PREVIOUS HOUR

PSV-GSP/2O/3.00

֕߾ ㌻ (֟) : , ױ Ùֻ ֯ ֮ ױ Ùֻ ֟ ׾ , ִ ֱ ֤֮ օ ֮֜ ָ ױ Ùֻ Cannes ֕ ָ, ßָ ָ ֋, ׿ ָ әֻ֮ ؛ , ױ Cannes ֕ ָ ֛ ָ ֕ ֛ ֺ , ױ ӛÙ ִֻ ߾ ֤ ߾ ֲ ֤ ֿ ֲ ֤ ״֮ ׻֋ ָ ֠ ֠ ױ֠ Ùֻ֠ ֠ ,

(ֳ֬ (0 00׸֮) ߚ߮ )

әֻ֮ ײ֙ , әֻ֮ ؛ , ֕֙ ֜֋ Ù ־֮Դ ֣ ֱ֮ ޛ Ù ״׮Ù ֮ , ֤ ֳ , ָ Ù ־֮Դ ׾̮֕ , ׻֋ ָ ־֮Դ כ ߬ ֮ ֣ ֵ֮ , ֣ ꮵ ָ֮ , ֵ֤ Ù ־֮Դ ״ֻ, ֵ֮ ־֮Դ ֣ ױ Ùֻ Cannes ֕ ָ

, ӡ ֟ ױ ָ ָ Ù ױ ָ ֻ ֈ׮ֻ כ ָ ֻ , ו , ו џ Ӆ ִ֟ ױ ӛÙ ױ ָ ֤ , ו֮ ָ և և ֱ ִ ֻ֟ ָ ֮ ױ ֣, פ פ, ֟ , וָ և ֯ ꌿ֮ ֟ օ ߵָ ֤ ױ ׸ߕ ֟ ӡ ױ ָ Ù ׻֋ - ֵֻ ߮ ױ ׻֋ ֕׸ ֮ ? ױ ֟ ױ , ָ ? ױ כ ָ ׻ֵ כ ߻ , ߻ ֻ֟ ߅ ֕ ָ ׾ִ֮ , ֵ, וִ ß ևԅ ֛ כ ״׮Ù ָ ֻ, ׾ִ֮ ָߤ ֛֛ , ׻֋ כ ״׮Ù ïֲֻ , ָ ß, ִ ֵֻ֙ , ָօ ׻֋ כ ״׮Ù ֻ ָ ...(־֮֬)... ? ָ ߕ ָ ֣ և, ױ ֲ ֮ , כ ״׮Ù, ָ-ָ߅ ִ ֵֻ פ֮ ߴ , ױ ו ӛ ָ ֮ ױ , ו ִ օ ָ ֵ֤ "ә ֲֻ" פֵ ֵ, conmanship ֯ ֻ , י ׿ֵָ , ֮֋ ִ , ִֻ ױ ָ ֮ ֮ ...(־֮֬)...

: ֯ ױ֮ ָ ָ֕ ?

֕߾ ㌻ : , ױ֮ ָ ָ֕ ױ --, -- ...(־֮֬)... ִ -- ...(־֮֬)... ֟ Ӥ , ֲ ֤ ֯ ׻֋ ױ ָ , ֮ ֮ ױ ׻ ׮ ֮֮ ׻֋ ײ֛ ׻֋ ֺ ߕ

ߕ ָ 000 ׸ ָ ֮ ֛ , ֛ ָ ֻ֟ ֕ ֱ þ߸ ֟ ֮ ֤ , ֮ ꮵ , ֮ וי ֮ ׸ fudging ֮ , פ ӡ ִֻ כֻ Ù ֋ ֟֋ ֮ , ָ ֮ ִֻ ֟ ִ֮

ӡ ֮֮ ֟ ן ִ֮ "כ ևخ " , ו ָ ֋ Ԥ ֋ ꅠ (2/000 ָ ֿ:)

2P/klg-sk/3.05

֕߾ ㌻ (֟) : ֋? և. ӛ . ״׮Ù ֵ ֵ ֵ ? ꌿ֮ ָ ֈ , וִ ָָ -ӛ , ָָ Ͽ ? ָ ꌿ֮ خ כ-ևخ օ ־ ָ כ-ևخ ֈ ֮ ? ָ ӡ ֕׸ ? ֮ ָ ֓ ״׮Ù ֵ ? ָ ӡ ֮֟ , ֳָ օ

ֳ֬ , ֟ Ùߙ ָ ֮ Ùߙ և. ӛ . ״׮Ù ֟ , ֻꌙ ֕ - և Ùߙ ֯ ָ ޙ , ׮ خ ֺ , ״ֻ ֟ ׻֋ ֮֮ߵ ӡ ֣Ԯ Ùߙ ׬ ֵ֮ ֋, ӓ ֋, ׾ßָ ֋, ֕֙ ֵ֜ ֋, օ

