New Delhi: Supporting a key demand of the broadcasting industry, the I&B Ministry has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs suggesting that security clearance given to broadcasters be made valid for the entire duration of their licence.

The I&B ministry made the suggestion after it received a clarification from the MHA that the security clearance given to broadcasters at the time of allotting them licence to run a channel was valid for only three years.

Presently, broadcasting licenses are given to companies for a period of ten years. MHA had said that the security clearance would be reviewed after every three years.

“We have written to the Home Ministry saying the duration of the security clearance given to a company should be made co-terminus with the licence. We are now awaiting their response,” a source in the Ministry said.

Officials said the I&B ministry had, however, accepted the Home Ministry’s view that if companies which have already been given security clearance apply for a new channel, a fresh security clearance would be required.

As broadcasting is considered to be a sensitive area, security clearance from the MHA is mandatory before a company gets a broadcasting licence.

The issue arose after the I&B Ministry wrote to the MHA asking if the security clearance that was given to companies, which applied for the licence to run a TV channel, came with an expiry date.

The MHA had replied that the clearance was valid for three years after which the Board of Directors of the company would be assessed again.

The broadcasting industry had opposed the move to  fix a three-year tag to the clearance.

The I&B Ministry had also received a representation from the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) last month seeking a reconsideration of the decision.

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Free Press Journal