MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting took several policy initiatives and operational measures to smoothen the flow of information upto the masses and facilitating better content on the electronic media during the year.
The major initiatives include:
Film Festivals Organised
The Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), in collaboration with the Goa Government, held the 38th International Film Festival of India in Nov- Dec, 2007. A total of 176 films from forty six countries including 59 from India were screened during this Festival which was inaugurated by the noted film actor Shahrukh Khan.
As part of IFFI, an exhibition of rare cine equipments â€“ â€œBehind The Framesâ€ was organised. This exhibition saw large participation and was appreciated by all delegates. Films produced by Films Division on freedom movement in India were screened in a special section â€œIndia @ sixtyâ€ at IFFI 2007.
DFF also organized an Egyptian Film Festival in October 2007. Films were screened during three-day Festival. Russian Film festival was organized in April 2007.
Films Division organized a two day film festival in Bangalore on the occasion of â€˜Vigyan Utsav â€“ 2007 in November 2007. The Division in collaboration with Regional Museum of Natural History, Bangalore also conducted a film festival on â€˜Wildlifeâ€™ during November. Films Division organized Swatantrata Filmotsav in August 2007 commemorating 150 years of 1857. A total of 55 films with patriotism as theme were screened during four-day Festival.
A week long Childrenâ€™s Film Festival was organized in Hyderabad in November 2007 where in 40 films were screened in the competitive and non-completive sections.
Film Co-production Agreements Signed
India signed Audio-Visual Co-production agreement with Germany. This would considerably facilitate â€“ film producers in each othersâ€™ territory. Audio-Visual Co-production agreement signed with Brazil too. Signing of similar agreement with UK is in the final stages. With such agreements in place the film producers from either country get special facilities. They get an opportunity to pool their creative/artistic/technical financial and marketing resources to co-produce film and television programmes. Risks get shared and there is wider natural audience base. The chances of Indian locales being utilized for shooting raises the visibility of India considered approval of shooting destination. With the liberalization of shooting guidelines for the foreigner shooting films in India, there has been a marked increase in films being shot in India. The cost competitive post production sector of the film industry will stand to gain from the agreements.
Film shooting procedure for foreigners in India simplified
The procedure for shooting of films by foreigners in India has been simplified. Processing of the application for granting permission, in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs, will normally not take more than three weeks. If the film requires shooting in sensitive areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-Eastern India or border areas of the country etc., the application will be considered for specific approval in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs. In such cases clearing of applications would require more time to process.< Page Break >
DAVPâ€™s New Advertisement Policy
The new DAVP advertisement policy was announced in October 2007. In this policy the quota for advertisements for small papers has been increased from 10 to 15 % and for medium newspapers from 30 to 35%. As per the new policy, 50 per cent of all DAVP advertisements in rupee terms will go to big newspapers, 35 per cent to medium newspapers and 15 per cent to small publications. Earlier, 60 per cent of all advertisements had gone to big newspapers with medium and small newspapers given 30 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. Across the three slabs, English newspapers will now get 30 per cent of all advertisements while Hindi and other languages will get 35 per cent each. Earlier, English newspapers were entitled to 50 per cent of all advertisements
It also has increased support through DAVP to newspapers in regional and other languages like Bodo, Dogri, Kashmiri, Khasi, Konkani, Maithili, Manipuri, Nepali, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Urdu and tribal languages. Newspapers in these languages will now be able to empanel with the DAVP even if their circulation is less than 500 copies. Earlier, only newspapers in Sanskrit were entitled to this concession. Also, newspapers in all these languages can apply for empanelment with six months of publication experience as against the earlier requirement of a minimum of 12 months. As for all other regional language small and medium newspapers, they can apply for empanelment after 18 months instead of 36 months.
Further, the Government has relaxed the circulation check requirement. The new policy envisages no circulation check of newspapers with circulation of up to 25,000 against the existing limit of 6,000.
FM Radio Channels
During the period from January to November 2007, as many as 103 FM Radio Channels were commissioned, bringing the total number of functioning FM channels in the country to 150. The process is on for the allotment of another 97 private FM radio stations from the second phase.< Page Break >
Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill
The Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill has been redrafted after considering the comments of stakeholders and revised / redrafted Bill has been posted on the website of the Ministry for wider consultations. Responses received have been both for and against the Bill, the consultation process is underway.
The Bill also envisages a Content Code which has also been separately posted on the website of the Ministry for wider consultation for seeking comments from the public as well as the stake holders.
