Television

News channel uplinking guidelines issued

NEW DELHI: The government today announced a transitory arrangement in the guidelines for news channels desirous of uplinking from India, allowing a maximum period of three months to come within the framework of these directives. 

At the time of uploading this report, there were mixed signals going out from within the ministry as to how this would impact Star India in particular. 

It may well be that the transitory arrangement allowed for in the new guidelines may give some breathing space to the likes of Star India and CNBC India to "set their house in order".

CNBC India has also been impacted as it has been given a maximum three months to come within the framework of these guidelines. Prannoy Roy's NDTV, however, which is currently the content provider for Star, can go ahead with its plans.

Minister of information and broadcasting Ravi Shankar Prasad announced the guidelines for uplinking of news and current affairs TV channels from India at a press conference here today. He said the policy would go a long way to make India an "uplinking hub" in the region.

Following is the text of the detailed guidelines:

PREAMBLE

The Union Government has revised the policy for uplinking of TV channels from India, insofar it relates to the news and current affairs channels. Accordingly, the guidelines for permission/approval for uplinking of news and current affairs TV channels from India, have been framed for immediate compliance.

Channels which do not have any news and current affairs content will, however, continue to be eligible to uplink from India, irrespective of ownership, equity structure or management control.

The use of all equipment/platforms for collection of footage/news by channels uplinked from outside for specific programme(s) / event(s) of temporary duration will be entertained on recommendation from the PIB and permitted on a case to case basis, in consultation with the ministry of home affairs and other ministries / departments concerned. 

I. APPLICABILITY

· These guidelines will apply to existing news and current affairs TV channels uplinked from India as well as to those proposing to uplink from India.

· For the purposes of these guidelines 

(i) news & current affairs channel means a channel which has any element of news and current affairs in its programme content; and 

(ii) an existing channel means any channel which has been permitted by the ministry of information & broadcasting to uplink from India. Existing channels will be required to conform to these guidelines within a period of one year from the date of issue of these guidelines. 

II. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

An applicant company desirous of uplinking news and current affairs TV channel(s) from India will be considered eligible, if it fulfils the following criteria:- 

It is registered/incorporated in India under the Companies Act, 1956, 

· Foreign equity holding in the applicant company does not exceed 26 per cent of the total paid up capital, 

· Majority of its board of directors are resident Indians,

· CEO of the applicant company, known by any designation, and/or head of the channel is a resident Indian, 

· News editor(s) or authority(ies) exercising editorial control over news and current affairs programme (s) of the channel(s) are resident Indians. 

III. PERIOD OF APPROVAL/PERMISSION

Ten years.

IV. BASIC CONDITIONS/OBLIGATIONS

· Permission for usage of facilities/infrastructure for live news/footage collection and transmission, irrespective of the technology used, will be given to only those channels which are uplinked from India. To ensure compliance of this policy in respect of permissions/licences given/to be given for utilization of VSAT/RTTS/Satellite Vide Phone and similar other infrastructure, which lends itself for use in uplinking/point to point transfer of content for broadcast purposes, separate guidelines will be issued by the ministry of communications & information technology.

· The channel/company will ensure that its news and current affairs content provider(s), if any, are accredited with the Press Information Bureau. Such accredited content provider(s) only can use equipment/platform for collection/transmission of news/footage.

· The company/channel should ensure that it uses equipment which is duly authorised and permitted by the competent authority, or its content provider(s), if any, use equipment duly authorised by the competent authority,

· It will be obligatory on the part of the company to take prior permission from the ministry of information & broadcasting, before effecting any alteration in the foreign share holding pattern and/or in the CEO/board of directors.

· The company/channel will be liable to intimate to the ministry of information & broadcasting the details of any foreigners/NRIs employed/engaged by it for a period exceeding 60(sixty) days,

· The company/channel shall undertake to comply with the programme & advertising codes, as laid down in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Rules framed thereunder,

· It shall keep record of the content uplinked for a period of 90 days and produce the same before any agency of the government, as and when required,

· It shall furnish such information, as may be required by the ministry of information & broadcasting, from time to time,

· The company/channel shall provide for the necessary monitoring facility, at its own cost, for monitoring of programmes or content by the representatives of the ministry of information & broadcasting or any other government agency as and when so required,

· The applicant company should use transponder on a satellite in C-Band only and the same should have been co-ordinated with INSAT system.

· The applicant company/channel shall comply with all the terms and conditions of the permission/approval prescribed by the ministry of information & broadcasting and failure to comply with any of the terms and conditions will result in withdrawal of such permission/approval and suspension/cancellation of the wireless operating licence issued by the WPC.

V. PROCEDURE

· The applicant company shall apply to the Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in triplicate in the prescribed proforma (Form 2.1) along with affidavits in Form 2A and 2B and share holding pattern of the company.

· On receipt of the applications and the affidavit as mentioned above, if the applicant company is found eligible, its request will be sent for security clearance to the Ministry of Home Affairs and for clearance of usage of satellite to the Department of Space,

· On receipt of these clearances, the applicant company will be permitted by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting to uplink its channel(s) through an authorised hub/teleport.

VI TRANSITORY ARRANGEMENTS

· Content Providers/Channels who are currently using VSAT/RTTS/Satellite Video Phone and similar other infrastructure, which lends itself for use for uplinking/point-to-point transfer of content for broadcast purposes, will be allowed a maximum period of three months to come within the framework of these guidelines.

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