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Prime-time clamour greets minister

Javadekar

New Delhi, May 27: A long list of demands awaits new information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar, who had been one of the BJP’s most visible prime-time faces.

The 63-year-old Rajya Sabha MP has also been given charge of the environment ministry.

Shailesh Shah, secretary general of the Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF), outlined some key issues. These include steps to ensure continued digitisation of the cable business and an end to carriage fees paid to distributors who carry channel signals. “We have a lot of expectations from the new government,” Shah said.

Another demand is to end the 12-minute cap on TV ads for every hour of programming. “If a viewer finds ads bothersome, he or she has the choice not to watch the channel,” another IBF official said.

Cable operators had competing claims. “The previous government totally overlooked the interests of cable operators in favour of the big players of broadcasting. We have certain genuine demands, like a licence of 10 years, and increased revenue shares,” said Roop Sharma, the president of the Cable Operators Federation of India.

Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, too, is set to push its old demands for greater autonomy. “The government seems open and receptive. For the betterment of Doordarshan and All India Radio, we need a great deal of co-operation from the ministry and we hope we will get that,” said Prasar CEO Jawhar Sircar, who had voiced his differences with the UPA government several times.