, ָ ֟ ׯ֔ ָ, ֲ ִ ״׮Ù , ֟ כ ֻ ֮֮ , دϙ כ ׻֋ ֻ כ , ֻ ׌ , ױ , ֯ ֮ ׿ֵ֟ , .., ֻ ׻֋ Ùߙ ֻ , ֯ ֮ ֟ ײֻ ֱֻ ָ ָָ ׮ֵӡ , ָ ֻ ֕ ָ ׬ָ ֣ כ׿ֵָ ָ֡ ״ֻ , ־ ָ ׾ָ֓ ָ֕

ֲ ֟ ֣ ֮ ֟ ִ֯ ֮־֤ (ִ֯)

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD (BIHAR): Hon. Vice-Chairman, Sir, I am grateful that you have given me the opportunity to make my comments on the working of the I&B Ministry. Sir, this debate has begun in a very curiously interesting way. The debate was initiated by an hon. Member who has been, or may be he is, a media personality and it is being followed by a Member who had an occasion to handle this Department in different capacity. What is further interesting is that I see Priyababu deeply engrossed. I hope he is listening to what I am going to say. I am happy that he has found some time from his pressing Parliamentary commitments as a Parliamentary Affairs Minister to give some time to the equally important I&B Ministry. Therefore, I would begin with a query to the hon. Minister. How do we take the I&B Ministry? Is it a Ministry of Doordarshan or AIR? Or, does it have a larger role? Doordarshan and AIR are important, indeed, very important. I would make my comments subsequently on this. But, what is the larger canvas of this Ministry must not be lost sight of, because quite frequently we hear observations as to what is the relevance and rationale of the I&B Ministry. Because of the power and technology, we are heading towards convergence. Let there be a super communication Ministry. These kinds of observations we do hear. Therefore, Mr. Minister, may be it is the occasion to discuss the working of your Ministry, I would like a very categorical stand from your Government, as to how do you take convergence. Are you going to initiate convergence? Are you going to carry it forward? Will it also take into account all the working of the telecommunication and all the source of media entertainment which, at some point of time, are converging technologically? This is an important issue. As far as I am concerned, Sir, I am very clear that the I&B Minister has a very crucial role to play. It is a Ministry which takes care of the AIR and Doordarshan, which initiates the whole policy of entertainment -- of films, of media, of television, of music. What not, apart from print and management of press by the PIB? Therefore, this larger role always needs to be considered in mind. (Contd. By ysr-2q)

YSR-AKA/3.10/2Q

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD (CONTD.): When I talk of entertainment, I remember when I had some time to handle this Department, Sir, I had coined an expression that, "If the 90's were the decade of IT and Communication, the first decade of the 21st Century is the decade of Indian entertainment." When I said that, there were certain comments. Recently, Sir, I was going through an observation of a very senior executive of the Walt Disney Company, Mr. Mark Zoradi who had come to India. He stated that Disney had identified India along with Russia and China as the target markets that would power the entertainment major growth over the next decade. The entire world is today coalescing in India, hon. Minister, in the field of entertainment, in the field of television. I am quite sure they may be making a beeline to you as well. Why so? The rate of growth of this sector is 18 per cent. Mr. Shukla gave certain statistics. It has immense potential; the Indian entertainment has enough potential to boost the Indian economy. Therefore, I say it is very important that there must be a change of mindset in the entire functioning of the I&B Ministry as to how we wish to carry forward this sector. Mr. Minister, the first query, therefore, would be: Does the Ministry possess that mindset? Two-fold responsibilities are there on the Ministry: (a) to come with policy initiative which further power this growth, and (b) make Doordarshan and Akashwani, the eminently desirable public broadcasters, educators, entertainers, and social informer, to continue with their job along with professionally becoming competitive. These are the twin obligations of the Ministry of I&B. In this context, we have to consider the functioning.

Sir, let me begin with Prasar Bharati first, because Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body overseeing the functioning of the AIR and Doordarshan, obviously in connection with the Ministry. Mr. Minister, I hope you are aware that you have many vacancies in Prasar Bharati. The Member (Finance) is non-existent for the last more than one-and-a-half years. The Member (Personnel) is not there. Three Members have demitted, and one died, Mr. Vidya Nivas Mishra, a very eminent literary person of the Hindi literature. Now, you are having probably two full-time Members and two part-time Members. I am quite sure whenever a vacancy is going to occur, the Department is aware of that. There is a process of filling all these vacancies. Why this kind of ad hoc approach, I fail to understand that.

Sir, I would like to make my comments about the functioning of the Akashwani. Sir, as far as the functioning of Akashwani is concerned, I am a little troubled by the kind of messages which are emanating from the Department.

