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Very much flexing its independence, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has told the nation's Government that the arm's length relationship between it and public service broadcaster Prasar Bharti should be reinforced.

On 30 November 2012 TRAI received a request from the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) seeking its recommendations on the issue of whether Central Government Ministries, Central/State Government Departments, Central/State Government owned companies, Central/State Government undertakings, joint venture of the Central/State Governments and the private sector and Central/State Government funded entities may be allowed to enter into the business of broadcasting and/or distribution of TV channels.

Yet after what it called a long consultative process, TRAI has rebuffed the request, declaring that Central Government Ministries, Central/State Government Departments, Central/State Government owned companies, Central /State Government undertakings, joint venture of the Central/State Governments and the private sector and Central/State Government funded entities should not be allowed to enter in to the business of broadcasting and or distribution of TV channels.

Furthermore it recommends that fundamentally the "arm’s length relationship" between Prasar Bharti and the Government be further strengthened.

TRAI added that such measures should ensure functional independence and autonomy of Prasar Bharti and that pending enactment of any new legislation on broadcasting the disqualifications recommended for political bodies to enter into broadcasting and/or distribution activities should be implemented through executive decision by incorporating the disqualifications into rules, regulations and guidelines as necessary.

www.trai.gov.in

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