The government is looking at setting up a nodal broadcasting authority, to deal with issues such as foreign direct investment, digitalisation, spectrum and expansion of TV ratings, apart from content regulation.

Last December, a taskforce was set up for such an agency, and on Monday, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni indicated that a final decision could come soon. It is likely to be called the Broadcasting Authority of India.

“Right now, we send most of these issues to TRAI [Telecom Regulatory Authority of India], but they already have plenty to do,” said Ms. Soni. “We are revisiting TRAI, bringing our issues back to our own Ministry.” TRAI is scheduled to respond to the Ministry on broadcasting concerns by June 30, she said.

On the issue of a content code, Ms. Soni said the Ministry was planning a policy and a mechanism for co-regulation, rather than leaving it to the media to self-regulate itself alone.

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Ms. Soni announced the expansion of a scheme for journalists’ welfare. Those from the electronic media have also been included under the Journalist Welfare Fund scheme to provide ex-gratia relief to journalists. The compensation amount has also been increased from Rs. one lakh to Rs. five lakh in case of death or permanent disability.

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