ӡ , ־ 'ֿ־' ָ ׾ , ֕ 99 ָ ָ , ֵ֤ 26 ֆ 146 ֵֻꌙ , ֿ־ ָ ִ , ָ ֮ ִ ֕ ֲ Ӿ ֟ ֟ ִ 7:30 ֕ ִ ָ Ù ֟ , ß֮ Ӿ , ײָ ֮։, ֻ ־ ֿ־ ֛ ִ , ׾֮֕ ߛ 'ֿ־' ֵ , ֮ ֮֮ߵ ӡ , ֟ ֯ ׻֋ ֻ ׾ ֟ , ֮ ן ֮֮ ֛ , ָ֮ , ֮֯ ׮Ե ׻ֵ ֻ , ׻֋ 'ֿ־' ֋ ֻ ֻꅠ ֲֻ֟ ?

('2r/sch' ָ ָ)

VKK-SCH/2r/3.15

׾ ֤ (֟): ӳ־֟: 300 ׬ ִߙ ֮ ֵ ֮֟ ־ֿ ֻ, ׮֕ ֣ ֻ֟ , ֻ֟ ֱ , ִ֣ , ֯ ֤ ֟ ֜և ֿ־ ֻ , ֛ ֟ , Ӿ ֟ ֿ־ ִ֬ Therefore, hon. Minister, don't weaken the Akashvani. That's what I want to tell you very clearly and if Akashvani is weakened, maybe, the country's link in itself may be weakened. ׻֋ ֟ ִ ֿ־ ֣ - ֤֮ ֮֋ ֮ ֮֟ ֻ ֟ ֻ ֿ־ ֺ ? ֿ־ ׾ ֯ ֤֮ פ , ׻֋ ֿ־ ׾ ߾Ο ֋ ָ ׾ָ֓ ֻ , ׻֋ ֿ־ ֻ, ֻܵ ֮ ٻִֵ ֛ ֵ , ִ ֤־ ?

֮֮ߵ ӡ , כ ֓ ֣ ֓ ׮֙ כ ֵ , ֵ Ӿ-Ӿ ׮֙ כ ֋, ãֆ ֋, ן ߅ ֯ , ֻܵ פ ן ׮֙ כ , ׻֋ ָ ֯ ׬ ָ֤ ָ녠 ָ ִ ֕߆ , ֮ Community radio is basically an instrument of empowering people by programmes which they themselves make. I regret to say, Mr. Minister, that community radio, of late, has got a pace which is not very happy. That's what I would like to tell you.

Now, let me come to Doordarshan. I think the observations I have made about Akashvani are equally relevant about Doordarshan. My friend, Mr. Shukla, was talking about various serials. He should not forget that television connectivity of India has also been made possible by Doordarshan, and most of the people, who are doing well today in private channels, had their training in Doordarshan. The irony is, others are flourishing. Why Doordarshan is floundering? It is a very important issue which we need to understand. I am informed that we have 24 channels. Out of 24, I would say, only three are doing little well. One is almost limping. One is DD-1, your shining symbol, then, there is DD News and then, there is DD Sports. Apart from these three, the condition of all others is very, very unsatisfactory. You have got about a good number of regional satellite channels like Oriya and Assamese. I understand that they are in a pathetic situation. And what troubles me, hon. Minister, is that Doordarshan revenue is rising. They have earned about a thousand crores of rupees. The total Budget is Rs.1800 crores. You say, there is no need for any support. I feel very strongly that the public broadcaster has a very great role to play in this country. Other private channels would always be inspired by profit motives, motives of TRP, motives of advertisement revenue. But the obligation to inform, the obligation to connect and the obligation to reform would always be by Doordarshan and Akashvani only. Therefore, the hon. Minister, I think, it is very important that these two public broadcasters need to be strengthened. Yes, they have to become competitive. Yes, they have to take on board professional approach. In many cases, it is lacking. Let us see where is the DD News. When it was started, its TRP was immediately after "Aaj Tak - Sabse Tez Channel". Today, where is that? You have a good news channel and you have a good body. I regret to say, Indian Information Service officers have a good role to play. They have done a good service. But the time has come that there should be a blend between professionals as well as Information Services people. That is not there. (Contd. by RSS/2s)

RSS/MCM/2s/3.20

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD (CONTD.): Mr. Minister, Yes, the Government is there, the Government news will be there, but let us not overdo it. Why I say so because, a couple of days before, a young Member of Parliament made, perhaps, his second speech. It is very good. We appreciate it. But, on the DD News, I found a special programme, featuring the speech of that young Member of Parliament, and taking comments from the other Members as to how he has spoken. I think, this is a case of overdoing. I know there are good people, I know there are professional people, and let me tell you that DD News has a great role to play. Therefore, allow a blend of professionalism also there...(Interruptions)... I am not yielding.

