Ministry of Information and Broadcasting steadfast guardian of India’s broadcasting industry: Anurag Thakur

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Delhi: Anurag Thakur today inaugurated the 28th International Conference and Exhibition on Broadcast and Media Technology in New Delhi. Addressing the audience during the inaugural session the Minister said that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has been a steadfast guardian of India’s broadcasting industry, steering it through the winds of change with wisdom and foresight. Its unwavering commitment in promoting public service broadcasting, designing and implementing inclusive policies, media literacy initiatives and encouraging private participation in broadcasting and media industry has laid the foundation for a vibrant, inclusive and resilient broadcasting and media ecosystem in India, which is diverse, informative, and responsible.

The Minister called for strengthening of Public Service Broadcasting to provide quality content that caters to the diverse needs of our nation saying India must carve its unique path, recognizing the rich canvas of our cultural heritage. He further remarked that Prasar Bharati, has played a pivotal role in shaping the narrative of our nation. “From the grainy black-and-white screens of Doordarshan to its HD and Now 4K digital transition, from analog Medium Wave to DRM and now FM of Akashvani, the diverse programming of Doordarshan and All India Radio has informed, educated, and entertained generations of Indians. From the analog era to the dynamic digital landscape of today, our broadcasters have traversed a path marked by resilience, innovation, and unwavering commitment to excellence”, he said.

Shri Thakur said that technological advancements present both opportunities and challenges and the demand for high-quality, personalized content across multiple platforms is surging. To that end, developing the latest generation of broadcasting equipment has become an imperative. Stating that there was a need to encourage indigenous R&D, nurturing our scientific talent and fostering partnerships between industry and academia, he said that Our actions today will determine the success of our dream for self-reliant broadcasting.

The Minister went on to state that New Direct to Mobile (D2M) technologies offer exciting content possibilities for terrestrial broadcasting not only to television but also on handheld devices- Mobile phones, pads etc on anywhere, any time basis, and that too without the need of Internet. We must explore and embrace innovative options of broadcasting like Next Gen broadcasting which shall not only ensure wider reach to cater to all strata of our society but also serve as a catalyst for ever evolving user experience.

He further delved into the importance of data security and said that in an increasingly interconnected world, safeguarding data privacy and security of sensitive information is of paramount importance. India’s efforts in developing indigenous cyber-security solutions underscore our commitment to data security, aligning with global Data Protection regulations. As we harness the power of technology to drive innovation in the broadcasting eco-system, let us ensure that we prioritize the protection of sensitive information and also not forget steps required for the integrity of our digital infrastructure.

The Minister reminded the audience of our responsibility towards the environment and said that embracing sustainable practices in broadcasting operations is not just a moral imperative but a strategic necessity also. By minimizing our carbon footprint and reducing waste, we can lead global initiatives like the ABU’s “Green Broadcasting” project. India’s research and development in solar-powered broadcast equipment and energy-efficient studios position us as leaders in sustainable broadcasting, reflecting our commitment to environmental stewardship, he added.

Noting that the media landscape was undergoing a metamorphosis with audiences’ taste migrating to OTT platforms and demanding personalized content, Shri Thakur said that we must acknowledge this shift and adapt accordingly. Our content creation strategies, latest technology adoption and regulatory frameworks need to evolve at a rapid pace to remain relevant in this dynamic environment.

On the same note the Minister cautioned that content regulation also requires careful consideration. Striking a balance between freedom of expression and upholding societal values is paramount. We must foster an environment where creative expression thrives within reasonable boundaries, ensuring responsible and ethical content.

Speaking about this edition of the Expo, Shri Thakur said that the BES Expo serves as a perfect platform for this critical collaboration of sharing wisdom & knowledge, exchanging ideas, and forging partnerships that will shape the future of the broadcasting industry.

Shri Sanjay Jaju, Secretary, Ministry of I&B during his statement stressed that the Ministry is aware of the need of protecting interests of consumers and media transparency and has accordingly floated a draft broadcast services (Regulation) Bill 2023 for consultation.

Chairman, TRAI, Shri Anil Kumar Lahoti emphasized that the broadcasting sector holds a vast potential for growth.

Shri Gaurav Dwivedi, CEO, Prasar Bharati also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the fast-changing media landscape especially the ways in which media is being consumed now. He stressed this has increased the need of good content as viewers have now much wider choices. He also stressed on the need of preserving spectrum for public service broadcaster for meeting its needs of D2M and terrestrial transmission. In his welcome address Sri Sunil, President, BES spoke about the challenges faced by Media due to evolving new technologies such as D2M.

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