamil Nadu Goondas Act

Retrospective on Kamal Haasan films next year