֕߾ ㌻ : 0ߕ0 ו֋, ֋ 00 Ԯ ָ ֬-֬ ә և פ, - ә օ ו 00 ָ , Ԯ ָ ֬ ә ә օ 00 ָ , Ùߙ ָ ָ ïߓ ֻ ֵ ִ ֯ע ֮֯ , ָ ֮֟ ֋օ פ ָ ......(־֮֬)

߯ ֕ : 껛 .....(־֮֬)

ֳ֬ (0 00 ׸֮) : ך,......(־֮֬)

SHRI DIPANKAR MUKHERJEE: I still feel myself young. What is this? I am also young. Am I old? ...(Interruptions)...I may be very young. All MPs are young...(Interruptions)

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIAN): Mr. Dipankar Mukherjee, Mr. Rajeev Shukla spoke because Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad yielded.

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD: Sir, I did not name anyone. My hon. friend, Mr. Rajeev Shukla, got up and made his point. His argument has been noted down....(Interruptions)... My congratulation to him.

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Because of your opposition.

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD: Sir, let me make certain comments on the larger issue of television. Mr. Minister, I hope, you will be very much knowing that close to 300 channels are beamed across the skies of India. One is the concept of down-linking. The other is the concept of up-linking. You have the facility of up-linking, but down-linking still remains largely unregulated. There is a cable connectivity. When I say so, let me remind you, and I am sure, you know it that we have got 8.2 crore television homes in India; we have got 4.4 crore cable homes in India. Therefore, if 5 persons are watching one television, let us take it that close to 45 crore people in the country watch television. There is a very good connectivity. But, don't forget the fact that the rise of cable connectivity is very, very higher. The cable connectivity in Andhra Pradesh is nearly 80 per cent. Many other States have 70 per cent cable connectivity. Therefore, mere terrestrial reach of Doordarshan may come under serious attack. DD Bharati today has foundered completely, and you have a 'must carry' clause, which again will create a problem in future when competition rises.

But, having said so, let me pose two queries to you, in this connection. One is the television distribution, the other is the cable, the third one is the DTH. There is a consumer. Since CAS was mentioned, now, you will have to confront that problem. Let me share some of my views with you. The first and foremost concern should be of consumer interest. Our experience is that there is a lot of divide between the broadcasters, MSO and the cable operators. Let them settle their disputes. But, the consumer should never suffer, and television distribution should always be done with this fact in mind that the consumer will ask a question: "Why should I pay more to see less?" The Set Top Box will be an issue. Maybe, you have TRAI. Can you consult TRAI on this issue as to who will bear the burden of the Set Top Box price? There is a question of interrogability if a Set of Box is there. Let me tell you one thing. Television distribution in India is very artificial, and if this industry is growing, may I remind that 62 per cent of the turnover of this whole entertainment industry comes from television. Therefore, we have an obligation, you have an obligation to ensure fair distribution.

(contd. by 2t)

MKS/GS/3.25/2T

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD (CONTD.): He talked about the cable mafia, a whole lot of things. Transparency and accountability must come, and it must come with a focus on consumer's interest in mind.

Then there is the question of inter-operateability. If I have taken The Zee set-up box, will The Star accept it? Will The Sony accept it?

These are the practical problems. The High Court has given you an order. I am quite sure you will certainly take all the stakeholders on board and come with a solution which is consumer-friendly. Always remember that any television distribution needs to be consumer-friendly. But, yes, you will have to go in that direction. When the DTH and TV divide is equally coming, people ask, when DTH is there, why should we be forced by a law? These are questions which we will have to confront now. But DTH is not that sort of successful story. Doordarshan claims that it is KU band which has been a little successful. But the DTH story of 'Zee' is not that happy. Star is still to come about. I would like to know what is your DTH policy and how you are going to properly combine cable and DTH keeping the consumer interest in mind. That is important.

The second issue about the television I would like to highlight, Mr. Minister, is that you have a Cable Act where under clause 6, you have got certain powers in what circumstances, a programme can be stopped only through the cable operator. We are all for a free press, we are all for a free media, we are all for free creativity. But, after all, the people who receive those contents have also got certain rights. To what extent they should keep on offending that by kind of programmes that are being made; I am sure, Brindaji will speak about this when her turn comes. I am only touching this issue in a manner that this needs some kind of intervention. I am against the Government intervention. But do you have some content regulator? It is high time that we need to have a proper content regulator. With 27 news channels, with so many other 24-hour news channels, so many regional channels, so many entertainment channels, the consumer of that, the viewer of that must have a voice, and that voice must be away from the Government. But there is a need for a forum. Therefore, I would like to know from you as to whether some kind of a content regulatory mechanism is under consideration of the Government or not. This question keeps on coming.

Mr. Minister, there is a very serious issue; I would like to say, here, about advertisements. Your advertisement code lays down the do's and don'ts. It should not be offensive. But why do we see daily those 'dirty' advertisements, if I may say so, from underwears to what not? We know that a liquor advertisement is banned. But we see on television ֚ ֕ , ֲֻ֟ ? ֚ ֕ ? We see some Star coming with a bagpiper soda water. Have you examined the advisement budget of soda waters or mineral waters? The real product may be of hundred crores, and the mineral water may be of Rs.10-50 lakhs, but the 'ad' budget is Rs.10 crores. This is a kind of hoodwinking being done to the people of India. Therefore, I say it is time to address those concerns.

