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Updated: October 18, 2009 12:45 IST

Autonomous body to look into broadcasting sector: Soni

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A file picture of Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni. Photo: V.Sudershan.
A file picture of Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni. Photo: V.Sudershan.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni on Sunday categorically said the government is mandated to set up an independent mechanism, which would look at all aspects of the broadcasting sector.

Speaking to Karan Thapar on his programme ‘Devil’s Advocate’ on CNN-IBN, Ms. Soni specifically said the intention of the government was not to regulate television news channels.

“Believe it or not, we are not putting a regulator to monitor content, that is not the intention of the government at all. It would be an independent autonomous body, without government control, which will look at all the ministry related issues,” she said.

When probed further as to why the ministry was planning to have a regulator for television news channels even though it has no such plans for the print media, Ms. Soni said, “What we are talking about is a mechanism. You may call it a regulator. It is not a regulator in the context of content control.

“There is a debate going on for a long time on what kind of a body should be there. I have not put a time frame to it (debate). I don’t know what everybody will decide. We have been speaking to News Broadcasters Association and other bodies of broadcasters. They all have their own self regulatory mechanisms.”

Ms. Soni added that she did not want the ministry “to play the role of a regulator. I have an absolutely open mind. I have clarified that I don’t want to regulate on behalf of the ministry but through some other mechanism which is autonomous.

“In fact the various broadcasters’ bodies have asked us to facilitate a nodal group of ministers which can be accessed by them in times of emergency (like Mumbai attacks)”.

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