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Govt Shouldn’t Distribute Or Set Up TV Channels: TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended that no state body (like the state or central government) should be allowed to own or distribute its own television channel. The Authority adds that allowing a fully owned State government owned company is not in compliance with the rules laid down by the Supreme Court of India; the critical point which the SC referred to in its ruling was "Government Control", stating that "such control is bound to color and may even distort news, views and opinions". Government control could extend to all kinds of state government owned companies, undertakings, joint ventures and funded entities, and hence the TRAI has recommended that joint ventures in a PPP model should also not be allowed. Another important clause that has been a part of these recommendations has been TRAI’s suggestion to amend the definition of 'person' as contained in sub-clauses (ii) and (iii) of clause (e) of section 2 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. The authority has suggested that to remove the ambiguity associated with the term 'person'. Hence it has suggested to the MIB to clarify that entities such as State Governments and their instrumentalities, urban and local bodies, 3-tier Panchayati Raj bodies, publicly funded bodies, political parties and religious bodies do not fall within this definition of 'person'. These recommendations are an instrument to keep in check the airing of neutral information and programs, and hence the TRAI has also recommended that Prasar Bharti continue to remain…

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