Secondly,--I hope Kalrajji is here--we have seen together a programme. It was a very interesting programme going on, and there was a commercial break. 'It is not ending!' Commercial break, and it is not ending! Do you have some scheme in mind whereby an independent body lays down the do's and don'ts as to how many advertisements will be shown? A half-an-hour programme and a 15-minute advertisement! And that is all. Therefore, this whole business of TRP which we should not talk of, needs some consideration because the entire reach of television is being considered upon the strength of a few meters being installed in selective towns. This TRP business is a murky business, I am sorry to say that because ߆ָ ߓ և, ׾֮֯֠ ֵ, ߆ָߠ ֠ ׻֋ ׾֮֯ ֆ, Ӿ ֮ ֺ , ֆ This is a kind of situation which is not a very happy situation. Sir, I will take some time on films. I hope, I have some time, Sir.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIAN): But try to be brief also.

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD: Very brief.

Sir, about the film part, I will say a few things. (Contd. by 2U)

TMV-SC/2U/3.30

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD (CONTD.): As was stated by the hon. Member, we make about thousand films. Let me tell you, you will experience, when you go abroad as I & B Minister--I am sure, you must have gone--that Indian films, today, are toasts for the world. People are looking towards India. Why is it so? We have got the young population. Fifty-four per cent of India's population is 25 and below. Therefore, the world is coming towards India because India has a big consumer base for entertainment. Let us utilise it properly. He talked about lack of capital. There was a scheme of Venture Capital in the films. What has happened to that? An expert body sat there. You need to bring in big business houses in entertainment and do proper financing of entertainment. I am happy that many big houses are coming forward. But the larger vision is that India has to become the hub of entertainment and need to be sold by you to the Prime Minister and to the Finance Minister. I agree that in the whole Budget the entertainment sector has not been given a very fair treatment. Mr. Minister, the Goa Film Festival came about. It is good. Please carry it forward. I don't think we will have pressures. I completely disagree. Take the State Governments on board. Goa has the potential to be the Canne of South-East Asia and people are responding. They have some personal knowledge about it. Make it a good content Film Festival, not a Jhamura.

Having said that, I would like to say one thing. When you treat the film personalities, you must treat them on the basis of their abilities, not on the basis of their affiliations. The reason why I am saying so is that a very eminent film personality of India was supposed to inaugurate the Goa Film Festival. At the last moment, he said, "No". I would say that it is the time that the I & B Ministry has a larger vision. The film personalities will have their own ideology and commitment. I am sure, Mr. Benegal is very much opposed to my party's ideology and he has got that right. But, I, as a member of the BJP and as a Sangh Swayamsevak, always appreciated his films because they are fine films, they are creative films. This vision is very important because I have seen that for your Government the talent and creative potential of an actor is secondary; maybe, his affiliation is primary. That is not a very healthy situation, Mr. Minister. We need to treat him without discrimination, whosoever he may be.

Mr. Minister, a few more points I must register with you.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P. J. KURIAN): Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, you address the Chair, not the Minister.

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD: Sir, the hon. Minister is a good friend of mine. Therefore, whenever I see him I can't resist the temptation of addressing him directly.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: The Chair is also your good friend, but impartial.

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD: Hon. Vice-Chairman, Sir, the Indian music industry is growing very fast. You need to give proper input to it. Piracy is a big problem, both for film industry and music industry. Maybe, under the Copyright Act a provision is there that all the piracy will be handled by the Ministry of HRD. It is time to change it and get it back to the I & B Ministry because the moment piracy has become a problem, it has to be addressed in a comprehensive way by the I & B Ministry.

Sir, a few more observations about the print media and others. We are very happy that, regardless of the invasion of television, the print media in India is also growing. The rate of growth is close to five per cent. There was a feeling that when television would come, the print media would fall into the background. But I am happy to know that the newspapers are growing; the regional newspapers are growing. ־ֻ , פ ֮ ֋, ָ ָ֕ , ײָ , ֲָ ֟ , ֵ֤ Ӿ ֟ ֓և ֕ Ӿ ֲָ , ߕֻ֮ ֲָ ֛ ִ We want them to grow further. What is the further policy of the Government to encourage the great information revolution to happen in India? I would like to know that.

