The all-crucial Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, which governs the print media, is set to undergo a massive change to contemporise the law, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni announced on Tuesday.
The provisions of the Act were inadequate to cater to the phenomenal growth of the print media in view of the government’s liberalisation policies.
Her declaration to amend the Act was made in her welcome address at the All-India Editors’ Conference on Social and Infrastructure Issues here. Ms. Soni said the Act had only been marginally amended so far and the current exercise would be completed soon.
Ms. Soni was of the view that the amendment was also necessary to give a level-playing field to the small and medium newspapers. The Ministry has also decided to hold a conference of State Information Ministers in early November to discuss various issues.
She called upon both the print and the electronic media to devote at least five per cent of their space for stories of raw courage and pluck, highlighting how the recent episode of young Rukhsana putting it across a terrorist had spread the consciousness that anyone could overcome a major threat. Such incidents needed to be highlighted for intrinsically strengthening the country.
As regards Kashmir, she said the Centre intended to invest about Rs.100 crore to improve the quality of broadcast coverage by setting up three high power (FM and TV) transmitters at Sirpath, Jasrota Top and Khalsar in the neighbouring areas of the State.
One FM transmitter will be established at Naushera, while a TV transmitter will be put up for DD-1 and DD-News at Rajouri. Besides, lower power FM transmitters will also to be set up at four locations.
The Ministry also proposed to open up more towns to private FM channels with special incentives for border areas under the new FM Phase III policy, which is on the anvil.
Apart from assuring the completion of the DD studio at Leh by 2010, Ms. Soni also said the programmes of DD Kashmir would be revised by January 1, 2010 to attract the younger generation.