The need has been felt to regulate the content going into public domain to ensure conformity with acceptable contemporary community standards and to protect the vulnerable sections from harmful and undesirable content on TV.
The Self Regulation Guidelines (Guidelines) formulated and posted on the Ministry website set out principles, guidelines and ethical practices, which shall guide the Broadcasting Service Provider (BSP) in offering their programming services in India so as to conform to the Certification Rules prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (regulations) Act 1995, irrespective of the medium/platform used for broadcasting of the programme. These Guidelines have been drafted to introduce greater specificity and detail with a view to facilitate self regulation by the broadcasting industry and minimize scope for subjective decision by regulatory authorities or the broadcasting service providers. The basic underlying principles of these Guidelines is that the responsibility of complying with the provisions of the Certification Rules vests with the BSP.
CAS Implemented in notified Areas
Conditional Access System (CAS) was implemented in a smooth manner in the specified areas of four metros i.e. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. The system has stabilized giving viewers in the covered areas a better choice in terms of programmes on TV. The success of CAS has made the Government consider expanding the scheme to additional areas. < Page Break >
The Mobile Train Exhibition on commemoration of 150 years of 1857, 60 years of independence and birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh was flagged off on 28th September 2007. The Azadi Express is a project of Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Ministry of Culture. The exhibition train will journey throughout the country for eight months. Itâ€™s journey will conclude on May 15, 2008. The eleven-coach Exhibition depicts 150 years of our history by way of photographs, diaromas, cutouts, scrollers and audio- videos. Each of the first eight coaches highlights a specific aspect of the freedom movement. During its journey, the train would pass through 70 destinations across the country. In sojourn, it is stationed at these destinations for 2-5 days, when the general public visits and experiences the spirit of freedom movement.
The Ministry held the 26th Conference of State and UT Ministers of Information & Cinematography (SIMCON- XXV) in September 2007 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The conference was preceded by a one day Secretary level meeting chaired by the Secretary, I&B.
The Conference was well attended with Chief Minister from Delhi and State Ministers from 14 other States. Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi inaugurated the SIMCON XXVI. During the conference in depth discussions took place on rationalization of Entertainment Tax, Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill, Implementation of CAS, Community Radio Policy etc. and the following decisions were taken unanimously: –
a) All State Governments supported the Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill and desired that it should be implemented at the earliest.
b) All States were unanimous on regulation of content, even if it implied compromising commercial interest.
c) State Governments desired that CAS should be introduced in new cities only after ascertaining the feedback of consumer satisfaction from the States where it is currently under implementation.
d) The State Governments unanimously welcomed the new Community Radio Policy of the Ministry.
e) There was agreement on further reduction of Entertainment Tax.< Page Break >
Special Package For AIR and DD in J&K
Government approved the implementation of the J&K Special Package (Phase-II) for improvement of services of both All India Radio and Doordarshan. The components of Rs. 299.87 crore package include: Generation of software from diverse sources for the DD Kashir Channel â€“ Rs. 267.70 crore (2007-08: 127.75 cr; 2008-09: Rs.139.95 cr.) and purchase of equipment and related works â€“ Rs. 32.17 crore (2007-08: Rs.25.12 cr. ; 2008-09: Rs. 7.05 cr.)
The special package would enable the DD Kashir channel to improve its viewership by providing wholesome programmes to its viewers in the State and to effectively counter the influence of progaganda from PoK and across the border. It would also help in generating high quality programme content and streamline and strengthen the terrestrial broadcast infrastructure in the State.
Public Information Campaigns
PIB has been organising Public Information Campaigns (PICs) all over India to create greater awareness about the flagship programmes of the Central Government. Eighty PICs have been held this year. Developmental schemes of the Government is the main focus of these PICs. Publicity efforts during these PICs are also supplemented by this Ministryâ€™s other media units viz. S&DD, DFP and DAVP. The locations of these PICs cover the length and breadth of the country that include backward, sensitive and minority dominated areas.
The Press Information Bureau organized a three-day Economic Editors Conference in which around 350 journalist including 63 economic editors from all parts of the country participated. The conference provided a platform for economic editors to interact with Ministers of economic Ministries including Finance, Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Distribution, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Civil Aviation, Steel, Chemicals and Fertilizers and Labour. Similar conference on social issues was also organized.
Publications Division in a new initiative, arranged to provide the childrenâ€™s magazine â€˜Bal Bharatiâ€™ free of cost for street children. This step would be implemented in collaboration with various NGOs across the country.