'Keep government, politicians out of broadcast business'

New Delhi


The national media policy should announce governments and politicians should not be in the business of broadcast, sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman Rahul Khullar said here Saturday.

"Politicians... government, state governments, their organs have absolutely no business whatsoever being in broadcasting and platform space. It is my view that government needs to announce this as integral part in national media policy," he said at the CII Big Picture Summit.

On Aug 12, the TRAI released the "Recommendations on the Issues relating to Media Ownership", which proposed a single independent media regulatory authority for television and print media.

"The regulatory body should consist of eminent persons from different walks of life, including the media. It should be manned predominantly by eminent non-media people," the recommendation said.

The job of the media regulatory authority will be to check and impose penalties for "paid news", "private news" and issues related to editorial independence.

"The entities (political bodies, religious bodies, urban, local, panchayati raj, and other publicly funded bodies, and central and state government ministries, departments, companies, undertakings, joint ventures, and government-funded entities and affiliates) to be barred from entry into broadcasting and TV channel distribution sectors," TRAI said.

Khullar added: "Let me tell you what I think should be component of a national media policy. First, there must be a clear articulation that we want a free media, unhampered and unrestricted by the government in any way whatsoever."

"I firmly believe that it is time for us to have national debate on whether we can allow practices such as largely prevalent in media and practices such as Chief Minister's controlling media distribution platform, without harming national interest," he said. - IANS