The year 1997 was a ‘landmark year’, which saw far reaching measures to free the broadcast media from the shackles of Government control 50 years after independence.
For over three decades beginning with the Chanda Committee report in 1966 and continuing through the reports of the Verghese Committee in 1978 and the Joshi Committee in 1985-expert committees set up by the government made a case for organizational restructuring of broadcasting, so as to give it greater autonomy.
As a result, the Prasar Bharati Act (1990) was formed by the government. In July 1997, it was activated after being notified and came into force on September 22, 1997.
A unique feature of this act was that it enlarged the definition of the term, Broadcasting.
Section 2(c) defines ‘Broadcasting’ as the dissemination of any form of communication, like signs, signals, writing, pictures, images and sounds of all kinds by transmission of electro-magnetic waves through space or through cables intended to be received by the general public either directly or indirectly through the medium of relay stations and all its grammatical variations and cognate expression shall be construed accordingly.
The Union Government in 1997 brought about sweeping changes in the revamped Prasar Bharati Act. The changes were brought to rectify the anomalies and flaws in the act.