Cable TV

Government to once again make MHA clearance compulsory for MSOs?

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MUMBAI: Are there more regulatory controls coming on the cable TV industry? If reports emerging in the media (The Asian Age) are to be believed, then they probably are. According to the newspaper, every multisystem operator (MSO) which is licensed with the ministry of information & broadcasting (MIB), will now have to also seek the ministry of home affairs' security (MHA's) clearance. A notification to this effect is being planned and passed by the Narendra Modi government.

 Hitherto, broadcasters and satellite service providers had to go through this procedure. MSOs could just get a licence from the post office to operate in the country, following which they had to get a digital licence from the MIB. The security clearance from the MHA requirement was discontinued a couple of years ago to speed up the  pace of cable TV digitalisation.

 The newspaper says the government was forced to take such a step for MSOs as well because the MIB had received complaints that several cable TV operators are continuing to retransmit channels which showed content that was potentially harmful to the nation’s security and was deemed as objectionable.

 The government is seeking to make it compulsory for MSOs to get annually vetted by the central intelligence and government security agencies to prevent this from occurring.

 No confirmation, from the MIB or government sources, was available at the time of writing this report.

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