Govt proposes amendment to Cable Network Regulation Act

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New Delhi, Apr 24 (UNI) Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi today announced in the Lok Sabha that the government will amend the Cable Network Regulation Act to streamline telecast and fee charged by cable operators for the relay of television channels' programmes.

Replying to the debate on the demand of grants for the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in the House, Mr Dasmunsi said a plenary meeting would be held in Mumbai soon to frame an official policy for checking the increasing piracy of films and music.

He said the Law Ministry was being consulted to give the final shape to the proposed amendment. The Government does not want to bypass the state which would also be consulted in this regard, he added.

The Minister was, however, highly appreciable of the Tamil Nadu government for regulating cable charges for the poor sections of society.

Responding to the concern voiced by several MPs over what they said the scant coverage of Parliament in the media, particularly in English newspapers, the Minister assured the House to take the matter up at the earliest. Next week, he said, a high-level meeting would be convened in the Ministry to chalk out a strategy on how to pursue the issue.

However, Mr Dasmunsi made it clear that he was not in favour of imposing any control or check on the press for the purpose. The press will be persuaded to give better coverage of Parliamentary proceedings. Some irate members asked the government not to supply news print at concessional rates to the newspapers which tended to ignore the coverage of the country's highest institution, Parliament.

Referring to the overexposure of sex, crime and violence by private TV channels, the Minister said the government was fully aware of it and was taking steps to check this diversion. The Ministry has issued 280 notices and in some cases defaulting channels were disallowed to telecast their programmes for a period as part of the punishment.

The Minister was highly critical of the ongoing TRP mechanism, saying it was not a real assessment at all but a ''game plan and manipulation'' for procuring higher revenues for a channel through advertisement.

Mr Dasmunsi also announced to set up an Urdu Advisory Group, comprising writers and playwrights of repute, to further improve the content and display of the 24-hour Urdu channel of Doordarshan.This channel had already attracted a sizable viewership and was becoming popular among Pakistanis too, he added.

The Minister counted achievements of his Ministry at length and claimed that Doordarshan coverage had been extended to Jammu and Kashmir and North-Eastern states which were out of purview only two years ago.

Mr Dasmunsi announced he would call a meeting of the leaders of Prasar Bharati employees who are planning to resort to an agitation for their demands, including a pay hike, on April 29.

EDS: Pls pick up suitably from earlier series.

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