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Convergence

“There is a distinct effort to go in for as much regulation of content as possible. For the first time we are coming across a content censor in the country who cuts across all boundaries of mediums. It is an attempt to over-regulate a fledgling industry. Convergence is not yet a ground reality in this country.”

The I&B ministry is now revisiting an older draft legislation, the Broadcasting Bill, 1997, and the draft proposal for a Broadcasting Authority of India to examine how a regulator can be put in place for the broadcasting sector. Ministry sources said that since the time the draft bill was placed and amendments suggested, “the realisation has dawned that it is too premature”.

Britain passed a similar legislation in July this year after 10 years of separate regulators. Malaysia — on whose model the convergence bill was drafted — has watered down the powers of its convergence body. Australia and Japan also do not have it in place. Only the US — with the Federal Communications Commission — has a comparable body.

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