Cabinet approves new guidelines for TV channels after 11 years, for ease of doing business

The Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Satellite Television Channels in India, 2022, also makes it mandatory for television channels to telecast content in national and public interest for 30 minutes every day.

ANIUpdated: Wednesday, November 09, 2022, 03:30 PM IST
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New Delhi: The Union Cabinet has approved the revised uplinking and downlinking guidelines for satellite television channels that allows Indian teleports to uplink foreign channels and scraps permission for live telecast of events.

The Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Satellite Television Channels in India, 2022, which have been approved by the Union Cabinet, also makes it mandatory for television channels to telecast content in national and public interest for 30 minutes every day.

The consolidated guidelines are aimed at easing issues regarding permissions to the companies or LLPs registered in India for uplinking and downlinking of TV Channels, setting up of Teleports/ Teleport Hubs, use of Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG)/ Satellite News Gathering (SNG)/ Electronic News Gathering (ENG) systems, uplinking by Indian news agencies and temporary uplinking of a live event.

"The new guidelines have been amended after a gap of 11 years, and a number of steps have been taken to our for ease of doing business of the journals, because there are more than 870 channels which are now operating in the country. Based on our experience, these guidelines have been amended, totally important changes that now for the purpose of the live telecast, now the permission will not be required to any registration will be required for changes in a channel from SD to HD or more changes in language etc," Apurba Chandra, Secretary MIB told news agency ANI.

"Also out now we have introduced a new provision that the channels will be required to broadcast a particular piece of content which will be of public interest. There are seven-eight themes are given in the guidelines for continuous themes of public interest, as the channels will be free to hear the content of their choice, which covers themes of public interest. So given the obligations to broadcast this, this is a new thing we will be consulting the channels will come out with more detailed guidelines," the Secretary added.

Advantages of the revised guidelines

1. Ease of compliance for the permission holder.

a. Requirement for seeking permission for the live telecast of events has been done away with; only prior registration of events to be telecast live would be necessary.

b. No requirement of prior permission for change of language or conversion of the mode of transmission from Standard Definition (SD) to High Definition (HD) or vice versa; only prior intimation would be required.

c. In case of emergency, for a company/ LLP with only two Directors/ Partners, a Director/ Partner can be changed, subject to security clearance post such appointment, to enable business decision making.

d. A company/LLP can use Newsgathering equipment other than DSNG, such as optic fibre, bag back, mobile, etc. for which no separate permission would be necessary.

2. Ease of Doing Business

Specific timelines have been proposed for a grant of permission; - Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) entities can also seek permission; - LLPs companies would be allowed to uplink foreign channels from Indian teleports which would create employment opportunities and make India a Teleport-hub for other countries.

A news agency can get permission for a 5 year period as against one year at present; - A channel can be uplinked by using facilities of more than one teleport/ satellite as against only one teleport/satellite at present: - It has broadened the possibility of allowing the transfer of TV Channel/Teleport to a company / LLP as permissible under the Companies Act/ Limited Liability Act.

3. Simplification and Rationalization

One composite set of Guidelines has replaced two separate Guidelines; - Structure of the Guidelines has been systematized to avoid duplication and common parameters.

The penalty clauses have been rationalized and separate nature of penalties have been proposed for a different type of contraventions as against the uniform penalty at present.

Other highlights

Other highlights include that the companies/LLPs having permission to uplink and downlink a channel may undertake public service broadcasting (except where it may not be feasible) for a minimum period of 30 mins in a day on themes of national importance and of social relevance.

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