There are other issues of PIB and others. I would not like to go into the details. I would only say, you modernise them, you digitise them. The archives of AIR were supposed to be digitised. What has happened to that? The archives of Doordarshan were in the process of being digitised. What has happened to that? Whenever we go to the Central Hall on the anniversary of any big leader, we hear the voice of that leader in the Central Hall. I would like to request the hon. Minister, please ensure that the voice of Jawaharlal Nehru, "The Tryst with Destiny", Subhash Chandra Bose, Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, Ram Manohar Lohia, Gandhi and Hiren Mukherjee, all these are available for the people in the market. (Contd. by 2W/VK)

VK/2W/3.35

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD (CONTD): They are all in the archives of the Akashwani. It will be a great thing. The same is the case of Doordarshan. They have got great footage which is being pilfered today. We need to properly digitise our great archives and archival record. This is what I would like to know from you. What further steps are you taking in that direction because information devolution is happening? Sir, recently, I had gone to Canada. We have co-production agreement with England, Italy and Ireland. They asked me as to what has happened with Canada. Why was it stopped? Canada has great potential of animation. They want to outsource it. Do you have proper training for animation in India because in combination with IT, animation has great scope? When I say so, I am very clear. Let there not be only Tom and Jerry. We have got our Panchatantra; we have our own folks. They must be shown to our children by way of animation. People are doing that. We need to encourage that.

Sir, the I & B Ministry has got great potential. I don't want to criticise them unnecessarily because I had an occasion to handle this Department. But I would like to say they have got immense potential, Mr. Minister. There is a need to have a proper policy initiative which propels growth. That is lacking a little. FM had to wait for one-and-a-half years to get computerised. These are the issues which need to be addressed properly. I hope the Minister will find some time from his pressing Parliamentary and Bengal commitments to give to the I&B Ministry. Thank you. (Ends)

SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT (WEST BENGAL): Mr. Vice-Chairman, Sir, in the House, today, we have present Ministers, former Ministers and would be Ministers. Subbaramiji, I am not looking at you. It is just a co-incidence that I looked at your side. We have producers, brilliant film directors, and brilliant actors.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIAN): 'Would be' includes Shrimati Brinda Karat.

SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT: Sir, thank you for your kind wishes. I just want to raise a few points, some of which have already been raised by hon. Shri Ravi Prasadji.

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD: Ravi Shankar Prasad.

SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT: I beg your pardon. ׾ ֲ ֟ , ָ ׾ פ ֟ ֱ ו֋, ױ ֯ !

Sir, when we look at the functioning of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry today, the first thing that occurs to us is that we are dealing with an age where information technology is hugely increasing its reach, its methodology and also its impact on people. So, naturally, in such a situation, where hardware itself is increasing to the extent it is in its sophistication, then any regime which is concerned with the impact of what this can produce, necessarily, has also to deal with all the technological changes. One of the premises to be able to deal with this is a comprehensive policy concerning all the different spheres. For example, now there are technologies where with just one connection you can get a whole range of communication technologies. You have the Internet today and if you look at the regime for Internet monitoring regulation or even increase in India today, it is not at all addressing the basic issues which today Internet is creating. So, the first point that I would like to make here is, I believe, the lack of comprehensive policy in the Ministry to deal with the technological revolution, only some impact of which we are seeing in India.... (Contd.by 2X)

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SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT (contd.): ...and the inability to dovetail the different spheres of communication is leading to a situation where the consumer of these technologies is going to be the biggest sufferer both in terms of the content which is being propagated as well as the expenses of the technologies. So, the first question which I would like to address to the Minister is this. There are so many laws under his Ministry and yet there is no comprehensive policy for all these different spheres. So, is the Ministry planning to do this, now at least, under his able leadership? I do not know how many months it is now since he has been there as the Minister of I & B. In any case I think it is time to come out with a comprehensive policy for the different spheres. And, in this comprehensive policy, one very important point which we have been raising, and, I think, is a matter of concern, is the issue of FDI in the media. And, my party has been raising this issue from two or three angles. One is, we believe that today, given the impact of the different aspects of media, which I have already spoken about, and the ability of intervention and interference in determining the policies of any particular country, we have to be extremely clear about what our policy is to be as far as FDI is concerned. Now, I think, the latest decision is that we are allowing FDI in scientific journals. There is also some permission given to foreign magazines to have Indian editions. Now, what the contents of those magazines are, why we should give those magazines any type of permission at all, these are again questions which have to be addressed. So, the issue of FDI in print media, in television, in news channels, is, definitely, an issue which, I think, poses a wider concern which is also linked to the independent politics and democratic functioning of our various institutions. So this is another point which I feel the Government has to be more clear about, and we would welcome clarifications on what the Government's thinking is on this score.

