The department of Mass Communication
and journalism at the Madras University had organized a two day seminar
on "Emerging Media Policies" on March 24th and 25th, 2003. . Several
eminent media personalities participated in the programme which was
inaugurated by Mr Tirunavakkarasar, Minister of State for Communication
and Information Technology, GOI.
During his inaugural speech, Mr
Tirunavakkarasar pointed out that the Communication Convergence Bill is
likely to become a law at the earliest. Mr N.Vittal the former CVC and
Chairman Telecom Commission gave the Key Note address.
In the technical session that
followed, the undersigned highlighted some of the areas for policy focus.
A brief summary of the points highlighted by the undersigned is given
1. The New Policies for the emerging
New Media has become imperative since the existing policies are becoming
dysfunctional and could lead to conflicts in the coming era where the
Internet has introduced
•Website as a Professional Publication
•Web Blog as a Collaborative Publication
•E-Mail List/Forum as a participating Publication
•SMS/MMS as Personal News Dispensers
The media convergence triggered by
technology has also gained business acceptance because of cost savings and
deep penetration of convergent devices such as mobile phones. Changing
media habits of the Media Consumer has also made the New Media extremely
relevant for media professionals. Just as the advent of TV s changed the
consumer expectations on Print Media, the advent of SMS/MMS and broadband
Internet will change the Media habits of the consumers.
Media policies have therefore
responded to this changing needs of the market.
2. Some of the recent happenings in
the Media scene have also highlighted why a new look is necessary in the
The ICC Vs Sri Lankan Broadcasting
Corporation row over carrying the radio commentary of the Mini World
Cup event that happened in Sri Lanka last October highlights the need
for the public interest to information to be preserved through legislation
of the type we find in the Communication Convergence Bill.
The accusation of Hacking
by Reuters made recently when its reporter picked up a press
release from the Internet raises an important issue of when an
electronic document becomes public while on the Net? and what is the
consequence of accessing a web page not hyper linked from the home page
but available by typing an URL in the address bar?
Future media policies need to address
The embarrassment faced by the
Computer World which was fooled into carrying an interview of a
terrorist only to be told later that the interviewee was another free
lance journalist maintaining a honey pot raises the issue of
authentication of e-mail interviews and the precautions to be taken by
Editors and Journalists.
The Danish News Paper Association
Vs Newsbooster.com case highlights the controversies that arise out of
news aggregation and deep linking. These also need to be addressed by the
emerging media policies.
The emerging media policies may also
have to address the issue of websites carrying information such as "
Letters to Editors" or "News Stories of Public Interest not fully
substantiated by independent investigation" just like "Publications" in
the conventional media from the point of view of "Public's right to
information Vs an Individual's Right to Privacy or Right to Protection
from Defamation" .
3. While Information Technology Act
2000 has addressed some issues concerning authentication of Electronic
communication, Communication Convergence Bill is set to address several
other issues. However the recent passage of Cable TV Network Amendment Act
2002 when the Communication Convergence Bill proposes to repeal the Cable
TV Networks Act 1995 indicates that some major changes will be required
before the communication Convergence Act becomes a reality.
4. One of the problem areas in the
proposed Communication Convergence Bill is its attempt to make the
Communication Convergence Commission both the regulator and the protector
of Consumers. This dual role has inherent conflict and needs to be
5. Since the Communication Convergence Bill is an
important legislation which can happen any time, professional bodies
including the academia should study the Bill in detail and suggest
modifications as may be required.
Text version of the presentation.