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Back in the year 2001, when the same government was in power, it tried to pass a bill called the Communication Convergence Bill, 2001. The Bill failed, due to reasons mentioned later in the post, but apparently it isn’t quite ready to die yet. The Bill has now been revived as the Communication Convergence Bill, 2014, with news reports indicating that the Telecom Minister is quite definitely going to push for it.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Government seems to be lagging a bit behind its own claims in this regard. These claims were originally made in September, with the Minister stating that the Bill would be ready in time for the Winter Session of the Parliament. And yet, with the Session already over, there seem to be nearly no indications of its existence. But though time will only tell what the future of this Bill is going to be, right now seems to be a good time to examine the issues involved therein. Continue reading Indian Convergence Law – Forever ‘in the Pipelines’?
The following post is by Shashank Atreya, a student of School of Law, Christ University, Bangalore. He is a founding member of the Committee on Public Policy and Governance, School of Law, Christ University, and has headed research panels drafting suggestions to the Parliament Standing Committee and Law Commission. Shashank is a Media Law enthusiast, and vouches for net neutrality. He brings us a detailed analysis on TRAI’s recent suggestions on Cross Media Ownership, which formed part of it’s recommendations to the Law Commission of India.
The media plays an important and multiple roles in society. The most obvious of these are collection and dissemination of information, communication and entertainment among the people. Further, through its reach to the people the media also transmits social and cultural values and serves as a medium of education. Thus by providing information the media can inspire and generate political social ideas and aid in shaping policy agenda and priorities.
Continue reading Cross Media Ownership in India: Cause for Concern?
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(This post was published earlier on SpicyIP)
The debate around Network Neutrality is a decades old debate, but it is not any less relevant for it. The idea of ‘Network Neutrality’ is, simply put, that ISPs do not price-discriminate between their consumers. Thus, under the Net Neutrality regime, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot charge different consumers different prices for different speeds, shifting those that pay more to the ‘fast lane’ and the others to a ‘slow lane’. This is especially relevant in the case of service providers which rely on the internet to reach their customers, such as Google, Amazon, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, et cetera. The argument made in favour of Network Neutrality is that this model is the only way to ensure the innovation and openness that the internet is known for, and one of the core ideologies that stands in the way of the internet following the path taken by other innovations such as the radio, the television, and the phone, and ending up as an integrated and essentially monopolised and commercialised technology. The argument made by the ISPs, against Network Neutrality, is that without the freedom to charge higher prices for faster services, they have no incentive to upgrade their infrastructure to provide for faster services. And even before that, they argue that the network neutrality system does not allow them to fully capitalise on their existing infrastructure itself, something they have expended immense amounts of capital on. Continue reading On the Need for Network Neutrality