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Inter-ministerial group looking into TRAI’s cross-media ownership recos: I&B min

NEW DELHI: Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Prakash Javadekar today said that the government is weighing the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendations on cross-media ownership.

prakash-javdekar-main“We have received those recommendations which we are considering at our end. We are also considering it with the ministries concerned. An inter-ministerial group is working on that. Once we come to conclusion, we will let you know,” Javadekar said during a press conference.

Javadekar also said that the government will encourage deployment of indigenous set-top boxes (STBs) for Phases III and IV of digital addressable system (DAS). The minister had held a meeting with Indian STB manufacturers to discuss ways in which indigenous production of STBs can be incentivised.

On the third and fourth phases of cable TV digitisation, the ministry has constituted a task force to steer digitisation of about 8 crore or 80 million cable TV homes in the remaining two phases.

Earlier, the government had declared STBs as telecom network equipment to help domestic manufacturers to produce them at more competitive prices by availing tax exemptions.

On cross-media, the TRAI had earlier recommended several measures including taking news and current affairs as the relevant genre for formulating cross-media ownership rules as it is of utmost importance and direct relevance to the plurality and diversity of viewpoints.

TRAI recommended that the practice of ‘private treaties’ should be immediately banned through orders of the PCI or through statutory rules and regulations given the inherent conflict of interest arising from such practices.

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