[Answered] Public service broadcast is a good idea in a diverse country with myriad issues. Examine the statement.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain why public service broadcast is a good idea. Also write some issues.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Recently the Union Cabinet approved new guidelines called ‘Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Satellite Television Channels in India, 2022’ which point out that as airwaves and frequencies are public property and need to be used in the best interest of society. It mandates the channels to broadcast content on themes of national importance and socially relevant issues for at least 30 minutes every day.

A good idea:

  • Broadcast companies will be allowed to uplink foreign channels from Indian teleports, which would create employment opportunities and make India a teleport hub for other countries.
  • In the time of polarising opinions, heated debates and narrow targeting of ideas on television, this initiative will bring positive change.
  • The themes that have been picked out, are subjects on which a lot more awareness is necessary like education, agriculture and rural development, health and family welfare, science and technology, welfare of women and weaker sections of society, protection of environment etc.

Issues:

  • The broadcasters are concerned as they have paid hefty fees for their use and any binding guidelines thatadversely impact their commercial interests are not fair towards them.
  • No set of modules and rules on the format of fulfilling the obligations and left to the discretion of channels which might create chaotic issues.
  • It could be misused for vested propaganda and political gains.
  • There isno clarity yet on compensation norms and who is going to pay the expenditure for the public service component on TV.
  • As the Central Government may, from time to time, issue a general advisory to the channels for telecast of content. This suggests that the centre will keep an eye on the media.
  • The air-time devoted to this exercise can easily exceed 30 minutes. So, news channels might protest the mandatory move.

The proposed guidelines are the need of the hour to increase the social awareness on the very necessary topics.

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