The third point and, I think, this is very, very important, is that we are proud of the reach that we have achieved through Doordarshan and All India Radio. And, with all my strength, I would support the point which is being made by the previous speaker that we must give more attention to All India Radio. This is an extremely important medium of communication, of news, of entertainment, of information, of education, to the vast rural areas in our country. Therefore, whatever can be done to strengthen the All India Radio must be done and, I believe, that a much more developed programme, as far as All India Radio is concerned, must be made by the Ministry. In this connection, the whole functioning of Doordarshan is a matter of great concern. Sir, we have been stressing on the autonomy of Doordarshan, and because of the various struggles which have been raised by different sections of our population, to ensure that both All India Radio and Doordarshan do not become spokesmen or the mouthpieces of whichever party happens to be in power, we now have the Prasar Bharati Act which had been adopted, and the Broadcasting Corporation was set up under which autonomy is to be the key word. When I use the word 'autonomy', I do not mean autonomy per se; certainly, not autonomy from the point of Constitution of India, certainly, not autonomy to broadcast serials or films or programmes which belittle the secular framework of our country.

(Continued by 2Y)

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SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT (CONTD.): Certainly not autonomy from basic human values. And, therefore, when we speak, my party speaks of the importance of the issue of autonomy, we speak of it in the framework of certain values. We have seen, Sir, over the years, the erosion of constitutional values of secularism, and I would also say human values. We have seen an erosion. I do not want to blame any one particular party. But, most definitely, during the years of the NDA regime, we did see a plethora of programmes which we believe did weaken the secular ethos and secular framework within which any Government institution should function. Having said that, Sir, there is another aspect of autonomy which, we believe, and I don't want to mention any one particular leader or a young leader or whoever, but, the fact is that since the UPA Government has taken over, the issue of equal time to political parties, as far as reporting is concerned, the issue of equal time for achievements and also equal time for leaders, I am not just talking about a panel discussion, but I am saying even in the news, should be given. I can understand, where there is a Government programme, that Government programme must be reported. I am for it. I want that it should be reported because nobody else will report it. So, the Government programme is important. If the National Rural Guarantee Programme is being launched, I want Doordarshan to report it. That is very important. But, at the same time, the whole issue of projecting a particular party, a particular politician, a particular set of leaders which we are seeing repeatedly on Doordarshan is something which, I believe, goes against the principles of autonomy which are supposed to be cleared when the Prasar Bharati Corporation was set up and the Act was made. So, I would like to stress on this point. I know Doordarshan always gives lists of how much time is given to whom and so on, when these questions are raised. And, I am sure, the Minister will be able to supply that information. But, I do request him, Sir, to look at this with a little objectivity. I will request the Minister, I am sure he will be objective about it. And, particularly, now, Sir, since the elections are coming, since there are going to be big political battles which are being fought, it will be extremely unfortunate if the national broadcaster becomes just the mouthpiece or the agency to propagate any one political party's views. Therefore, I want to stress that in the functioning of the Ministry a proper understanding of the concept of autonomy is extremely necessary to strengthen democracy and democratic institutions in this country.

Sir, I support, and my party has always supported freedom of expression. This is a constitutional right. ֮ ־ֻ , it is our constitutional right. Therefore, I always support it. I disagree with Rajeevji, when he wants a particular message only to be put in every film. Of course, he is a very good film critic also. I have read many of his reviews. ...(Interruptions)... You may disagree with me. But, yes. But, unfortunately, you cannot decide what kind of messages are to be put in all the films also. So, I am for freedom of expression. But, in the name of freedom of expression, what is happening today is a national scandal. Does it mean that this country's leaders and those who are running this Ministry have no sensitivity to what women are feeling when they look at television, when they look at advertisements, when they look at remixes, when they look at the absurdity of the songs, when they look at the obscene gestures which are made and every single channel is showing it, including Doordarshan. Are women not human beings that they can be projected as commodities in the way that they have been done? I hold this their sole responsibility, in a legal sense. Of course, there is a social responsibility; there are social movements which are fighting this, which are confronting this. But, I want to ask the Minister how many people who are guilty of creating and broadcasting obscenity, when I say obscenity, Sir, I do not mean a woman in a swimsuit is obscene.

(Contd. by 2z)

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SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT (contd.): No. There are different bench marks for it. But the question is the way the portrayal of women is demeaning, insulting and degrading to the independent citizenship of women. I would like to know from the Minister what action has he taken against these. Words are fine, "We will always support women's dignity." Women in this country are hearing these fine words for decades. But what is the action? How many people have been booked? Now, the Ministry has taken an initiative to have a regulatory code. What is the regulatory body? I would like to know whether that body is going to take action on the basis of the laws which already exist, multiple laws which exist in the country, but the laws which are not worth a scrap on paper on which they are written, as far as women are concerned.

Therefore, this is a very serious issue. I do not believe this is a women versus male issue. It is a question of the dignity of women, it is the question of upholding the rights of women as independent citizens. When I talk about degrading and demeaning I am not just talking about the portraying women in certain type of clothes and so on. Of course, that is very objectional. But demeaning I also mean, when you show woman only in a subordinate role, when you show a rape victim finding her salvation in the marriage of the perpetrator of violence against her, when you show serials which actually promote female foeticide, these are as demeaning as anything which can be considered obscene. I believe, in fact, in certain ways, these are even more obscene.

