In a bid to pitch India as an uplinking hub, the government on Tuesday announced relaxation in guidelines for compliance for television channels and also made a 30-minute daily public interest broadcast mandatory, mainly for entertainment channels.
The ‘Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Television Channels in India, 2022’, which have been approved by the Union Cabinet, allow limited liability partnerships and companies to allow uplinking of foreign channels from Indian teleports for beaming content in countries covered by the satellite footprint.
The move is expected to allow television channels of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal to uplink from India, instead of Singapore, the preferred uplinking hub for channels beamed in the subcontinent.
Currently, only 30 channels are uplinked from India out of the total 897 registered with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, officials said.
”Requirement for seeking permission for live telecast of events has been done away with; only prior registration of events to be telecast live would be necessary,” Sanjiv Shankar, Joint Secretary (Broadcasting) said in a presentation to the media here.
He said there would be no requirement of prior permission for change of language or conversion of mode of transmission from Standard Definition (SD) to High Definition (HD) or vice versa.
The channel will only have to inform the ministry about the changes, he said.
The guidelines were first issued in 2005 and revised in 2011. The current revision has taken place after 11 years after taking into account the technological advances in the interim period.
In case of emergency, for a company/ LLP with only two Directors/Partners, changes can be done subject to security clearance post such appointment, to enable business decision making.
The new guidelines state that a company can use news gathering equipment other than Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG), such as optic fibre, back pack, mobile, for which no separate permission would be necessary.
The guidelines state that electronic news gathering devices can be used.
Television channels will have to broadcast 30 minutes of public interest content every day on themes of national interest such as education and spread of literacy, agriculture and rural development, health and family welfare, science and technology, welfare of women, welfare of the weaker sections of the society, protection of environment and of cultural heritage and national integration.
”It is not that the government will give any programmes to the television channels for broadcasting under public interest content. The channels are free to create their own content on the themes mentioned in the guidelines,” I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra said.
The guidelines also grant permission for a news agency for a five year period against one year at present.
The guidelines also make it mandatory for TV Channels uplinking in frequency band other than C-band to encrypt their signals.