MIB to come out with Draft National Broadcast Policy soon: Neerja Shekar
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) is in the process of coming up with a Draft National Broadcast Policy and consultations on the AVGC Policy too will be held very soon. This was revealed by Neerja Shekar, Additional Secretary (Broadcasting) & CVO, MIB, in her address at the 9th CII BIG Picture Summit yesterday (December 17, 2020).
“Though, the consultations on the National Broadcasting Policy were held with the stakeholders and by the industry some time back, we have been putting in various parts together and including the emerging issues as well. I feel that we are getting pretty close to coming up with a draft version. AVGC being an emerging sector with great potential we are also working on it. And we will be holding consultations very soon,” Shekar said during a Special Plenary, ‘Transformative Policy for Bigger Picture’, held on the second day of the Summit.
Saying that media and entertainment is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Indian economy with potential to contribute significantly in India’s move towards becoming a $5 trillion economy, Shekar said that all the forms of media are growing simultaneously not necessarily at the cost of the other because the reach of different forms of media can be region specific or platform specific. “The consumers are looking at all these platforms separately for the kind of content and the kind of entertainment that they are catering. TV, print, radio, films, and digital all have been moving together,” she added.
Speaking about granting infrastructure status to the broadcast industry, Shekar sought the industry’s support in terms of giving important inputs to the ministry. “We have been trying to support the broadcasting by getting it declared as infrastructure. But we have not been able to succeed because the few times that we went to the finance ministry they were not convinced with our arguments. I would request the broadcasting industry and the OTT platforms to please support us on this because we will need your help in taking this case to the finance ministry and convince them that as the status of infrastructure has been given to the telecommunication sector, we are also a fit area for that. But we will not be able to do it without your support.”
She also sought help from the industry bodies like CII to help the Ministry in policy making by conducting “good periodic surveys and research” on media consumption patterns. “We work on data and what is happening in the market as there has to be a co-relation with the reality. But the data is available on a piecemeal basis. A good periodic survey will help us make policies, as our data is dispersed,” Shekar added.
Highlighting the need for a regulatory framework, the Additional Secretary Broadcasting said, “Though all over the world, particularly in democracies, a regulatory framework is essential for every sector to grow. But in strong democracies this regulatory framework has to be a supportive framework.” She also called for adopting self regulation by the industry.