Therefore, a code which is already there in the laws of this country, we would like to know from the Minister, what is the regulatory mechanism which is going to be set up? Are women going to be equal participants in it? Are they going to have any say in it? I am sure, the Minister will say, 'yes'. But I would like to know within which time-frame it is going to be set up and how is it going to be implemented. This is the other point I wanted to make.

Apart from that, Sir, we are extremely concerned about the situation of employees of these corporations. I may, Sir, add as many sections of media, as far as newspapers are concerned, as far as other television channels are concerned. Now, as far as Doordarshan, All India Radio and Prasar Bharati are concerned, I have had so many complaints from many of the employees, as far as their conditions of services are concerned. They have had so many complaints and unfortunately, till now, the Minister has not had any dialogue with them. There are a large number of women who are employed in these. I have had complaints from women employees who are performing extremely difficult role, in most difficult circumstances and yet, according to the reports that I have had, the mechanisms as far as complaints of sexual harassment are concerned, they do not exist in a proper way, according to the Visakha guidelines, as far as these corporations are concerned.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIAN): Your party had 11 minutes and you have taken 16 minutes.

SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT: Sir, I am not going to take much more time. I just want to say that it is extremely important that you treat the employees properly. When you talk about the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, I want to reiterate the responsibility of the Ministry has towards its own employees who are trying to compete and in looking after its own employees, I believe, the institution itself will be strengthened. So, this is another area to which, I think, more attention has to be paid.

I would just like to draw the attention of the hon. Minister to a fact, and I am sure he is already aware of it, that in large areas of the country, including in the capital of this country, you have very successful newspapers who have now contractualised all journalists.

(Contd. by 3a/kls)

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SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT (CONTD): The most senior journalists in some newspapers are now being asked, you either sign this contract, which basically make you a bonded employee of this newspaper, or you can quit. Now, a person who has worked for 15 years in a newspaper, does he or she have any choice? They will have to accept that contract. Therefore, whether you have labour reform or not, in actual effect, in such an important industry, the processes of labour reform are already taking place at great cost to the rights of the employees and workers in the industry of the media. I know this comes under the Ministry of Labour. But I want to request the Minister, please do not remain a mute spectator to the decimation of workers' and journalists' rights in newspapers, in print media and in the electronic media today because if you remain a mute spectator to it, then you are not going to be able to compete in a world in which satellites are posing the greatest challenge to our own indigenous channels and our work. Finally, Sir, I would like to request the Minister to come out with a policy as far as films are concerned. I am not talking about the big Indian film industry. There are many spokespersons here who will raise the problems I am sure and I support them, but I would just like to talk about documentary film makers. Now, in India, unfortunately, the kind of attention that should be given to documentary films is not being given. It is most unfortunate situation that some of our most talented young people who are coming out of the best such institutes, they have to run around to different funding agencies, including American funding agencies and other funding agencies to get some amount of money to make documentary films. I think this is very unfair and unjust because there is so much to be documented in this country, there is so much to be said in this country and there is so much that this country through documentary films tell the world. And because there are young people, there are no strong vested interests and there are no strong lobbies which are making money out of it, therefore, we do not hear their voice at all. I was extremely distressed to find that in some documentary film festivals in this country, I was told, there were double standards that there was no censorship required for some of the foreign films which were coming, but as far as Indian documentaries are concerned, they have to go through censorship. As far as documentaries are concerned, this is an area were self-certification is something which should be accepted. It is important because if we start censoring documentaries, and my friend Rajeevji was speaking about a message which has to be sent, very often, in fact, epitomise social realities, and, therefore, automatically their messages are sent. Therefore, if you want to send a message; and you want to censor that message, then that is something, Sir, which I think does need to be looked into. Therefore, I will request the Minister to kindly look at this whole aspect of documentary films and to give documentary film makers the support of this Government, the support of his Ministry, not just morally, not just through looking at the censorship rules, which should not have double standards, but also financial support. I am sure, Sir, that in the coming days, the Minister will address many of the issues that I have raised. Thank you.

(Ends)

SHRI SHYAM BENEGAL (NOMINATED): Thank you very much, Sir. I think I have jumped the queue, as a matter of fact. I will only make a very short intervention really. I will restrict myself to cinema largely because you see there has been a lot of discussion here about the Indian film industry and the fact that it has enormous growth trajectory, which it is, because I can tell you straight of that three billion nine hundred million tickets are sold for Indian films every year while for Hollywood films, there are only three hundred million tickets are sold. There is a huge difference. It does not show itself in terms of revenues because our ticket prices are very much lower and the American films, of course, are two hundred to three hundred per cent more than our films do. Now, I do not personally believe that the Indian film industry because it has been doing brilliantly over the last 100 years. There have been blitz from time to time but the most important thing, of course, is that it does not necessarily need any kind of support from the Government. (Contd by 3B)

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