Srinivasan Ramaswamy talks about the need for us to develop the existing law on International telecommunications and broadcasting.


The law on international telecommunications and
broadcasting derives its substratum from international
space law. However, at the time when the Outer Space
Treaty was drafted, the involvement of private corporations
in activities related to outer space was not envisaged.
Therefore, with the rapid technological as well as
commercial advancement, the doctrines envisaged by the
five major space treaties and the related principles have
become redundant in so far as their application to
telecommunications and direct satellite broadcasting is
concerned. Hence, there is a need to revisit Article VI of the
Outer Space Treaty if the activities of autonomous bodies
like INTELSAT are to be governed. In this regard, the
provisions of the ITU Constitution appear to be an
improvement over the Outer Space Treaty. The World
Trade Organization also has a pivotal role in formulating
and administering laws on telecommunications. However,
the GATS Annex on Telecommunications and the Reference
Paper are not devoid of ambiguities. Furthermore, the role
of the UNCOPOUS and the International
Telecommunication Union in the allocation of frequencies
and orbital positions is questionable at best, since such a
practice would tantamount to national appropriation.
Professor Stephen Gorove’s counter misses the point in the
sense that he fails to take into account the use of nuclear
powered satellites. In this regard, the author states that the
International Telecommunication Union must be conferred
with extensive powers to deregister or cancel a particular
allotment in case a more efficient proposal is made by
another state. This would check continued national
appropriation as well as provide opportunities to developing states thereby justifying the statement that outer
space is a “province of all mankind”.