The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) said that a comprehensive policy for the Media & Entertainment (M&E) sector is still underway as it involves bringing together various industries such as television, digital broadcasting and print in one place. The Ministry believes that each of these sectors has different challenges and therefore it is not an easy task to come up with a common policy for the M&E sector.
“The M&E policy is evolving. The M&E industry is divided into two to three parts. One is TV broadcasting, then FM radio broadcasting is separate, digital is separate again and media is separate again. Bringing it all together is a work in progress because it is there are many actors involved and the issues and challenges faced by each sector are different. Print media is completely different from other media. Digital has its own challenges and we want to promote digital in a different way,” MIB Secretary Apurva Chandra said in response to e4m question at an industry event last week.
M&E policy has been on the MIB agenda for the past four years. In fact, MIB Joint Secretary Vikram Sahay spoke about the M&E policy at the 7th Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Grand Summit in December 2018. Sahay said the ministry is working on a new policy framework in the changing media landscape.
Talking about the steps MIB is taking to improve ease of doing business in the broadcasting sector, Chandra said the ministry has launched the Broadcast Seva portal, which is a single gateway for obtaining all permissions related to Community Radio Stations (CRS), TV, Radio, DTH and Cable TV.
He also said that the Broadcast Seva portal will be linked with the portals of other ministries such as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the Ministry of Space (DoS) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) as they also require a broadcaster’s permission. for the acquisition of satellite capacity and licenses for TV channels. The portal is also integrated with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), enabling the MIB to retrieve details such as Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), company directors and balance sheets.
Responding to a query about the work the government is doing to prevent content piracy, the MIB secretary said the government is open to working with industry bodies to fight piracy. He also pointed out that the Cinematography Act is being amended to make piracy a serious offence. The Cinematography (Amendment) Bill, 2021 prescribes 3 to 6 months imprisonment and/or fine between Rs 50,000 and Rs 2 lakh for copyright infringement.
“Regarding content piracy, we are open to cooperation with all industry bodies and offer them any help, we can deal with their cases. The amendment is also envisaged in the Act on Cinematography, where a special section on piracy is introduced in the Piracy Act on Cinematography. We cooperate with industrial authorities. Content piracy as such is dealt with by copyright law. Again, whether a separate law is needed is a debatable question,” Chandra noted.