Regulators

Govt. planning a law on downlinking

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NEW DELHI: The Indian government is planning to bring in a legislation that would make it mandatory for all channels, foreign or domestic, being downlinked in the country to get registered in the country.

"There is no downlinking law in India at the moment.This is something that we have to think about," a senior government official today said, pointing out that work in this regard is in progress in the information and broadcasting ministry.Pointing out that most Western countries, where TV broadcasting has evolved over several decades, have downlinking laws too, the official said in India the focus had been on uplinking, which needs to be rectified and balanced out.

Though the government is insisting that work on this piece of legislation has been in progress for quite sometime, it seems that a sense of urgency has been brought about with a telecast row erupting between Ten Sports and Indias pubcaster Doordarshan.

DD has been demanding that Ten share the signals of cricket matches between Pakistan and India, at present being played in Pakistan, be made available to it terrestrially --- a move that has been resisted by Ten, which has also gone to the courts over this.

"Such issues could be addressed more effectively if we have a law pertaining to downlinking in place," the official said.

A law on donwlinking of channels is being proposed as it is felt that in the coming days, cases similar to the present Ten-DD imbroglio may keep erupting leading to time consuming legal process.

The government official pointed out that even DD, which proposes to use various pay and other distribution platforms in places like the UK and the US, has to complete formalities relating to downlinking, which gives a handle to the country in which channels are being downlinked to regulate broadcasting.

However, no time frame has been given by the government to bring in the downlinking law for TV channels. At least for the next three months, it may not come through as it would have to wait till a new government is installed after the general election.

"There is no downlinking law in India at the moment.This is something that we have to think about," a senior government official today said, pointing out that work in this regard is in progress in the information and broadcasting ministry.Pointing out that most Western countries, where TV broadcasting has evolved over several decades, have downlinking laws too, the official said in India the focus had been on uplinking, which needs to be rectified and balanced out.

Though the government is insisting that work on this piece of legislation has been in progress for quite sometime, it seems that a sense of urgency has been brought about with a telecast row erupting between Ten Sports and Indias pubcaster Doordarshan.

DD has been demanding that Ten share the signals of cricket matches between Pakistan and India, at present being played in Pakistan, be made available to it terrestrially --- a move that has been resisted by Ten, which has also gone to the courts over this.

"Such issues could be addressed more effectively if we have a law pertaining to downlinking in place," the official said.

A law on donwlinking of channels is being proposed as it is felt that in the coming days, cases similar to the present Ten-DD imbroglio may keep erupting leading to time consuming legal process.

The government official pointed out that even DD, which proposes to use various pay and other distribution platforms in places like the UK and the US, has to complete formalities relating to downlinking, which gives a handle to the country in which channels are being downlinked to regulate broadcasting.

However, no time frame has been given by the government to bring in the downlinking law for TV channels. At least for the next three months, it may not come through as it would have to wait till a new government is installed after the general election.

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