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TRAI to finalise recommendation on media ownership issues

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is in the process of finalising its recommendations on issues related to concentration of media ownership. The telecom and broadcast regulator had, earlier this year, floated a consultation paper on issues related to media ownership.

Speaking at CII’s Big Picture Summit, PD Vaghela, Chairman of TRAI, said, “The idea of media pluralism acts as a bulwark of strong and healthy democracy. It is antithetical of the phenomenon of concentration of media ownership, which has been identified with a number of problems. Undoubtedly, the most significant of these is the threat it poses to freedom of expression and democracy. Looking at the importance of the issue, we are in the process of framing recommendations on issues relating to media ownership.”

The regulator had earlier received a reference from I&B Ministry to re-examine issues such as cross-media ownership and vertical integration with the advent of new technology. It had earlier issued recommendations on the same in 2014.

OTT services
The telecom and broadcast regulator is also examining issues related to OTT services. “Recently we received references from the government for OTT-based services, and on matters arising due to convergence. Our experts are studying these issues with a view to creating a level playing field among various service provisioning mechanisms. Our objective will be to introduce a light touch framework to irons out inconsistencies created by technological disruptions,” Vaghela said.

Convergence of content
He also said that the regulatory framework must keep pace with new developments to ensure smooth adoption of new technologies and to protect state and consumer interests. “The primary area which requires attention of the regulatory regime is the convergence of content, wherein we need to deliberate on the possible alignment of regulatory regime, keeping in view the scenario of ‘multiple screens, same content,” he added. The Hindu BusinessLine

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